The Arizona State Sun Devils have fielded an assortment of colorful personalities over the years, but none are arguably more distinctive than Edmond Boateng.
It’s clear ASU will lose the presence of one of its most outgoing characters following the graduation of the redshirt-senior defensive lineman. His charisma is most closely displayed when the team arrives on its bus before practice, as the 6-foot-3, 254-pound art major (he’s pursuing a master’s degree) can often be heard singing while approaching the field, or quoting lines from iconic movies such as Rocky, livening the mood.
Over the course of a long and grueling year, sometimes that sort of amusement is welcomed, if not needed. For it to come from someone as experienced as he is, it makes it even less unnerving, considering Boateng’s road to Arizona State has seen him overcome adversity before.
Earlier this week, we sat down with Boateng to briefly discuss his growth on and off the field since arriving at ASU, as well as his mindset ahead of his final home game in a Sun Devil uniform.
Kaelen Jones, House of Sparky: Alright, so you’re a fifth-year senior, and you’ve got one more home game left. What does it mean for you to reach this point?
Edmond Boateng: It means a lot. I think it's just a long time coming, you know, from high school to to JUCO to D-I ball. It's a real big step in my life, and kind of like a milestone, so it means a lot.
HoS: Did you think you’d ever be here?
Boateng: At first, when I first came here, I thought I had all of the time in the world. Now you know, it's like, it's here. It's only one more week.
Did I ever think I would be here? Obviously, but you never realize how fast it comes.
HoS: What’s some advice you’re trying to impart on the younger guys on the team?
Boateng: Definitely don't take any day of college for granted.
Seize every opportunity. You're going to grow through a lot of bumps in the road. It's just cliche talk, you know, all those things everyone says. But, one thing to really take away is how much growth you made from your first year to your last year off the field.
It's remarkable when you look back at how you were, your personality, (compared to) how you are now. So that's just one thing: You will grow outside of football.
HoS: You say that, and you seem like one of the more outgoing personalities on the team, or at least laid back. Were you always like that when you first came here? Or did you have to grow a little bit then relax?
Boateng: When I first was here, I would always say I was never timid. I was always head-on with social activities, and just being social in general.
I let a lot of things go way more easily now. I was always uptight with stuff on the field, and letting that get to me. But as the years went on, you kind of see a lot of small things that might get to you, they don't really affect you unless you want them to affect you. That's going back to what I said before—it's just the growth. It's a big thing.
HoS: Were there any moments in particular where the light bulb switched for you?
Boateng: I wouldn't say it was necessarily like a light with a switch. I think it's been more of like a light with—you know those lights that you move up slow, and it gets brighter and brighter? Yeah, I think it was more something like that.
Definitely not something that was instant; it's something that's gradual, that arrives and then when you see it, you're like "oh, okay. I got it." It’s clear as day now.
HoS: You always seem like you’re quoting movies and singing when you walk up.
Boateng: You feel me? (laughs) It's just some small little things. Just have some themes for that practice, or just to set my mind around a certain type of mood, because you realize people get off the bus and they have their head down sometimes.
Sometimes maybe they're just trying to get into the zone for practice, but I just try to let it all go, and sing here and there, and stuff like that. I just joke around, never be too serious.
HoS: This is your final home game. Has that hit you yet?
Boateng: It is. At the end of the day, you gotta look on the field as it being one of the biggest games of your life. You don't wanna lose on senior day. You're gonna do everything in your power (to win), starting from the day after we played Oregon I had my mindset on getting this next win.
It's senior day, we've gotta win for our seniors—not just trying to win for me, but for all of the other seniors who came along with me, and setting the example for players that will be seniors next year and the year after that.
One thing we strive not to do here is lose on senior day. We're just having a full, focused mentality of winning every day, so when we get to that point it won't be any issue.
HoS: So what about the music, man? I know that you have some interest.
Boateng: I definitely am dabbling in music after the season. I love music to death, I can actually see myself venturing into the world of music. I just need time. I'm focused on my master's and school right now, and football. So when it comes, it comes. But, I definitely have a lot of ideas written down in my phone and stuff like that.