Detriot Lions cornerback, Darius Slay who is nicknamed the Big Play Slay is arguably one of the best in the league. He led the league with eight interceptions in 2017 and in passes defended with 34 thus he was selected to his first career Pro Bowl in December.
Big Play Slay was drafted by the Lions in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft after an impressive college career with the Mississippi State.
Darius Slay’s Bio
The 6 feet tall athlete was born on January I, 1991, in Brunswick Georgia. He attended Brunswick High School where he was a three-star athlete in football, tracks, and basketball. During his high school career, he became an all-state running back and defensive back. Slay totaled 1,127 yards on 142 rushes with 13 touchdowns as a sophomore, 336 rushing yards, and six TDs in five games played in an injury beset junior season and rushed for more than 1300 yards with 15 TDs in his senior season.
Following an explosive high school phase, he had a spell at Itawamba Community College before transferring to Mississippi State University where he graduated from in 2013. He played for Itawamba’s Indians and as a freshman, earned First Team Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region 23 honors after 41 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack and forced two fumbles recorded in five games played. As a senior, he played in all nine games recording 32 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while hauling in three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. With the record, he earned the MACJC First Team All-State honors on defense and special teams.
He joined the Mississippi State on a scholarship in 2011 and in the two seasons he played for the Bulldogs football team, Slay recorded 64 tackles, six interceptions, and two touchdowns in 26 games (13 starts) played.
Following his college career, he was ranked in the first ten best cornerback prospects by scouts and analysts and was projected to be a second or third round draft pick by the majority of NFL draft experts and scouts. True to the projections, Darius Slay was selected by the Detriot Lions in the second round, the 36th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. After his draft, he signed a four-year contract worth $5.28 million with the Lions.
At the beginning of his rookie season, he was named the starting cornerback eventually starting 4 of 13 games with a record of 34 combined tackles (27 solo) and six passes defended. In the 2014 season, he took over the reins and started all 16 games. He ended the season with a career-high 61 combined tackles (48 solo), 17 pass deflections, and two interceptions.
Having established his form as an asset in the defensive position, he was retained as the starting cornerback for the 2015 regular season. During the season, he collected a season-high seven combined tackles and two pass deflections in a 35-27 victory against the New Orlean Saints. Slay had 59 combined tackles (48 solo), 13 pass deflections, and two interceptions by the end of the season.
The Detriot Lions extended Slay’s contract by four years signing him to a $50.2 million deal on July 29, 2016. Though a hamstring injury would keep him out of three of the 16 games played for the regular season that year, he started all the 13 games he appeared in and also recorded his first career sack therein. He sacked quarterback Brian Hoyer for a seven-yard loss in the first quarter during the Lions’ 17–14 loss at the Chicago Bears in October. He finished the season with 44 combined tackles (43 solo), 13 passes defended, two interceptions, a sack, and a forced fumble.
Darius Slay had his breakout season in 2017 wherein he was also named a Pro Bowler. After being retained as a starter, he went ahead to record many season highs as well as to lead the league in several categories. In a game against the New York Giants in September, he had a season-high eight combined tackles and two pass deflections and recorded multiple interceptions (2) in a single game for the first time in his career. He intercepted two passes by quarterback Matt Ryan during a 36-26 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. On December 26, he also recorded his second multiple interceptions as he intercepted two passes by QB Mitchell Trubisky as the Lions win over Chicago Bears (20-10).
He led the league with eight interceptions in 2017, which are two more than he had in his first four NFL seasons combined and in passes defended with 34. Slay started in all 16 games and finished with 60 combined tackles (54 solo), a career-high 26 deflections and eight interceptions. Thus, it came as no surprise when he received a Pro Bowl nod, the first of his career on December 20, 2017. He was also named First-Team All-Pro for the season and NFL Interception co-leader.
Darius Slay had become, undoubtedly, one of the finest cornerbacks in the league, a type who can play in any defense. With his speed, instincts, skills, and ability, he will surely rise to be on top as he continues to step up his game, hopefully, be a Hall of Famer one day.
Family – Parents, Girlfriend, Wife, Son
Darius Slay was born to his teenaged parents, Stephanie Lowe (née Walthour) and Darius Slay Sr. His mother was just 13 at the time of his birth while his father was 14 years old. Though the situation looks more like kids giving birth to a kid, Slay remains grateful to his parents for giving him an opportunity to live and appreciated the fact that there is not much age difference between him. He described his folks as straight-up adults and refers to the experience of being raised by teens as a great one stating that his parents showed and taught him a lot.
Years later, the Lions cornerback towed the path of his parents. He was only 15 and a freshman in high school when he became a parent to his son, Darion. Despite the fact that at that time, his impending fatherhood was shocking and made him nervous, he credits being a father with playing a big role in maturing him and his son for keeping him grounded and focused.
He has another son, Demetrius Trenton Slay, in 2015 by a different woman. That same year, he started dating Jennifer William. The duo tied the knots on June 17, 2017, in Brunswick, Georgia after having their first child together, Slay’s first daughter earlier in February.
Jennifer was born in Clinton Oklahoma to Kelly Gaunt and graduated from Clinton High School in 2012. She is a Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) alumni where she played basketball at Division II as a guard.