Photo courtesy of Boris Terzic
A total of eight players with CJFL experience were selected this week at the CFL Draft.
The day started on a high when former Westshore Rebels offensive lineman Dontae Bull was taken first overall by the Ottawa RedBlacks. He saw limited time with the Rebels in 2017.
The next CJFLer to hear his name came in the second round when the Edmonton Elks took defensive back Jacob Taylor who played for the St. Clair (Fratmen) Saints in the 2016 season. He helped a very stringy defence who allowed 15 points a game during the campaign.
In the third-round defensive lineman Kwadwo Boahen who spent time with the Canadian Bowl champion Okanagan Sun last season was picked 22nd overall by the Calgary Stampeders. Oddly enough is only season in the CJFL was in 2022 and he was taken 22nd overall.
Another defensive star in the CJFL was selected in the fourth round when defensive lineman Tanner Schmekel was chosen by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 35th overall. Schmekel played the 2019 season with the Regina Thunder collecting eight tackles, had five assists, forced a fumble and put pressure on the opposing quarterback countless times.
Tight-end Sebastian Howard was the first of three former CJFL payers to be drafted in the sixth round. Howard was taken by the Stampeders, 49th overall after playing for the Langley Rams in 2019. He was part of a Rams team that when undefeated throughout the regular season and hosted the Canadian Bowl that season.
Cameron Fair was the lone CJFL kicker taken in the draft when he was selected 51st by the Stampeders. He spent the 2017 season as a member of the GTA Grizzlies connecting on eight field goals and averaged almost 30 yards a punt.
Linebacker Ife Onyemenam was the only player with CJFL experience to be chosen by the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argos. He was taken 54th overall, in the sixth round after playing the 2019 and 2022 seasons with the Regina Thunder.
The final CJFL player in the draft was running back Derek Best (pictured) who carried the rock for the Langley Rams in 2021 and 2022. He was selected 65th overall by the Edmonton Elks. During the Rams 2021 Canadian Bowl championship season he rushed 29 times for 204 yards and scored three majors. In the title game he scored the Rams lone rushing touchdown on 11 carries and picked up 55 yards. Then in 2022 he was even better with 381 yards on 60 carries and scored another three touchdowns.
Good luck to all eight players as they now head to their respective team camps.
The CJFL was very well represented at the CFL Invitational Combine with seven players completing among some of the best from US colleges and U-Sport programs.
Below are the final results from the seven players that took part:
|Players||Bench Press||40-Yard||Vertical||Broad Jump||3-Cone||Shuttle Run|
|Burgmaier, Donovan||21||5.37||30||8'10 1/8||7.53||4.7|
|Charles, Shawn||4||4.92||28||8'11 7/8||7.94||DNP|
|Hayes-Williams, Jared||DNP||5.01||27||8'9 5/8||7.44||4.45|
|O'Shea, Mike||DNP||4.86||34||9'8 5/8||7.26||4.4|
|Oling, Ronnie||11||4.78||32||9'2 3/4||7.32||4.37|
With the CFL Draft on the radar of general managers, coaches and player personnel, the roster for the upcoming CFL Invitational Combine was released on Tuesday with five players with CJFL experience making the cut.
The Combine will take place on Friday March 3rd in Waterloo, Ontario as these players hope to win an invitation to the National Combine which is scheduled from March 22-26 in Edmonton. The CFL Draft is slated for Tuesday May 2nd.
The CFL Invitational Combine will take place at Feridun Hamdullahpur Field House at the University of Waterloo with players from across Canada participating. The top draft-eligible players identified in the Invitational Combine will earn their way to the main event in Edmonton.
The Invitational Combine replaces the traditional regional combines which happened three times a year.
A total of five CJFL players will make their way to Waterloo, all with outstanding experience earning their invitation.
DL Donovan Burgmaier last played for the Edmonton Huskies in 2017 and was named an All-Canadian. During that season he had six sacks, 16 solo tackles and two fumble recoveries, one returned for a touchdown.
LB Shawn Charles played for the Ottawa Sooners in 2022 and was named an All-Canadian. He compiled 21 tackles, 1.5 sacks, had an interception, blocked two kicks, forced a pair of fumbles, and recovered one for a touchdown.
WR Jared Hayes-Williams has been one of the main play makers for the St. Clair Saints over his tenue there. Last season he was named a First-Team All-Canadian after making 33 receptions for 617 yards and had six touchdowns helping the Saints to their perfect regular season.
LB Jadyn Pingue was named the CJFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 as a member of the Saskatoon Hilltops. That season he collected 29 tackles, had seven assists, had a knockdown, a fumble recovery and intercepted a pass.
WR/KR Mike O’Shea was simply outstanding for the Okanagan Sun in 2022 on their championship run. He was named a double All-Canadian in two different positions. First as a receiver he hauled in 28 passes for 483 yards and had eight touchdowns. He scored an extremely important touchdown in the Canadian Bowl to swing the momentum. As a kick returner, he ran back 58 kicks for 1,011 yards and had three more touchdowns.
Good luck to these five players with CJFL experience at the Invitational Combine.