Deshawn Stevens is moving on.
The University of Maine’s fifth-year senior, a All-Colonial Athletic Association linebacker, has his sights set on the Canadian Football League draft next Tuesday. If nothing materializes there, Stevens also has declared his intention to transfer and could pursue another college opportunity.
“I still don’t know exactly where my home is going to be this fall. The thing that doesn’t change is the work I have to put in every single day,” Stevens said. “How do I improve myself as a football player? How do I improve myself as a person?”
The Toronto native concluded his career with 211 tackles in 29 games for the Black Bears.
Stevens said Friday that enjoyed his five years at UMaine and felt he developed as a player and as a person.
He said he simply wants the challenge of playing at a higher level as he tries to realize his dream of playing in the National Football League. He is keeping an eye on the NFL draft, which runs through Saturday.
Stevens suffered a torn Achilles tendon in August 2019 in a season-opening win over Sacred Heart. He didn’t return to game action until March 6 this year, when UMaine opened an abbreviated CAA schedule after the fall season was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He led the 2-2 Black Bears this spring with 36 tackles.
Stevens explained that if a CFL team drafts him it will retain his rights even if he elects to play at another college next fall.
Among former Black Bears on CFL rosters are linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga and defensive back Sharrod Baltimore of the Ottawa Redblacks, and wide receiver-kick returner Earnest Edwards, who signed with Edmonton earlier this year.
“Obviously, I have to be patient. I have to stay focused and be committed to the process,” Stevens said. “Hopefully, something will come through and, when it does, I have to be ready to go.”
The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Stevens was a sophomore All-American in 2018 when he helped the CAA champion Black Bears earn the program’s first appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision national semifinals. He registered 120 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss with nine sacks.