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2021 NFL & CFL Draft Prospect Interview: DeShawn Stevens, LB, University of Maine

Deshawn Stevens Maine
University of Maine’s veteran linebacker DeShawn Stevens recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.

Tell us about your university/college. What was your major/minor? How is campus life?

The University of Maine is a very small community that offers a closer and unique experience. At UMaine you find the ability to spend time with your teammates, friends, and literally focus on whatever goal you want to achieve there. I’m a history major with a minor in child development. I was always a major fan of learning about the past, how certain things happened and the effects that exist today because of those events. Child development was a simple and easy class for me that turned into a minor. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My leadership and passion for the game. I’m a laid back and chill person and always try to make sure everyone is doing good every day. Everyone will see how much this game truly means to me and how bad I want to win because it’s not only me, it’s the whole team. We’re getting it done together as a family.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set? 

I’m the only returning captain from last year’s team. I believe I’m the leader of the team and setting the best example has been my goal.

Honestly, I feel comfortable in any scheme I feel like my skill set can fit on anybody’s team. I play inside as a Mike linebacker and on third-downs I become a pass-rushing end. There’s other packages in the defense where I get to move around and play other roles. I feel like I’m a versatile player and can make plays wherever I’m asked to. 

Veteran LB DeShawn Stevens

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

Eric Barriere at Eastern Washington. We played against him in 2018 in the playoff semifinals. It was disappointing for us. He led a dominant offence with his combination of being an accurate passer and his athleticism was the most difficult matchup I remember facing while at Maine. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

There are so many dogs on that team it’s unbelievable. Our WR, Andre Miller, is one of the best athletes that I know. He puts a lot of work in and it shows. Andre is able to catch the ball naturally and is able to display some amazing athleticism like jumping out of a pool.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

This past season was the most challenging point in my life. After our successful 2018 season, we had high expectations for 2019. I felt as a team we had everything we needed to achieve those goals and for a quarter and a few minutes into the 2nd quarter against Sacred Heart it looked like it was. However, I got injured and ruptured my Achilles ending my season. It was a hard blow for the team and especially myself. My cousin had passed away the week before as well, and I was playing my best game in his memory.  A month after my injury, my other cousin died too which added more to what I was already feeling. The preparation I put into the season went into film, rest, recovery, and more extra work. I felt the results of my work came out in that game. It was very short-lived but it taught me that I’m capable of doing it. Since my injury, I have learned a lot about the game through a different perspective. I have been studying film and learning to be a better leader. I believe that I’ve become a better man through my struggles.

Deshawn Stevens Highlights

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

I enjoyed basketball growing up. It was another passion. Had football not been in my love, I would’ve stuck to that. Growing up I was exposed to different sports like swimming, track & field, soccer, volleyball, and even karate.

Why do you play football?

Football just came into my life. My mother really wanted me to get into sports at a young age. Playing football has helped me build friendships, learn life lessons, and be appreciative and humble. Football has allowed me to compete. I’m a very competitive person, and I always want to win.

Check out our 2021 NFL Draft Rankings that Deshawn Stevens made!

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Earning my starting spot at the end of 2018 fall camp. The injury to Taji Lowe during 2017 gave me a few opportunities to start the last four games of the season. I finally got to show what I’m capable of in games and used that momentum into the winter workouts, spring ball, summer workouts, and finally fall camp. I’m always confident in my ability and skills and knew I could start and help out the team. I was beyond happy when my coach told me I earned my spot a week before our season opener against UNH, they recognized everything from last season to then and agreed I earned and deserved to start. I feel like my biggest achievement has yet to come as I expect to come back from my injury and do great things.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

I’ll never forget playing against UAlbany at their place in 2017, it was the 4th quarter with the game coming down to end. They needed at least a field goal to win. I came in for 3rd down as a pass rusher and I sacked the quarterback which pushed them back. The next play they got a false start which made them miss their field goal and ultimately helped us win the game. It’s my most memorable moment because I finally got to make a big play for the team, and it helped us win the game which is the most important thing to me. 

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?

My favorite artist is the late Bob Marley. There’s just something with playing his songs that always brings me to center and at peace, his messages in his songs remind me of who I am.

What is your favorite comfort food?

I’m Jamaican my favorite food is ackee, saltfish, and fried dumplings. I could eat that repeatedly all day if I was able to.

Who or what motivates you the most?

My friends and family from Toronto inspire and motivate me the most. My mother and grandmother are the reason I even started playing football. They supported and sacrificed a lot to see me succeed and be happy playing this game. My best friends who I met through football and before impact me to playing the best I can because I miss playing with them and times when we were younger. The sacrifices made got me to where I am today. Mostly I want to be the best player on the field always. I want to always win whenever I play. I hate losing more than anything. I have dreams and goals I’ve been aiming to achieve and gotten closer but, there’s still more to go. I love football. It’s easily been one of the biggest blessings in my life and I want to keep showing my gratitude and appreciation for all it’s given me so far in my life. 


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