College Football: Donovan moves on to the next level

Former Balers standout Troy Donovan was all smiles on Thursday after signing his letter of intent to play football at Trinity International University in Illinois. Donovan also played two years at Gavilan College. 

GILROY—Gavilan College defensive lineman Troy Donovan was beaming as he signed his letter of intent with Trinity International University Thursday. As he peered out at the crowd of friends, family, teammates and coaches who came to share in the moment with him, he couldn’t help but remember who was missing.
When he was 15, Donovan’s mother Tammi died of cancer. She never got to see him play football or graduate high school. And though she won’t be there as he heads off to his new school in Deerfield, Ill., Troy said none of it would’ve been possible without what she taught him.
“Every time I play a game, I dedicate it to her,” said Donovan, who wears No. 64 in honor of his mother, who was born in 1964. “Without my mom, I don’t think I would’ve been able to balance school and football. She was a big part of that and I honor her every game.”
Tammi also instilled a deep commitment to faith in Troy and his siblings, and his belief played a big role in deciding where to continue his education. Trinity International, which is a evangelical Christian liberal arts university, shares a lot of his same beliefs. Though he has yet to step foot on campus, Donovan feels it will be the perfect fit.
“I feel like God led me there,” Troy said. “It’s a big jump of faith.”
Troy has only played football for five years, but has gained a wealth of experience in that time. He was a part of the 2011 Central Coast Section Division I champion San Benito High School squad and spent two years honing his skills with Gavilan.
Troy said he didn’t think making the transition from high school to the junior college level would be a “big deal,” but quickly learned he was wrong. The game became much faster and tougher at the next level and he credits Gavilan’s coaches and his father Ron for helping him make the transition.
“He played almost every snap, so he definitely sacrificed a lot,” Rams head coach Mike Dovenberg said. “I’m really excited to see him do it at the next level.”
Troy is joining a Trojans squad that went 3-7 overall and a defense that allowed an average 33.1 points per game. He’s grown significantly in both size and character, he said, and he’s hoping to use that growth to help his new team right the ship next season.
“Football is not for everybody,” he said. “You’ve got to be focused and disciplined enough to know what to do. I think that’s what makes a person greater is being disciplined and committed to what you do everyday.”
Troy will pursue a bachelor’s degree in business at TIU. He said he’s thankful he can use football as a way to continue his education, which is something his mother always stressed the importance of.
“While (my mom’s death) was a bad experience in my life, it’s turned into something good,” Troy said. “I’m able to play football and able to pursue this dream.”

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