by STEVEN FOWLER
Nineteen-year-old Deontay Townsend is one of the most determined athletes. Day-in and day-out, the Pima Community College sophomore running back has a simple mindset – to put everything in God’s hands, to be an everyday leader, to play smart.
Originally from Little Rock, Ark., Townsend moved to the greater Phoenix area when he was in sixth grade. At 10-years-old, his interest in football took off. He’d watch football and post-game highlights over and over on every available sports channel, including ESPN, when he had the opportunity. Townsend said that watching football was not enough for him and that he wanted to play it.
“My biggest influence is my mother. I just see how hard she works and takes care of her three children that she raised. That made me want to take care of her and I saw football was a way to do that because it’s something that I love and it’s something you can make a career out of,” Townsend said. “I want to work my hardest to keep my goals and meet them so I can make my family happy.
At 13, Townsend began his football career at Peoria High School. He later transferred to Mountain Pointe High School following the first semester of his freshman year.
“I always loved working out. I had descent speed and I decided to play,” Townsend said. “If I’m going to do this then I’m going to put my heart into it. And in the offseason, work out hard and be ready for the upcoming season.”
In his senior football season at Mountain Pointe, Townsend anchored his team’s offense by scoring five touchdowns on 36 carries for 279 yards. Mountain Pointe finished the 2013 season with an undefeated (14-0) record, including a state-title win over Hamilton High School. Townsend recalled that it was one of his most memorable highlights of his career thus far.
“That team there was such a great team. It was a great set of guys to be around. They were all about the football family. We all had team dinners and stuff like that,” Townsend said. “We took care of each other, helped each other with homework and made sure everyone had a ride home. You just got to love those guys.”
Quite a few teammates of Townsend’s have played for Mountain Pointe and Pima which include Antonio Hinojosa, Wesley Payne, Timmy Hernandez, Isaiah Jones, Keondre Churchwell, Natrelle Curtis, Markell Simmons and Zach Blohm.
Following graduation, Townsend was ready to start the next phase of his football career, playing running back for a junior college, Pima Community College under head coach Jim Monaco.
“Great work ethic. Deontay has made himself as good as he is. When he came out of high school, he was a very good running back,” Monaco said. “And he’s worked incredibly hard to make himself better, make himself faster, get himself stronger, learn more about the system and its paid off for him.”
In his first season as Pima’s running back, Townsend rushed 99 times for 436 yards while scoring five touchdowns in 10 games played. He was satisfied but was driven to improve even more. Following the conclusion of the season, Townsend went back to the training room to improve.
In 2015, Townsend was named WSFL Player of the Week twice. The first coming after Pima’s Sept. 5 game against Eastern Arizona College when rushed 36 times for 209 yards while scoring two touchdowns in a nail-biting 36-33 win. Townsend was named WSFL Player of the Week again for his performance in a 34-19 win over Glendale Community College when he rushed 25 times for 162 yards while scoring two touchdowns.
In response to his recent recognition, Townsend said, “My family was so proud. I have great fans and family. My teammates, they goof around and say, “Oh, hey, player of the week, you got any interviews that you got to do and stuff like that?” It’s good to see it but I don’t like to talk about it. I always want to be humble about situations, just going on to the next and try to be Player of the Week.”
In 11 games this season, Townsend has set career highs in every offensive category, nearly doubling it, in rushes (213), yards (1160), yardage per game (105.5), average yards per carry (5.4) and touchdowns (14).
“He’s in the top-5 in rushing and touchdowns in the country. He’s done a tremendous job,” Monaco said.
And Townsend has done a tremendous job on the field.
“Honestly Townsend is probably one of the best backs I’ve played with,” red-shirt sophomore offensive lineman Alex Rios said. “When we get heated as a whole line, he keeps us cool and focused on the goal or winning the game. He’s just very focused in every game.”
At Pima, Townsend is working on a Liberal Arts Degree in Business where he has a particular interest in sports management. After he transfers, Townsend would like to play in the Big 12 or the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Townsend is determined to stick with sports and make a career out of it.
“I want to be a sports agent or I want to do something involved with sports because that’s what I love so much,” Townsend said. “And I just want to help anybody else out. I like to see other people become successful.”
Townsend’s ultimate goal in life is to be remembered as a great football player and an overall better person.