Coming out of Mankato East, Dez Bassett said it was important that he receive a scholarship to play football, so he went to Division II Concordia-St. Paul.
Now, nearly having completed is degree in history and criminal justice and gotten a few years of football experience, it’s more important that he test his athletic skills against the highest level possible.
“I want to maximize my potential, and I think a Division I school will help me improve my game,” Bassett said. “I want to compete against the highest level possible.”
Bassett, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound safety, has decided to transfer from Concordia-St. Paul, hoping a Division I program sees him as a fit into their program.
After receiving all-state honors in football and track at East, Bassett was recruited mainly by Division II programs in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. He had some walk-on opportunities in the FCS Missouri Valley Conference, but he took the scholarship offer at Concordia-St. Paul, also running track for the first three semesters.
Bassett played two football games as a true freshman before suffering a meniscus injury in his knee for which he got a medical redshirt.
Over the last two seasons, he’s played in all 22 games, starting 19. Last season, he made 50 tackles with four pass breakups. In 2018, he was named the Northern Sun’s defensive player of the week after scoring on a 77-yard interception return in a game against Mary. In two seasons, he’s averaged 21.7 yards on 15 kick returns.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Bassett said. “Everything happens the way it should. Coming out of high school, it was important to have a scholarship, and I wanted to play right away, which I did.”
Because of the NCAA’s shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the process for finding a new program has been slowed. He’s hoping some of those Missouri Valley programs might be still be interested, and through some contacts, he’s been able to get his name out to some of the smaller Division I programs.
He’s not in a big hurry to choose where he’ll end up; it’s more important that he finds the right opportunity.
“I’d like to have it figured out by early June, but maybe I’ll have to wait until July or August,” Bassett said. “Maybe there won’t even be a season. We’ll see what happens. It’s a weird time because of the virus.”
Bassett said he still needs to complete two summer classes to get his undergraduate degree, which would make him eligible immediately at any university. While most graduate transfers usually have only one season of eligibility when they move, he’ll have two, making him more valuable as he works toward a master’s degree. When he’s done playing football, Basssett said he plans to attend law school.
Bassett is happy with his time at Concordia-St. Paul. The Bears were 2-9 in his first season but improved that to 6-5, playing in the tough South Division of the Northern Sun.
“I’ve seen the program grow a lot,” Bassett said. “There’s a good chance they’ll have a big season coming up at Concordia. They’re doing a lot of good things there.”