Dejon Brissett, brother of Toronto Raptors’ Oshae, wants to make slam dunk impact on the football field

The main sport growing up in the Brissett household was basketball.

Older brother Dejon was sought by Lake Forest Academy in Chicago for his skills on the court, but it was under the condition he played for the prep school’s football team as well.

“Football was secondary in my head at the time,” Brissett said on the 3DownNation podcast. “After football practice at Lake Forest I would go into the gym and work on my basketball skills. That’s how focused I was on basketball, I didn’t really care for football much at all.”

It’s easy to see why basketball was Brissett’s first love. He was jumping out of the gym and throwing down crowd-pleasing dunks — a high school highlight reel that was worthy of primetime.

When Brissett was going through the recruitment process for both sports, scholarship offers from NCAA Division I programs were coming for football compared to Division II and III for basketball. As such, his focus shifted from the court to the field.

“The academic prestige of Richmond won me over,” Brissett said. “I thought about life after football and I felt like the University of Richmond business program would set me up where I wanted to be. I majored in business and it was a good choice.”

While staying on top of school work, Brissett earned a starting role for the Spiders at receiver. He exploded in 2017 with a team-leading 63 receptions for 896 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games. That brought Colonial Athletic Association first-team honours.

“It went from zero to 100,” Brissett said.

Three games into his senior season at Richmond, a Jones fracture — a break between the base and middle part of the fifth metatarsal of the foot — ended Brissett’s year prematurely. The medical redshirt rule allowed Brissett one more season of NCAA eligibility.

Brissett entered the transfer portal looking for a Power Five program and the University of Virginia came calling. However, the screw had to be taken out of his previously injured foot and caused another recovery period. The season wasn’t what Brissett had planned, but he did play in the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game against Clemson University.

“We played in the Carolina Panthers stadium, Bank of America. We packed an NFL stadium for a college game — it was crazy,” Brissett said. “You gotta be locked in or else you’ll jump offside.”

The UVA pro day was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped scouts from salivating at the chance to select Brissett in the CFL draft while NFL personnel men have checked in for interviews. At six-foot-two, 195 pounds the Mississauga native is a smooth route runner and moves with ease.

“That kid can run and he’s rising up our draft rankings and others around the league. There’s a strong argument he’s the best receiver in the draft and could come off the board in round one,” one CFL talent evaluator said.

Combine the speed and athleticism with his home address and Brissett is prime pickings for Toronto. The Argos have spent the off-season remaking their roster and made bringing the talented players from around the GTA home a priority. If it turned out that way for Brissett he would be playing in the same city as his younger brother, Oshae, a member of the Toronto Raptors.

“To go to the games and hear his being name called out — he had 12 points and six rebounds against the [Portland] Trailblazers playing real minutes — it was surreal,” Brissett said.

Admittedly, Oshae is the better dunker between the Brissett brothers, but there are pro teams who feel Dejon could make a slam dunk-type of impact on the football field.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.