Hard Work Pays Off; The Brandin Dandridge Story

Over the last few seasons, Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Brandin Dandridge has been taking the CFL by storm. In just a limited 18 games played since the 2019 season where he got his first opportunity with the Redblacks, Dandridge has made a total 38 tackles, 4 interceptions and has forced two fumbles. In the 2021 season he really made a name for himself when at one point he had four straight games with a takeaway. 

Making play after play for the Redblacks defense, the name he has made for himself has been becoming a big name in the CFL. The name Brandin Dandridge is now known across the league, and as he continues to play into his prime years of his career, the name is only getting more popular. When fans across the CFL hear his name though, not many know what it took Dandridge to get to where he is with his football career, as well as his life.

Regarding his story, in an interview with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic last off-season he explained, “A lot of young athletes need to hear about my story, and I want to tell more kids about the path I took, and to help them with their own paths.” 

Dandridge’s story, and path began in Des Moines, Iowa where many would have thought the name Brandin Dandridge would have found its way into the MLB into the future. Dandridge spoke on his early baseball days, “there were people around the fences watching my tee ball games because I was the only kid there that could hit over the fence home runs.”With the ability to hit over the fence in tee ball, Brandin continued to play baseball right up to high school when he ended up moving close to Kansas City. He attended Blue Springs South High School where, despite playing football earlier in his childhood, his football career really took off in Blue Springs. 

He began to have a lot of success on the football field, and ended up focusing on a future in football, quitting baseball in high school with plans to play football at the collegiate level. Getting that opportunity to play college football, Dandridge attended the University at Missouri Western, and you would think that playing at that level his eyes were on the NFL the entire time but it wasn’t really until his senior year at Missouri Western that he had realized the possibility of that NFL dream coming true. He finished his college career strong making 74 tackles, 35 pass deflections, and 8 interceptions in his final two seasons. NFL scouts were coming to the University to see him at practices and games, and things became very real for Dandridge’s chances at the league, but unfortunately dealing with an injury to close out his senior season those NFL possibilities were really up in the air. “I had a lot of interest going into the season from NFL teams” He said, “If I had another good year, I knew I would have high chances of making an NFL roster. I was coming off of an injury on my right knee in the spring, so the preparation for my senior season was going to be crucial to give me the best opportunity possible heading into the draft process. Unfortunately I suffered an injury to my left knee during the season which set back the draft process and it pretty much eliminated my chances to go to the NFL that off-season.”

The injuries that Dandridge suffered during his senior season did not stop him from working towards his dream of playing in the NFL. After 6 months of recovery, when he was healthy enough to get back on the football field, Dandridge took part in the XFL’s first showcase in 2019. “I was nervous, I hadn’t really done any football activities since the surgery. I ran a 4.5 40 yard dash. After that I was looking for a job, and was actually in an orientation at UPS when my agent called me about Ottawa.”

When Brandin Dandridge had the opportunity to come to Canada and play with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks, he didn’t know where Ottawa was. In fact, he didn’t even know Ottawa was a city. “I said, ‘what is Ottawa?’ as soon as I got the news. I heard of the CFL, and knew some teams in it and stuff but I didn’t know the Redblacks so it was all so new to me and I was actually off to Ottawa the next day.”

Since he arrived to Ottawa, as mentioned earlier, he has had quite the success on the field with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. He’s had a great stat line over the last three seasons, and the plays he has made got his foot in the door in the NFL, gaining the experience of an NFL training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022, but Dandridge has also reached some milestones and goals off of the field as well. Brandin and his girlfriend Jaelyn had a son together during the off-season leading up to the 2021 CFL season.”becoming a father was amazing.” he said, “growing up I looked up to my dad in many ways. Having a son, I want him to be able to look up to me the same way I looked up to my dad. I hope he can look at me and be like ‘wow, that’s my dad.’ At the end of the day I want to leave a legacy for him, and give him something that he can build on to. I love being a dad, and really I cannot describe the feeling I have being around him.”

Recently, having an opportunity with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs as well as becoming a father, Dandridge has grown a focus on his personal brand, and telling his story. 

He has a platform as a professional athlete with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks which he’d like to grow and use to his advantage during his football career and beyond it. As he looks to grow his brand and create opportunities for himself off of the football field, stay tuned for some content regarding Brandin Dandridge, his story and his future on and off of the football field.

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