Deestroying Comments On Earning A Starting Role With Brahmas

Deestroying Comments On Earning A Starting Role With Brahmas

Some big news came out of the San Antonio Brahmas camp this weekend: Deestroying – formally known as Donald De La Haye Jr. – is currently slated to be the team’s starting kicker for the 2024 UFL season. Matt Ammendola was released Sunday, leaving Deestroying as the lone kicker in San Antonio.

It’s been quite the journey for Donald to make it to this point. He’s been a popular Youtube sensation for years, but has still longed to play the game of football professionally, and now has an opportunity to do so.

Deestroying Speaks On UFL Training Camp

On Tuesday, Deestroying spoke with the media on what it means to have earned this role with San Antonio. He opened up the conference touching on his enthusiasm to play with this Brahmas unit, and the experience in training camp so far:

“It’s been amazing. We’ve got a great group of guys. I’m grateful to be back in this environment. I love my teammates, my coaches, it’s great man. I love being here.”

When it comes to Deestroying having made it through the first round of cuts, clearly there were a lot of emotions in play – but for De La Haye, he’s still focused on what lies ahead: the UFL season.

“Man, I was overjoyed to get the news…I was happy to be here every single day. It’s a grind everyday physically and mentally. I feel that I put very good things on tape, but I’m trying to come down from it because this is not the end of the journey, this is just the beginning. Just gotta be consistent, and keep doing my thing. Keep working hard, keep trusting my team.”

Something that Donald mentioned was that his kickoffs have been a strongpoint for him in camp, and he outperformed Ammendola in that regard. In addition, there was a crucial day testing field goal kickers, where he went 7-7 with a long of 58 yards, which certainly caught the attention of everyone watching.

With San Antonio, De La Haye now has an opportunity to play for Wade Phillips, who is no stranger to success. Phillips has had a legendary career as a coach, and now will look to play a part in kick starting Deestroying’s professional career.

“Coach Wade is a legend. He has an amazing resume, and he’s a great coach. He’s very lighthearted, and he cares about us. Wade knows the game very well, obviously having won super bowls and whatnot…honestly, the whole entire staff is amazing.”

Speaking of coaches, the San Antonio Brahmas feature Payton Pardee, who remains on Wade’s staff coming over from Houston. This year, Pardee is taking the role as Special Teams Coordinator, and Deestroying had some high praise for the job he’s done so far.

For Donald, the job isn’t finished yet. He has to continue to prove to the Brahmas coaching staff that they made the right decision – and all eyes will be on him on March 31st during their opener against the DC Defenders.

“Obviously, I want to prove every single day that I’m the man for this job. There’s a slight relief (with Matt cut), since competition is a different setting, where we’re splitting reps and we have to conform to each other’s schedules and routines – I definitely feel a lot more freedom mentally and physically. I’m really able to lock in with our unit and get our operation down. But it does feel good, man, knowing that I’m the guy.”

Another advantage for Deestroying is the fact that his teammates, punter Brad Wing and long snapper Rex Sunahara, have NFL experience. They both can help show him the ropes of what it means to be a professional. When asked about picking their brain, Donald said:

“The way they’ve helped me get through camp is priceless. They’ve been able to keep me under their wing, hanging out with them not just at practice, but going out to get dinner and stuff. They’re just teaching me the ropes. I’m kind of a rookie in this situation. They’ve taught me how to conduct myself as a pro.”

Comments From Wing & Pardee

Brad Wing shared his thoughts on Donald making the team’s roster, and the impression Deestroying has made on him so far in camp.

“Not a lot of people knew what to expect, but that kid has come in and exceeded expectations. I know he has for me. He’s handled himself really well. Of course everyone knows he’s a talented kicker, but he’s been able to show that in team settings and in pressure situations, and I think he really deserves credit for how he’s come in and handled himself as a professional. He’s been really fun to work with.”

We were also able to get some comments from Payton Pardee, who is serving as the Special Teams Coordinator. Payton spoke highly of the job that has been put forth not just from Donald, but the entire special teams unit as a whole.

“I’m really proud of our guys and the way that they’re responding. I think we’re bringing great energy every single day. The thing that’s really stood out to me is the group of guys we have. They’re bought into special teams, and they’re bought into playing hard. These guys want to compete and play really hard on special teams.”

When it comes to the decision making process for San Antonio in choosing Deestroying over Matt Ammendola, Payton provided some insight on what went into making that choice.

“We had two really talented kickers. That was a tough decision for us. Ultimately, we began to see a separation in the kickoff war. Obviously it’s going to be a new rule in this league for the XFL teams with the USFL kickoff from the 20. I think something where Donald stood apart is when you look at the average position of the kickoff in the USFL, the kickers that were able to push the ball down the field with accuracy helped their teams out as far as field position is concerned. He (Deestroying) has done a phenomenal job. Very pleased with him and his work ethic so far.”

Final Thoughts

For the San Antonio Brahmas, this is an exciting time to be a fan. The team has brought in quite a bit of quality talent for the 2024 season, and feature an outstanding coaching staff led by Wade Phillips.

Now, the focus shifts for Deestroying, as he’ll prepare to kick for San Antonio during their home opener on March 31st. Project NFL is well under way, and it all starts here in the United Football League.

What are your thoughts on Donald De La Haye Jr. earning the starting role with the Brahmas? Will he make it through the full season? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!