Under centre with Bison quarterback Theo Deezar

The St. Paul’s product is hoping to lead the herd to another strong season

Photo by Chantal Zdan

Theo Deezar is among the elite quarterbacks in the CIS and he has been patiently waiting to prove it. Anyone who has seen Deezar take the field knows the 6’5”, 225 lbs QB is quick on his feet, has a fantastic ability to throw the deep ball, and is precise in his reads. What oppositional defenses might have trouble believing is that off the field he’s easygoing, approachable, and grounded. He is a positive role model making the people around him better.

With the Bisons currently 2-2, his numbers are very impressive. Through 157 passing attempts, 102 have been completed for an average of 9.7 yards per attempt. Deezar has thrown for 1527 yards, putting him second in the country. He has also completed ten touchdowns, which ranks him third.

In his second year as the Bisons’ starter, Deezar has earned some illustrious recognition, including being one of four Bison players selected for the 2016 East-West Bowl. Going into week four against Saskatchewan, he had won back-to-back Smitty’s Bison Athlete of the Week.

While awards for his offensive prowess continue to accumulate, Deezar has made tough decisions. He’s worked hard; he knows that his success cannot be taken for granted.


A long road to number one

In 2011, after graduating from Winnipeg’s St. Paul’s High School and leading the Crusaders to a 10-0 regular season to become Potter Division (AAA) champions, Deezar signed with the Bisons, spending the 2012 season on the practice roster.

With the 2013 campaign approaching, Deezar faced a big decision: return to the Bisons and spend a year of eligibility as the second-string QB to Jordan Yantz, or find a team where he could get game action.

Deezar left. He found a home as the starting quarterback in Kelowna, B.C., with the Okanagan Sun of the Canadian Junior Football League. The game experience showed – Deezar returned to school for winter term feeling more confident in his passing ability.

With Yantz entering his final season, Deezar returned to the herd to be the second-string QB, learning from the veteran.

“I knew that if I stayed and worked hard and focused on the playbook that I would be able to win the starting spot the next year. And that’s what happened,” Deezar said.

Now in his third year on the roster, he doesn’t regret the decision to leave. With the Sun he grew as a player, taking the valuable game experience. He has shown his mettle to achieve his goals, and Deezar is certainly not done yet.


Life with the herd

Deezar is a genuine team player and a true competitor. He wants to win, and he wants to do it when the opposition is at their strongest. As a quarterback, he believes this is an essential quality, and the key to this is being prepared. There are also battles within the positions for a starting place, but it should never affect team morale.

“It’s never really a competition,” Deezar said. “If you’re always fighting within the team, you’ll never be able to work together as a team.”

Quarterbacks, whether starting or on the bench, have to work together to be the starting pivot if called into game action.

Deezar credits quarterback coach John Makie with fostering an environment where all of the QBs are supportive, motivated, and continuing to develop. The reps second-string quarterback Des Catellier has been getting have shown him how to be dependable and on the right track to eventually take the reins.

Playing at home, in front of family and friends, means a lot to Deezar, as well as being able to study what he enjoys while playing. It’s clear Deezar knows he’s made the right choices.

Most importantly, Deezar loves his teammates. Not necessarily because they’re successful, but because they’ve got each other’s backs.

“I think they’re the best. Best team I’ve ever played with, honestly,” he said. “The best group of guys. We’re very much a herd. No one is really there for themselves, they’re there for every other guy in the locker room.”


Going forward

The ride can’t last forever, however, as Deezar is set to graduate in May. His CIS eligibility has two years remaining, leaving big decisions ahead.

The dream of playing professional football is still alive, but Deezar acknowledges his life could go in many directions. Of course, no matter life’s course football will still take an important role.

“I’m not going to put all my eggs in the football basket. I realize there is definitely life after football,” he said. “Plan B is fall back on to my degree, or fall back onto a job, maybe coach.”

But for now that’s far down on the list of priorities. The Bisons are trying to reclaim their Hardy Cup glory from 2014.

“Hopefully we can really come together and just keep winning. That’s all we want,” Deezar said.