Argos’ Brissett Excited To Make Splash In Homecoming
There are some sturdy defenders in the Canadian Football League, but it’s safe to say none are as big, or as immovable, as the inanimate opponents that incoming Toronto Argonauts rookie Dejon Brissett faced this off-season.
A first-round pick in the 2020 CFL draft, second overall, the receiver had to put his dream of playing professional football on hold after the season was cancelled just months after his selection.
And while these days a fairly common storyline involves athletes having to get creative because of the limited training facilities during the pandemic, Brissett’s creativity should be particularly praised.
“I remember especially at the beginning, I was getting kicked off of open fields, and it was just really hard to get stuff done,” said the Mississauga, Ont., native. “I was using trees as obstacles, using them as defenders.”
Using nature to his advantage was probably exciting for a time, but it’s nothing compared to actually strapping on the pads. Therefore, the former Virginia Cavalier understandably admits to being disappointed his rookie season had to wait, especially as he made his return to the Great White North.
“It was frustrating, especially because of the built-up excitement of me coming home for the first time in a long time,” said the 25-year-old. “I just wanted to play. Then when we found out [the season] was postponed, I didn’t really know what to do so I just kept working out hoping that we would play a later season. Then finally the season got officially cancelled and I was kind of just lost for a second.”
But it didn’t take him long to find his way forward, and he is determined to make the most of his opportunity. In fact, a large part of his motivation derives from the excitement of playing in front of his entire family for the first time in years.
“It’s crazy, because for my family it’s a really big deal that I’m back,” he said. “I mean obviously for me it’s a big deal as well, but for my family, throughout my college career they never really got to see me play. My extended family that is- my immediate family did, but my aunts and uncles, they never had a chance to see me play, so it’s definitely exciting being back home for them.”
The older brother of current NBA G League member and former Toronto Raptor Oshae Brissett, Dejon spent the entirety of his college career in the NCAA. He played four seasons for the Richmond Spiders, where he amassed 86 receptions for 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns, before receiving a medical redshirt in his senior season, then transferring to Virginia.
Coming from the NCAA, Canadian rules will obviously be an adjustment, especially for a receiver, but Brissett has been using the extended off-season to his advantage in that regard.
“I have been focusing a lot on the top of the route, because I know with the running head start, it will be, not harder, but definitely more technical when it comes to getting in and out of breaks,” he explained.
In terms of the difference in the ball, he’s not too concerned.
“At the end of the day it’s the same technique with the American ball, you just have to catch it,” he said bluntly.
Brissett will not be the only pass catcher making his debut in Toronto, as the Argos were extremely busy overhauling their roster, especially at the receiver position.
Eric Rodgers, Kendall Wright, and former NFL star Martavis Bryant are just a few of the names that will be joining Brissett in camp, and the young Canadian could not be more excited.
“It’s been really cool to see what they have been doing with free agency,” said the 6’1” receiver. “I am definitely excited to be in the same room with these guys, because we are only going to make each other better.”
But don’t expect Brissett to be intimidated.
“I’m definitely going to compete,” he said confidently. “But they have a lot of experience so I’m going to learn a lot too, I can’t wait.”
Kellen Forrest is a former University Calgary Dino defensive back and a recent graduate of the Centennial College Sports Journalism grad program. Athletically peaked in high school, but journalistically just getting started.