Ottawa Redblacks lose CFL’s top returner DeVonte Dedmon to injury, who will fill in for him on Saturday in Hamilton?

The Ottawa Redblacks lost to the Montreal Alouettes last week in a 27-16 battle at TD Place. Ottawa’s loss doesn’t mathematically eliminate them from the playoffs, however with Hamilton sitting at 4-5, Montreal at 5-4 and Toronto at 6-3 ahead of them in the east division hunt, it is very unlikely that they make their ways to the Grey Cup come December 12th, but what happened during the game, the injury of electric kickoff return specialist DeVonte Dedmon is what impacted the fans the most at TD Place last weekend. Going into the game, Redblacks fans didn’t expect anything too crazy to happen. They weren’t expecting a big Redblacks win, and most weren’t even thinking about playoffs, so the loss felt normal to them however losing Dedmon was hard for the entire stadium. After two long returns in the first quarter which both were close to large touchdowns, TD Place went quiet when DeVonte Dedmon hit the turf with a lower leg injury. He didn’t return to the field for the remainder of the game and stayed on the sidelines with crutches and a boot on top of his ankle. Without Dedmon, in the other three quarters of the game, wide receiver Ryan Davis returned kicks and punts, combining for 93 yards on 10 special teams touches but with Davis playing a large role as the Redblacks’ leading receiver, R-Nation may see someone else, someone they haven’t heard of returning kicks on Saturday in Hamilton for their next game.

That someone would be Greenwood, Mississippi native Terry Williams. Williams, a 5-foot-9, 170 pound slot receiver and kickoff return specialist has been with the Ottawa Redblacks for a majority of the season this year. He was in the capital for the 2021 CFL training camp, and returned in September after being cut and sent back home for the month of August. During the past month or so Williams has found himself on the Ottawa Redblacks’ practice roster and has been taking reps at DeVonte Dedmon’s positions with the scout team. At just 5-foot-9, like Dedmon Terry Williams has breakaway speed but is also very agile. From 2014 through the 2016 CFL season the Redblacks had 5-foot-6 receiver, returner Jamill Smith who, may be a few inches shorter than Williams but has similar traits in the return game. Both have explosive speed which is shown right off of the bat. As soon as the ball is in their hands, they are able to make a move and beat the opposing team in a track race to the end zone. As for DeVonte Dedmon, and something Redblacks fans saw with Diontae Spencer as well was the speed build up on kickoff returns. The speed is there right off of the bat like Williams and Smith, however the speed increases during runs, making the two lethal on special teams for Bob Dyce.

Doing a little bit of a background check, Terry Williams, who went to Southaven High School in Southaven, Mississippi made a name for himself at the University of Tennessee Martin in both 2018 and 2019, and that is where he was discovered by the Ottawa Redblacks front office, however he was only able to play with Skyhawks after he attended a Junior College. Going the JUCO route, Williams attended Itawamba Community College in Mississippi where he caught 79 passes for 1,095 yards and 9 scores in just 9 games played. He also returned 6 kickoffs for 191 yards and a touchdown. He then went to the division one level and in 23 games at UTM had 2,519 all-purpose yards and 9 touchdowns on 205 touches. Williams got to those totals with 1,317 receiving yards, 80 yards on the ground and 1,122 return yards. He was named All-OVC first team after the 2019 season and was recognized as one of the conferences premier athletes who was able to not only make plays on offence, scoring 7 touchdowns on that side of the ball but also on special teams where he scored twice.

On Saturday, the Ottawa Redblacks will be playing the Hamilton Tiger Cats at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton and despite DeVonte Dedmon slowly getting back on the field, now off of crutches it looks as if we may see Terry Williams in red and black this week. Williams was previously wearing number 29 for the Redblacks during practices but is now in number 88 and looks scary in it. Maybe, just in time for halloween next week we will see “Scary Terry” in the endzone for the Redblacks.

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