In 2021 DeVonte Dedmon won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player of the Year award. After gaining a total 2,063 return yards over 11 games with the Redblacks and scoring 3 return touchdowns, he was recognized as one of the best players across the entire Canadian Football League. On January 26th, 2022 that recognition paid off in big ways and really was made concrete as Dedmon signed a futures contract with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. The contract came after a total 6 workouts across the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers and of course the Dolphins, and it was clear that the name DeVonte Dedmon was being talked about all over the NFL. For the Miami Dolphins, they mainly used both Jaylen Waddle and Jevon Holland in the return game over the 2021 NFL season. With Dedmon now in the mix, it looks as if he will take on the role as the Dolphins return specialist while both Waddle and Holland focus on their offensive and defensive duties which happen to be very important for the Miami Dolphins. Right now, after signing the contract with the Dolphins that is what looks like the plan in Miami, however it is important to note that nothing is guaranteed for Dedmon and that it will not be easy for him to make the final roster with the Dolphins. For Dedmon though, he is used to the challenge.
Since he stepped foot on the football field at a young age, he has been challenged and faced with adversity. DeVonte Dedmon, the super star kick returner and wide receiver you know now actually kicked his football career off on the offensive line playing youth league football in Williamsburg, Virginia where he grew up. He eventually made the move to be a skill position player. When it came time for high school football, while also playing at a high level on the basketball court as a point guard and shooting guard, Dedmon found himself balling out at quarterback, running back and receiver for Warhill High School. He put up numbers in the run, pass and receiving game, but it seemed like no matter how much he does, how much he put forward, he would never be the most talked about player, and really that is something that continued over the span of his football career until recently. Dedmon went on to stay close to home for University, taking the only serious offer he had to play at the next level with the William & Mary University Tribe, just a couple minutes from his childhood home.
Playing with the Tribe, he wasn’t necessarily on the biggest stage, William & Mary not being a power five school and all, but Dedmon was playing his best football at that stage. He was featured in the passing game as a dynamic receiver and also the return game as a deadly returner with crazy speed while also getting the odd carry in the backfield. Over the span of his 44 games played at William & Mary, DeVonte Dedmon, the hometown hero gained an all-purpose 3,825 yards, 2,037 of which coming from receiving yards, 1,548 from returns and 240 from the ground and scored 21 offensive touchdowns as well as two return touchdowns. He was a star for William & Mary. He’s in the books as a top 10, and even a top 5 player in some categories at the school, being mentioned among some of the greats like Michael “Pinball” Clemons, Sean McDermott and Mike Tomlin who played at the school before him, but like his high school career, his name wasn’t big enough to get the attention across the country and into the NFL. Sure, there were some teams interested to see him, and teams knew who he was, but there was never an opportunity given to Dedmon to play professional football until the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks called.
Being scouted and discovered by Jean-Marc Edmé, who at the time was the Ottawa Redblacks director of player personnel, now with the Montreal Alouettes, Dedmon was given the opportunity that only few receive, and an opportunity he dreamed of to play football at the professional level. “They gave a kid from Williamsburg, Virginia an opportunity. I ran with it and I am extremely grateful for what they did for me.” Dedmon said to Jordan Zlomislic of JZ Media in a previous interview. Things didn’t come easy for Dedmon in Ottawa though. He told part of his training camp story to JZ Media on the podcast episode “Talking Phresh”, “I was told to pack for two weeks and I was like ‘what?’ because the season is 18 games, and that made me like a body for training camp and then I told my dad I was number 79 too and you could hear it in his voice, like thats not a good look but he pretty much told me to do what I do like I’ve done all my life and it will all work out.”
Obviously, it all ended up working out for Dedmon, and after gaining the Redblacks trust with his first touch as a professional athlete being a kickoff return touchdown in the 2019 CFL pre-season it was non stop success for him when he was healthy. His time on the field in 2019 was limited due to injuries, and due to a cancelled season in 2020 he only played a total 16 games with the Redblacks, but as alluded to earlier, it was non stop success when he was on the field. He had an all-purpose 3,179 yards and 6 scores on a total 165 touches and it seemed like every single time he had the ball in his hands, number 17 for the Ottawa Redblacks was ready to make a trip to the end zone.
With the opportunity in front of him now, to play with the Miami Dolphins and have the platform he can have in the NFL, DeVonte Dedmon could very well be a house hold name by the end of the 2022 NFL season. Sure, Dedmon is a gifted athlete. He is one of the best kickoff returners to ever play in the CFL and he has proven his abilities time after time, but what really makes him special compared to anyone else that the Dolphins may have already or will bring in to compete with him is the kind of person he is. Dedmon may be in Miami now, and he has signed a contract to be an NFL football player, but he is still that same kid that played offensive line in Williamsburg, Virginia. He remembers his roots, he remembers where he came from and he is extremely humble about all of the accolades he receives because like the COVID-19 pandemic showed him and a lot of people, all of those accolades can easily be taken away from him. DeVonte Dedmon, the football player, the person, the brand and the personality have worked extremely hard to get to this point in their respective lives and careers. He certainly has not just come this far to come this far. He has a lot in the tank, and has some statements ready to be made in Miami on and off of the football field, and Dolphins fans, and really all football fans across the world should have all eyes set on what’s to come from DeVonte Dedmon, a newly signed kickoff return specialist and offensive weapon for the Miami Dolphins.