Powerful. Compelling. Unique. …These are just a few of the terms that come to mind when speaker, coach, philanthropist and legendary former Jacksonville Jaguars player Donovin Darius takes the stage.
Known as one of the hardest hitters in the NFL during his ten years in professional football, Donovin brings the same passion and intensity that characterized his play on the field to the work of motivating and inspiring others. The former gridiron phenom’s energy, insight and zest for life make him an audience favorite, and his commitment to excellence shines in every word.
Having risen from a childhood of poverty and adversity to the highest levels of athletic and personal achievement, Donovin is uniquely qualified to help others achieve great results in their own lives. He shares the secrets of elite performers, providing lessons and analogies from his football experience on the importance of preparation, tenacity and responding to change. Devoted to family and faith, he’s also a strong voice for values-driven leadership and work-life balance.
Donovin has shown his winning colors on and off the field since the beginning of his career. At Syracuse University, he was a two-time Big East All-Conference player and set the team record for tackles by a defensive back; he was also named 1997 Big East Conference Player of the Year. During his last two years at Syracuse, Donovin also brought his two younger brothers to live with him, providing a safe, stable home for them while completing his degree, maintaining his performance on the field and lettering in both indoor and outdoor hurdles.
After being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars 25th overall in the 1998 NFL draft, Donovin helped lead the team to playoff victories and an AFC Championship game. He was also selected as an alternate to the Pro Bowl. His consistent contributions on the field earned him the designation of franchise player for three consecutive years, the most of any NFL player in history, and his off-season preparation won him the title of “Best Trained Athlete” from Sports Illustrated in 2005. Although later signed briefly by the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins, Donovin retired as a Jaguar, signing a one-day ceremonial contract in 2011.
Donovin’s strong commitment to service is evident in his words and his life. During his football career, his teammates elected him NFL Player Representative; today, he serves as an NFL Ambassador & Transitional Coach, contributing to player engagement and league-wide initiatives. In that role, he speaks to upcoming and current players about academic excellence, leadership development, social responsibility, health, safety and wellness, using his own experiences to give back to the game and its fans.
A dynamic community leader, Donovin also gives back through the Donovin Darius Foundation, which provides programs and services to North Florida youth in the areas of character development, education and athletics. His Next Level training organization focuses on helping athletes achieve the highest level of performance through camps, clinics, teaching and mentoring.
Donovin earned his B.S. in Exercise Science from Syracuse University and is currently working on an MBA at Jacksonville University. He has three beautiful daughters.