Top CFL Draft prospect Deshawn Stevens enters transfer portal

Photo courtesy: Maine Athletics

A top CFL Draft prospect will have a new home next year and it won’t be Canada.

Maine linebacker Deshawn Stevens has entered the NCAA transfer portal, taking advantage of the NCAA eligibility extension to attempt to jump to a larger program. Stevens was ranked as the 20th overall prospect in the final CFL scouting bureau rankings.

Stevens was a dominant force for the Black Bears in 2018, recording 120 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception in 14 games. He was named the team’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for his efforts.

The Toronto native’s 2019 season was brought to a crashing halt due to an Achilles injury but rebounded in a big way in 2020, racking up 36 tackles and being named first team All-Conference over the course of his four game fall season.

The six-foot-two, 255-pounder has played mostly at middle linebacker for Maine but projects as a defensive end in the CFL. He is expected to go highly in Tuesday’s CFL Draft but whichever team selects him will have to wait for his services.

Thanks to a medical redshirt and new COVID eligibility rules, Stevens will be able to play two seasons with his new team should he so choose. His new school will be viewed as a potential stepping stone to the NFL and an attempt to shake the small school label.

Should he succeed, his CFL rights holder could be left waiting longer than expected.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.