O’Leary: Argos bring Brissett home with second pick

When they were kids growing up in Mississauga, Ont. they both had the same dream.

Dejon and Oshae Brissett would hit the courts together, playing basketball all day with their friends. Their dad would take them to Raptors games and they’d watch the players run out onto the hardwood for warmups, watch the lights go down for player intros and they’d think that one day, they could be on that court, under those lights playing for Toronto.

They had no way of knowing when they were kids, but they were pretty close to being right. On Thursday, Dejon joined Oshae as a pro athlete in Toronto when the Argos took him second overall in the 2020 CFL Draft. Oshae is in his rookie season with the Raptors, playing on a two-way contract with Raptors 905.

“Throughout college, it’s definitely been inspiring to watch him play at the highest level in the ACC with Syracuse,” Dejon said about his brother on a conference call on Thursday night.

“It’s always been an extra motivation factor for me at a small school like Richmond to work hard and make make a name for myself. And to see him get signed by the Raptors, I was at UVA (Virginia) and it was another motivation for me to get to that level. Now that I’m here I’ve got to keep my nose down and keep working so him and I can sign together in the city.”

Oshae took a moment on Thursday night to celebrate his brother’s good news.


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Basketball came easily to Dejon. At six-foot-one and 195 pounds, he was a smooth and explosive guard, capable of connecting from long range and finishing strong at the rim. It wasn’t a bad problem to have, but football came easier to him. With that came the better scholarship offers. By his junior season in 2017 at Richmond, he led the Spiders with 63 receptions for 896 yards and seven touchdowns.

He was off to a great start to his senior year when he broke a bone in his foot. With a medical red shirt season, he transferred to Virginia. The injury lingered and Brissett wasn’t able to produce the way he wanted to with the Cavaliers, but he’s hungry to get on the bigger CFL field and show what he can do.

It should be an easy fit for Brissett with the Argos. One of the team’s focuses this off-season was on getting GTA players back playing for their hometown. In the receiving corps, Brissett already knows Natey Adjei and Juwan Brescacin.

“Those guys are a little older than me but Natey and I went to the same middle school and I went to the same high school as Juwan…but none of us were there at the same time,” he said.

“I’ve been working out with Natey for a long time. He’s been mentoring me since I was 15 years old. Juwan the same thing. When I was at high school in Illinois, I went to Northern Illinois for a junior day and Juwan was a junior, maybe a senior there. I’ve looked up to those guys for a while. Especially Natey, he’s been a huge part of my football development.”

When you’re waiting to hear your name on draft day, any opportunity is a good one. Drafted by his hometown team, surrounded by family for the first time since he was in high school and with teammates he’s known for years, the Argos gave him the opportunity for the perfect situation.

“It’s perfect when you look at it and I’m really excited to get going,” he said.