Addae looks to aid new addition Stevens through transfer process

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Senior safety Alonzo Addae was one of West Virginia’s more productive players in 2020, enabling him to earn All-Big 12 Conference second-team honors in his first season suiting up for the Mountaineers.

Addae, a New Hampshire transfer, is seeking more production in his final college season as he looks to give himself the best chance of playing at the next level.

“I have a much greater knowledge of this defense,” Addae said. “Last year with it being my first year, a lot of the formations, motions, things of that nature, it was the first time I was seeing a lot of that stuff at game speed. Having a year under my belt helps me be more comfortable within the defense and also understand the pierces that surround me.

“Not only the free safety position I played last year, but also understanding the cat safety, the corners, the spear and our defense in general, it helps me make more plays. It makes me feel more comfortable knowing where my help is and where other pieces of the defense fit.”

For all of the roles Addae fills, which include but are not limited to playing the pass and run, serving as one of the team’s hardest hitters, disguising blitzes and coverages and providing leadership, he recently added another one in helping serve as a mentor for a recent addition to the Mountaineers.

Late Monday, linebacker Deshawn Stevens announced he would spend his final college season at West Virginia after the graduate transfer opted to leave Maine for an opportunity to play at a higher level.

Like Addae, Stevens will come to WVU from a member of the Colonial Athletic Association at the Football Championship Subdivision level. Both Addae and Stevens hail from Canada and the two have a past that dates back well before their days playing college football. Addae’s hometown of Pickering, Ontario is less than an hour from Stevens’ hometown of Toronto, Ontario.

“What a lot of people don’t know is Deshawn and I have known each other a long time,” Addae said. “Both us are from the Toronto area. We played against each other in little league ball coming up and we also played with each other in the International Bowl at (what was formerly) Dallas Cowboys Stadium with Team Canada vs. Team USA. That’s been a longtime friend.”

Deshawn Stevens

Both Addae and Stevens were also chosen by the Ottawa Redblacks in the 2021 Canadian Football League Draft, but opted to use their final season of college eligibility. Stevens was the sixth overall selection, while Addae was picked at No. 13.

While a season-ending Achilles injury in the 2019 opener and a shortened FCS season in the spring of 2021 have limited Stevens to five games since he was a sophomore, Addae believes the Mountaineers are adding an impact linebacker.

“Happy where he’s able to join us here and I think he’ll be a great addition to the team,” Addae said. “We played against each other in UNH (against) Maine. There’s definitely still that little bit of competition, but that’s somebody I consider a brother. We definitely plan on representing our home country.”

Stevens saw plenty of success when he was on the field for the Black Bears.

In four games last season, he recorded a team-high 36 tackles. Back in 2018, Stevens was an All-CAA second-team pick after posting a team-high 120 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks, a pair of fumble recoveries and an interception. That followed a 2017 campaign in which he played in 10 games and started three, while finishing fifth on Maine with 50 tackles, including 4.5 TFLs.

“It’s very different having a transfer come in who’s a redshirt freshman or sophomore that hasn’t been through college football,” Addae said. “He has his regimen and the things that have gotten him to this point and he’s been very successful in doing that. I’ll try to be a vessel for him and somewhat of a support system. If he needs anything around town, he can lean on me with that personal relationship.”

Addae thought back to when he transferred to West Virginia after redshirting one year and playing two seasons with the Wildcats. He believes Stevens may be in for a pleasant surprise when he gets to Morgantown.

“We have so many different resources at the facility, whether it’s our nutrition, the academic staff, our weight room or the athletic trainers,” Addae said. “Coming from an FCS program, you’re not afforded those luxuries. The biggest adjustment was making sure I made the most out of my day and using all the resources provided for us.”

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