COLUMBUS, Ohio - The transition between sports and the real world can be a difficult one for collegiate athletes. Former Ohio State cornerback and special teams player Donnie Evege has made it his life mission to help athletes through that time with his new book Athletic Alchemy: Transformation of The Complete Athlete.
Evege knew that he wanted to write about his experiences even before he started college.
“I had the feeling to do so ever since I was in high school,” Evege said. “I knew that I wanted to take my story and all my experiences and put it into book form so I can help impact lives after I was done playing college football.”
Evege had a lot of success at a young age. He was the first person at Wayne High School in Huber Heights (Ohio) to receive a full-ride scholarship offer to Ohio State.
“I got recruited by a lot of schools,” Evege said. “I received offers pretty early. I always knew that I wanted to be an Ohio State football player.”
Primarily playing on special teams once he became a Buckeye, Evege broke out in 2009, recording 14 tackles on kickoff coverage including a school record five tackles on kickoffs in a single game.
However, the football journey was not so easy for Evege. In his time at Ohio State, suffering three season-ending injuries and struggled with what he coined as an 'athletic depression'.
“Your mind starts to play tricks on you and you start to second guess and wonder if you will ever come back as strong and as fast of an athlete that you once were,” Evege said. “That is a lot to deal with mentally and internally when, all your life, you wanted to, obviously play college football, but you want to make millions of dollars and make it to the next level.”
There were many things that helped Evege get through the injuries. He became very active away from the game of football by becoming president of two student organizations and going to various leadership conferences around the nation. This was a huge step in helping him move on from football.
“I got involved and reassured myself that there is more to me, more to Donnie Ray Evege Jr., than just football,” Evege said. “It is a big part of my life, but my soul, my whole identity, is not just sports.”
After publishing his first work, The DEEP Journal in July 2016, Evege used his personal experiences as inspiration for his newest book.
“Although this book is not a full-fledged memoir, I talk about my early years and how I got to Ohio State,” Evege said. “Then I talk about what it was like being a Buckeye and the lessons learned being a NCAA college football player, and then, last but not least, I talk about life after sports and that transition into the real world.”
Evege added that his newest book talks about topics such as self worth and avoiding temptation as an athlete. He also created the S.T.O.P. method, an acronym that stands for See The Opportunities Present as well as See The Options Present, for people to use as a mental technique in their daily lives.
Evege reached out to Jim Tressel, his former head coach at Ohio State, to write the forward to Athletic Alchemy. Evege considers Tressel, who is currently the president of Youngstown State University, as a huge influence not only during his career, but also to many former players and students.
“He’s one of a kind and I think if you ask anybody who has played for him, they will tell you something very similar,” Evege said. “He is just an amazing philanthropist who really cares about not only his players, his former players and his current students, but people in general.”
Evege hopes that this book will inspire not only the student athletes, but to people in general.
“My tag phrase all throughout the book is “Go deep within to bring outer excellence,” Evege said. “You are equipped, you are destined for greatness and this book is hopefully a reminder and a resource for you to live out your fullest potential.”