Dontae Bull, out of the Belmont Secondary Bulldogs and Fresno State Bulldogs of the NCAA, has been selected first overall, by the Ottawa Redblacks, in the 2023 draft.
“We had a battle with the Leafs game but we got it on the TV, and we all watched it and everyone was screaming. Even everyone who didn’t know us was cheering for us,” Angela Bull, Dontae’s mom told CHEK News. “It’s overwhelming. It’s exciting. I just feel like he’s finally being rewarded for all his hard work and determination, and struggles he had to get there.”
In October 2022, Dantae broke his leg while playing against San Diego State, causing him to miss the rest of his senior season. He had been ranked 63rd offensive lineman for the 2023 NFL draft last week but wasn’t selected.
Dantae’s mom Angela says his resolve to heal as fast as possible is why he was the first-round draft pick in the CFL.
“He was running three months before he was supposed to be walking. So it’s amazing, his determination to get to where he wants to go.”
Dantae told CHEK News back in 2017, “I want to play football and I want to play the best level that I can.”
That year, his coach shared a similar vision — one where we’d see Dantae playing on the big screen.
“It’s someone we could watch playing football on Sundays in four, five years from now,” Alexis Sanschagrin, the head coach for Belmont football, told CHEK News in 2017.
Now, much of the vision has become reality.
“We’re very proud and excited for Dantae. Having someone from Belmont is great for our current players to see what’s possible in the future,” Sanschagrin told CHEK News Wednesday.
For Dantae’s mom, watching her son get drafted was the culmination of years of dedication, as it meant that all the early-morning practices, late-night games, and sacrifices had finally paid off.
“It’s kind of like the reward after all these years of struggle. It’s an expensive sport, being on the elite teams, travelling to the U.S., and being a single mom paying for it all — you sacrifice what you have to get him where he needs to be,” said Angela. “And the reward is the first-round draft pick. So it’s exciting.”
He may be six-foot-seven, 326 pounds, but his mom says Dantae is a gentle giant with more great in him to come.
“I think NFL is in the future. We might be doing this again!” said Angela.
For now, Dantae is wrapping up his master’s degree in California before moving to Ottawa to start training as a Redblack, with pre-season starting in three weeks.
“I’m very proud. A very proud mom. He makes me proud just the person he is too,” said Angela.
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