Dedmon named Most Outstanding Special Teamer
HAMILTON — One of the CFL’s most dangerous weapons regardless of position, DeVonte Dedmon had REDBLACKS fans on their feet night after night with his electrifying returns in 2021. That led to him being named 2021’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player on Friday night.
When there was a play to be made or a spark to be ignited, Dedmon provided it for the REDBLACKS. With a pair of punt-return touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown, Dedmon became the fastest player in CFL history to reach five career return touchdowns, requiring just 15 games to accomplish the feat – three games fewer than legendary returner Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams.
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“It went back to my first time playing ball,” said Dedmon on his initial feelings when he heard he was nominated for the award. “I remember my parents singing me up for the Hornets and telling me, ‘Hey, this might be your go.’ So I just thought about all the people that helped me get here and the REDBLACKS organization.”
“They took a chance on a guy from William & Mary. Not a lot of calls came after graduating college so I’m just excited to be here, enjoying the moment and I’m just very grateful for the opportunity.”
Dedmon was a triple threat in 2021, leading the CFL in punt return yardage (737), punt return average (15.4), kickoff return yardage (1,223) and kickoff return average (25.0). He also had four missed field goal returns for 103 yards, good for fifth in the league.
He led the league with 2,234 combined yards, averaging 203.1 yards per game – an Ottawa franchise record and the ninth-highest average in CFL history. Dedmon’s career punt return average of 15.4 yards ranks third all-time among returners with at least 15 attempts (Donta Greene 17.1, Mario Alford 15.9).
Though Dedmon’s name is on the award, he notes that it wouldn’t be without his teammate’s help.
“We have a thing that we trust each other,” Dedmon said. And it’s like, sometimes, I make a mistake and I read the block wrong and I get tackled and I’m immediately like, ‘Yo, I got you, I’m going to set it up better next time.'”
“It just means a lot in general just to have guys you can connect with on that level where it’s like, you’re not teammates, you’re brothers on that field and I’m forever grateful for every snap that we’re out on the field together and I’m going to cherish every time.”
Dedmon received 46 first-place votes.
Calgary Stampeder Rene Paredes was the runner-up as he too had an impressive campaign, recording a league-best 91.7 per cent converted field goals, with a season-long of 52 yards.