Dezmond Faison is one of those rare athletes that has the ability to play almost any sport and be better than all the other players.
Just this past year, the rising Union High School junior brought home four awards in three different sports.
He was named the Most Valuable Player in junior varsity basketball; he was named All-Conference in varsity football; and his first year running track, the teen was awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy and was also named Track Player of the Year by the Sampson County Sports Club.
Most teen-aged athletes can only hope for one of these awards, but Faison got all four and he was only a sophomore.
He is not boastful about any of it, and when he talks about sports, it is football that he mentions the most.
Faison jokes about his slender build — he weighs only 185 pounds — on a lanky 6 foot 1 inch frame, and he said he works out every day to build more muscle. His slight build and long legs work for him, though, when he decides to put it in the wind.
“I’ve always liked to run. I ran a lot when I was younger,” he stressed.
He was a flash of red jersey as he sprinted around the track in the state finals this year, coming in third in the 100 yard dash for 1A competition. This was his first year ever competing.
Faison played basketball, baseball, and football in middle school and then joined all three of those teams as a freshman at Union High.
On the basketball team, Faison played power forward or shooting guard, but his favorite sport is football. “I started playing football when I was eight on the rec league and I‘ve just always liked it best,” he said.
For the Spartans, Faison said he plays quarterback and running back on the varsity squad, but RB is his favorite position. “You get to run the ball more. I feel like I can take control of the game either by scoring or getting the yards for the first down when it’s needed,” he explained.
Last year, Faison gave up baseball to go out for track. “I wanted to run track and I couldn’t do both because they are played at the same time,” he expressed.
During the track season, Faison said he learned a few things that helped him get faster. “I learned different techniques, actual running techniques and mental techniques to get me ready to run,” he stated.
He felt the workouts would also enhance his football play. “Football for me is basically a running game,” he said.
“I was trying to build up my speed and I‘ve gotten faster since last football season,” he asserted, adding that he can run the 40 yard dash in 4.34 seconds.
When asked why he believed he was so good at these sports, Faison modestly answered, “I don’t know. I just practice and lift weights.”
How often does he practice? “Everyday,” he stated firmly.
This summer he’s been lifting weights, running, and practicing his throwing techniques.
“Plus, everyday I go outside with my younger brother and practice,” Faison added. “He’s younger than me (14 years old), so I try to help him out. I give him pointers and stuff.”
Faison said he has three brothers and six sisters and he is modeling what his Uncle Derek did for him when he was learning the game. “Just like I’m the one teaching my brothers, my uncle was the one teaching me when I was younger, and he was playing football at Union,” he explained.
Faison said his dad, Clarence Faison, who was also a football player at Union, has practiced with him, too, and both his father and mother, Vicie Smith, support him playing sports and go to all his games when they aren’t working.
In thinking back over this past season, Faison recalled a few events that he won’t easily forget.
In football, it was Hobbton’s homecoming game. “I had 10 carries, 135 yards, and scored three touchdowns,” he stated proudly. Union won 30-25.
In track, Faison recalled the regional competition. “I ran the fastest time in the 100 yard dash - 10:50 seconds,” he said.
Faison said that later someone told him he was 2 milliseconds from tying the regional record.
One thing that has stuck with Faison since playing high school sports is something his coach Josh Rackley tells the team during their workout. “He said that in life you’ve got to overlook your weaknesses and magnify your strengths. I try to carry that over into things besides sports,” Faison stated.
When Faison is not playing sports or working out, he can be found at his dad’s riding a four-wheeler or out in the woods hunting deer or rabbits.
“I live with my mother, but I go to my dad’s house when I need a lot of space to work out and that’s where I go when I want to go hunting,” he explained.
His favorite classes in school are history and social studies and admits to making As, Bs, and even a few Cs. After graduation, Faison would like to attend a Division 1 college and continue his track and football career. He has hopes of one day becoming a physical therapist.