CFL RedBlacks sign Gryphon receiver

Jacob Scarfone reeling in one of his touchdown receptions
Photo via Gryphons.ca

When I read that Jacob Scarfone hadn’t made the Tiger-Cats dress roster back on Cutdown Sunday, I knew it wouldn’t be too long before the two-time All Canadian was picked up by another CFL team.

That day has come …

From Tim Baines’ Ottawa Sun article …

The Redblacks on Monday added receiver Jacob Scarfone and defensive lineman Danny Mason. “Scarfone is a guy who did some very good things at Guelph,” Desjardins said. “He’s had a couple of injuries and it’s maybe taken him a little longer to get some traction in the CFL. He’s a guy with good size, he catches the ball well and runs pretty well. We’re going to have a look at him and see what he can do potentially for us.

Read the full story here.

Update: 24 hours after signing him, the RedBlacks have added Scarfone to their practice roster.

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CFL back in Guelph

Preseason CFL.jpg

I’m looking forward to the Argos vs RedBlacks game at Alumni Stadium Thursday night.

I bought my tickets online as soon as they went on sale back in April. According to Athletic Director Scott McRoberts there will be tickets available at the gate but I would recommend you buy them ahead of time. You never know what the lineups will be like.

Link for tickets

Gryphons.ca had a story yesterday about the 5 former Gryphons who will be playing in the game – Former Gryphons Return to Alumni Stadium in CFL Preseason Tilt.

Today it is the Toronto Sun‘It’s surreal’: Argos’ Charette looking forward to again playing in Guelph. The story talks about Charette’s Guelph roots and the history the Argos have with the Royal City but this was the most interesting takeaway for me …

Ask head coach Marc Trestman about Charette and Trestman can’t say enough good things.

“To say it bluntly, Alex was a captain last week (when Argos played the host Ticats in the pre-season),” began Trestman. “It tells you what we think of Alex. Nobody gets to be a captain here unless they are truly a leader, are truly all in when it comes to what we’re trying to do on a daily basis.

“Alex came in last mid-season and he’s proven himself to be a tremendous teammate, all in on special teams, an active member, and he had a good game (in the Hammer). This team trusts him and we trust him to go out and play.”

That sounds very promising for Charette.

And from Tim Baines in the Ottawa Sun

ALWAYS A GRYPHON: Offensive lineman Andrew Pickett, a third-round draft selection in this year’s CFL Draft, is going home. Thursday’s pre-season game against Toronto in Guelph will be played at Alumni Stadium, where Pickett played many games for the University of Guelph Gryphons. “It’s really cool, it’s a surreal feeling,” said Pickett. “For me, the locker-rooms will bring back some old memories. I’m excited.” Pickett expects there will be plenty of family members on hand watching the game. Talking about his progression from the beginning of training camp, Pickett said: “Every day, you try to get better in some way. From the first day of camp until now, I feel I’ve progressed a lot.”

Argos vs RedBlacks.jpg

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Big week for Gryphons in pre-season CFL action

The CFL pre-season is in full swing now with four exhibition games played on Thursday (1) and Friday (3) nights. Lots Guelph grads had notable performances [see social media below] but none bigger than running back Johnny Augustine.

Straight from BlueBombers.com

MESDAMES ET MESSIEURS, LE DEUXIÈME ÉTOILE… JOHNNY AUGUSTINE… Bomber fans were first introduced to Johnny Augustine, the Canadian running back from the University of Guelph, during rookie camp. He’s a likable, respectable and driven sort who was a late addition to the camp roster only when it became clear that Kienan LaFrance wouldn’t be healthy enough to participate when practices started.

Augustine is an intriguing prospect, but given the circumstances – Andrew Harris is the clear-cut starter and LaFrance is a local product with 45 games under his belt over the last three years – he seemed the ultimate longshot.

So, the question now is this: how did Friday night’s spectacular performance by Augustine – he carried eight times for 81 yards and a TD, pulled in one pass for seven yards and chipped in with a special teams tackle – help his cause?

Put it this way: it sure as heck didn’t hurt.

Augustine spoke to the media for a long spell following the game. And after the press had exited, took a deep breath to reflect again on the difficult road he’s travelled over the last year.

A star at last year’s national combine in Regina, he surprisingly didn’t hear his name called on draft night and bounced from Edmonton to Saskatchewan to Winnipeg.

In short, he had been through a career’s-worth of disappointment in just over 13 months.

“You’ve got to seize the opportunity,” he said. “You know, people see us in the game. They see the flashy moments. They see the touchdowns. What they don’t see is us training behind the scenes, or me being up until three in the morning studying my playbook.

“We go through so much and people only see us on the field and if we score or not. It’s the little things that matter and I’ve really been working on my craft.

“I wouldn’t tell Andrew this,” added Augustine, nodding toward Andrew Harris’ locker, “but when I’m not taking physical reps, I’m taking mental reps. Every time he runs, I’m watching and taking the mental reps.

“Those runs tonight… I saw them coming because I’ve been practicing in my head, too. I’m not going to lie, I’m back in my dorm room every night studying and I’m operating on not a lot of sleep right now.

“I mentioned it to you earlier in rookie camp, but what the last year has taught me is to never ever be satisfied. What makes a true man is how you respond to adversity. I’ve been at the lowest and, at this point, I’m ready for anything because I’ve already experienced everything.”

ONE MORE ON AUGUSTINE, WHO PUSHED, PULLED AND DRAGGED DEFENDERS AS IF HE WAS PLAYING HIS LAST GAME… Afterward Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea, who generally tones down his enthusiasm for individual performances, did seem thrilled for the young tailback.

“You see the reaction of the guys on the sideline (for Augustine)… they’re fired up,” said O’Shea. “Certain guys, teammates really rally behind. Somehow, they get to know them or get a feel for them a little better in camp earlier on and they rally behind him. Johnny was having fun out there and guys were having fun with him enjoying his success.

“Near the end there was one (run), where I don’t know how many yards he had – it wasn’t many – but he took a real solid hit in the hole and almost ran out of it… it was good contact in the hole by the Edmonton backer and Johnny powered through it. It was pretty neat to see. Whatever number of yards he ends up after that, it was negligible, it was good for his teammates to see that.”

Video of Johnny’s touchdown run …

Full post-game interview with Johnny here.

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2018 Valero East-West Bowl live blog

The game is underway. I’m watching via this Youtube.com link

Former Gryphon QB Justin Dunk doing the play-by-play on the broadcast.

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All 3 Gryphons are playing for the West team [red unis].

#68 Eric Starczala is the starting RT.

#56 Job Reinhart is the starting long snapper and should also play some at LB.

#17 Theo Landers is playing QB. Michael O’Connor of UBC started the game for the West.

E-W Bowl 2018

Gryphon 2018 East-West Bowl participants – #56 Job Reinhart, #17 Theo Landers and #68 Eric Starczala with interim head coach Todd Galloway in ULaval indoor practice facility

*     *      *

East out to an early 12-0 lead. West has made plays but hurt itself with penalties. The big play for the East was a QB sack and strip that was returned for a TD.

The 1st Q comes to an end with an incomplete pass in the EZ.

The West gets on the board on the second play of the 2nd Q with a FG. Perfect snap by Job Reinhart.

Reinhart makes his first tackle on the next series bringing down the QB on a keeper.

Theo Landers is into the game for the West on the first series of the 2nd Q with his team backed up on their 3-yd line.

Landers is 0-3 on passes on his first two series. They haven’t let him run the ball yet.

The run game is working since Landers has come in. I’m still hoping we’ll see him carry it soon.

West has the ball at center field after a back-to-back runs produce a 1st down. Landers hits on a 6-yd pass for his first completion. On a Greg Marshall 3rd down gamble Landers scrambles for 5 and a 1st down. Another Landers run on 1st for a gain of 4. A high and bobbled snap on another 3rd down gamble ends the West drive inside the East 40.

After an East series where they hurt themselves with penalties, followed by a nice return by Kurleigh Gittens Jr. West/Landers takes possession at the 55-yd line. Two-minute drill. Landers completes 3 passes, has a long ball go of the the finger tips of a receiver, then runs for 9 yards. As the clock winds down Landers puts the ball into the hands of York receiver Colton Hunchak in the end zone. Hunchak can’t hang on to it, partly because of contact from a DB.

Score at Halftime – 14-3 for the East.

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My quick thoughts on the 1st Half …

• This is an excellent broadcast. I’ve experienced ZERO issues with buffering, sound and the other things that seem to plague U Sports games streamed online. Maybe OUA.tv should consider using Youtube.com instead of whoever their provider is these days.

• This game broadcast feels like it is going very fast. I think it is because it doesn’t commercials. I actually be in favour of U Sports adding a few commercials if they could make some money off of them.

• I think all three Gryphon players have played very well. OL Starczala has looked excellent including several times when he was matched up against Laval’s superstar D-End Mathieu Betts. Reinhart has been close to perfect with his long snapping duties and made some plays on defense. Landers has a little high on his first couple passes but was gaining momentum with each series. At this point his passing stats may not been great but he is a dropped pass away from being a 1st half MVP candidate.

• The 1st Half stats overall are not particularly impressive. I’m surprised how little offensive production there was. For example, First downs – West 8, East 3. It seemed more exciting than that to me.

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Landers back in at QB for Team West to start the 3rd Q. Landers moves West from their own 4 out to the 47 with a few 1st downs including a scramble and pass completion.

Next series – West is backed up to their 6-yd line but not for long as Landers completes a long pass to a Regina receiver that brings the ball out to their 41. West keeps picking up 1st downs. Some nice runs, a couple more pass completions, a big QB scramble and West gets into the Red Zone. The 9-play, 90+ yard drive ends with a FG to make the game 14-8.

Through 3 quarters West leads East in total offense – 250 yards to 93 yards.

According to the broadcast Landers passing stats for his 2 quarters of play – 9 of 15 for 100 yards. In the 4th Q Michael O’Connor is now back in the game at QB.

An East penalty negates a big passing play, followed by a big sack and East is punting from deep in their own end. Another East penalty on the punt and West will start their drive at the East 47. Score still 14-8.

West turns it over on downs at the East 40. East goes 2-and-out. West is penalized on the punt return. A holding penalty negates a nice Jamal Lyles run. This is an all star game after all.

Justin Dunk says attendance is 5-6,000. I’m looking forward to being in Stade TELUS to watch Guelph play Laval in a pre-season game on August 19. We finally had official confirmation of the game just this week.

Eric Starczala is still in the game at right tackle for the West.

West has moved down to the 17-yd line with 2:20 left in the game. Manitoba RB Jamal Lyles makes people miss and takes it to the EZ to give the West a 15-14 lead.

East is backed up deep in their own end with just seconds left and trailing by 1 point.

It’s over. West wins 15-14.

I think all three Gryphons have to be happy with the way they played today. I also think Theo Landers proved some things to any who doubted him. His final passing stats 10-18 for 119 yards plus some important rushing yards. Landers was actually the game’s leading rusher with 9 carries for 56 yards.

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Check the game’s Box Score here

Game story – Late TD leads West to third straight East-West Bowl victory

After an East safety midway through the third quarter, the West again cut the lead at the end of the frame, thanks to the excellent work of Guelph quarterback Theodore Landers. In a series of 12 plays and 94 yards, Landers got several first downs through the air and on the ground, and Brian Hope added the finishing touch as time expired with a 19-yard field goal. At the start of the fourth quarter, the East’s lead was only 14-8.

Don’t forget about the contributions of a couple of Gryphon coaches …

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CFL Draft 2018

I have seen two mock drafts for 2018.

The CFL.ca Mock draft 3.0 which projects that 3 Gryphon players be selected [OL Andrew Pickett (2nd round), DB Royce Metchie (4th round) and DB Nick Parisotto (8th round).

The Ratio Breaker blog’s 2018 CFL Mock Draft predicts just two Gryphon selections. What’s noteworthy is that this blog projects Andrew Pickett as a 1st round selection.

Pick #8. Calgary Stampeders
Selection: Andrew Pickett, OL, Guelph Gryphons
Calgary is in serious need of a revamp on the offensive line but picking eighth means most of the top tier linemen are off the board. Pickett can play center and guard and brings an element of toughness that the Calgary front is missing.

Royce Metchie is projected as a 5th rounder.

Pick #42. Calgary Stampeders
Selection: Royce Metchie, DB, Guelph Gryphons
Metchie adds some much needed DB depth to a team that will likely start a Canadian safety for the first time in several years.

The glaring omission in both of these mock drafts?

In my opinion it is ignoring two-time All Canadian kicker Gabriel Ferraro. I don’t believe Ferraro will go unselected.

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The draft has started. It is on a couple of the TSN stations. Check back as I intend to add some comments as the evening goes on.

The 1st round of the draft is complete. The only real surprise might be OL Darius Ciraco [Burlington, ON/Calgary Dinos] being picked 6th by the Tiger-Cats. A high draft projection a year or two ago, the consensus seemed to be that Ciraco’s draft stock had dropped to late 2nd round status.

1st round picks

 

Five of the nine 1st round selections were NCAA players. The four U Sports selections all came from Canada West teams.

By position – 7 OLs, 1 WR, 1 DL

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All nine selections were U Sports players. Five of nine 2nd round picks came from OUA programs, 3 from UofCalgary and one from Laval.

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Andrew Pickett is the first Gryphon selected. He goes to Ottawa with the 22nd pick.

Combine Pickett

Also in the 3rd round, the Calgary Stampeders select DB Royce Metchie with the 25th pick.

Six of 8 picks in the 3rd round are U Sports players. Five of those are from the OUA.

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Gryphon alum traded on eve of CFL draft

Now here is some surprising news … former Gryphon offensive lineman Ryan Bomben is returning to the Montreal Alouettes, the team that originally drafted him back in 2010.

From Justin Dunk’s story on the 3-Down Nation blog

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have traded Canadian offensive lineman Ryan Bomben to the Montreal Alouettes in exchange for the first overall pick in the 2018 CFL Draft.

The 30-year-old has played three seasons for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, starting 48 games and was a CFL East Division all-star the last two years. Bomben is entering the final season of his contract.

Being traded just in advance of the draft is not a new experience for Bomben.

The Tiger-Cats acquired him prior to the 2015 CFL Draft by sending Montreal their 1st and 3rd round picks – the 8th and 24th overall selections. That’s impressive when you consider Bomben’s was the final pick of the 4th round, 31st overall, back in 2010.

In my opinion, Bomben’s original selection by the Alouettes with that 31st pick is one of the all-time great value picks of the CFL Draft.

Bomben reception.jpg

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RB Recruit Wins 2 Awards

Kwame Osei.jpg

It was pretty obvious from the get-go that the Gryphons were getting a special player in  Kwame Osei.

The John Abbott College running back came with a nice resume including … Rookie of the Year in 2015, team MVP in 2016 and 2017 and RSEQ D2 All Star in 2016. Osei was also voted a team captain in both his second and third years with the JAC Islanders.

Now Kwame Osei has received two more honours at the Montreal school’s annual awards banquet.

From the Montreal Gazette

Football player Kwame Osei was named the 2018 winner of the Jeff Mills Memorial Cup at the 44th annual John Abbott College Athletic Awards banquet.

The trophy is presented annually to the JAC athlete who best exemplifies athletic, academic and community leadership qualities.

The trophy is named after Jeff Mills who played football for the Macdonald-Abbott Clansmen in 1973-74.  Mills, who was killed in apparent hit-and-run accident in 1975, was known as a leader on and off the field.

Osei, a third-year running back who was voted in as captain in his second year, rushed 334 times for 1,892 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also caught 28 passes for 141 yards.

“Osei was the undeniable leader of the football team,” said Sunil Ramgulam of  JAC Sports and Recreation.

“If you needed something done with the football team, you’d tell Kwame and it would get done. He’d let the boys know. His approach, his passion and personality allowed him to influence his peers and re-enforced the staff and team values.”

Osei, a 20-year-old Dollard-des-Ormeaux resident who works on campus in the facilities dept., even helped out after the awards banquet ended.

“After awards night, he was here putting chairs away, as an example,” Ramgulam said. “He was rolling chairs away in his bow tie.”

Osei plans to attend Guelph University in Ontario and play football for the varsity Gryphons next fall.

Other Jeff Mills nominees included Timothy Quinn (volleyball), Aube Racine (hockey), Christopher Cinelli-Faia (soccer) and Natasha Fracassi (volleyball).

Osei was also named winner of the Jonathan Ruiter Memorial Award, presented annually to a member  of  the Islanders football team. “It’s the football team player award and it’s voted on by the players themselves,” noted Ramgulam.

 

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Shocking news – Kevin MacNeill out as head coach

If I hadn’t received a heads-up phone call, the following announcement is something I would have a hard time believing. Something you’d only expect to read on April Fools Day.

GUELPH, ON – Kevin MacNeill is leaving the University of Guelph as head coach of the football program to explore other opportunities.  Coach MacNeill has been with the football program since 2010, starting first as a defensive coordinator.  He assumed the head coach position in 2017 after serving as interim head coach for one year.

“Coach MacNeill has been instrumental in helping our football program become one of the best in the province, and we wish him well,” said Scott McRoberts, Director of Athletics.

Todd Galloway has been appointed interim coach.  Galloway has been with the program for seven seasons.  During his tenure as offensive coordinator, the Gryphons had a 31-8 regular season record and a 5-5 playoff record, including three Yates Cup appearances and an historic Yates Cup Championship title in 2015. Galloway has also served as head of recruitment for the past two years.

Read the full announcement here.

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coach-macneill

Kevin MacNeill served as the Gryphons Defensive Coordinator from 2010 until his appointment as interim head coach in January 2016. The interim tag was removed and MacNeill was named as the full-time head coach in December 2016.

During his 2-year tenure as head coach MacNeill had an 8-8 regular season record.  There was some tough luck involved accumulating that record. Three of MacNeill’s 8 losses came in games that went to overtime. He was 1-2 in the playoffs.

I think MacNeill’s boldest move may have been his recruitment of J-F Joncas to fill the Offensive Coordinator position in 2017. Bringing a head coach from one of Quebec’s top CEGEP programs was totally unexpected. Joncas and MacNeill had worked together previously on the Junior National Team coaching staff.

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My first thought on an interim coach was that Brian Towriss, the Canadian Football HofF and U Sports all-time winningest coach, would be an ideal choice. Towriss spent 10 days in Guelph last August helping at training camp and was also with the team for their Winter Camp at IMG Academy in Florida.

I have no idea whether Towriss would have considered it, nor do I have any problem with Scott McRoberts‘ appointment of Todd Galloway. Certainly, with 7 years experience as a full-time assistant on the Guelph staff, Galloway is completely familiar with things.

For the past 16 months Galloway’s primary role has been that of recruiting coordinator. He has done an excellent job with the Gryphons poised to bring in their best recruiting class in at least 4 or 5 years.Leaving the recruiting coordinator’s position unfilled does concern me but it is also hard to put someone in that position temporarily.

I can’t even be sure yet if this is just a short-term appointment or whether Galloway will serve as head coach through the 2018 season. I do expect that the search for a permanent replacement won’t take place until after the season.

Galloway doesn’t have much, if any, experience as a head coach. He may have been a high school HC in Nova Scotia but I’m not certain. His name was circulated as a candidate for the head coaching position at WLU five years ago but he made it clear he wasn’t interested in the position.

 

 

 

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CFL returning to Guelph in June

Tim Baines broke the news last month …

This week we learned the details courtesy of this Athletic Department press release

University of Guelph to Host Toronto Argonauts Preseason Game in June

GUELPH, ON – Over the years, the University of Guelph has become a familiar setting for the Canadian Football League. In June of 2018, the CFL will once again be returning to U of G’s Alumni Stadium.

On Thursday (April 12), the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts announced they will be hosting a preseason game in Guelph on the evening of Thursday, June 7 versus the Ottawa RedBlacks. Tickets will go on sale beginning at 12pm on Saturday, April 14.


TICKET INFO

CFL Preseason – Toronto Argonauts vs Ottawa RedBlacks

When:  Thursday, June 7, 2018 (kickoff time to be determined)
Where:  Alumni Stadium – University of Guelph
Tickets:  Adult – $20, Youth/Student – $10, Kids 6-and-under FREE

Online Tickets:  gryphons.ca/tickets (beginning at 12pm on Saturday, April 14)

In-Person Ticket Purchase:  Beginning at 12pm on Saturday, April 14, tickets for the Argos/RedBlacks preseason game can be purchased in-person at the Client Service desk of the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre. Hours of operation are as follows:
Monday to Friday: 5:30am to 10:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 7am to 10:30pm


“We are thrilled to welcome the Canadian Football League back to our campus,” said Scott McRoberts, Director of Athletics at the University of Guelph. “Having the opportunity to host a CFL preseason game is a special honour. Our facilities rank among the very best at the Canadian university level and our staff are excited to help execute an event that both the fans, as well as the two teams involved, can be proud of.”

The 2018 preseason game will mark the second time in the past three years that the Toronto Argonauts have called the University of Guelph home. In 2016, the Argos held their training camp in Guelph, spending over two weeks on U of G campus before returning to Toronto to kickoff their 2016 season.

In 2013, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats played nine of their 10 home games at Alumni Stadium during the regular season while their new home, Tim Hortons Field, was undergoing construction. That same year, the Ticats went on to win a playoff game on U of G soil when they defeated the Montreal Alouettes in overtime, 19-16, in the East Final.

If you were to go back a few decades earlier, you would find even more history between the CFL and the University of Guelph with the Toronto Argonauts training off-and-on at U of G during the 1980’s and ’90’s.

“There is an incredible football fan base here in Guelph, with support from minor football all the way up to the university and CFL levels,” added McRoberts. “Hosting this game will serve as an excellent opportunity for our community to get a front-row seat to the professional ranks while taking in the game in a family-friendly environment.”

For several of the current players on the Toronto Argonauts, the June 7 exhibition game will mark a return home, with four former Gryphon football players currently on either the Argos’ or RedBlacks’ 2018 rosters. Jake Reinhart, Jeff Finley and Alex Charette are all current members of the Argos and were part of the 2017 Grey Cup championship team. A total of five former Gryphons were part of the Argos’ 2017 Grey Cup team, with Cam Walker and Curtis Newton having since moved on to the Ottawa RedBlacks and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, respectively. The five Gryphon alumni who were part of last year’s Grey Cup winning team will be recognized on May 5 when the Gryphons host their 8th annual Football Gala.

The 2018 CFL regular season kicks off on Thursday, June 14 with Edmonton Eskimos at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Toronto Argonauts will officially begin their 2018 regular season on Friday, June 15 when they travel to Regina to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Argos’ 2018 home opener is set for Saturday, June 23 when they welcome the Calgary Stampeders to BMO Field.

Read the Toronto Argonauts announcement here.

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It’s CFL Combine season

The CFL’s 2018 National Combine gets underway tomorrow in Winnipeg. The 3-day event winds up Sunday [March 23-25].

Combine Pickett

Two draft-eligible Gryphons have been invited – offensive lineman Andrew Pickett and defensive back Royce Metchie.

Combine Metchie

Check out their highlight tapes …

Andrew Pickett – a nice mixture of Pickett’s Gryphon highlights combined with clips of him going against NCAA players at the College Gridiron Showcase in Texas. Pickett was interviewed by two NFL teams in Texas. One of those teams has been in touch with Guelph coaches to learn more about Pickett.

Royce Metchie – his Gryphon career highlights include a lot of physical plays

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If you’re interesting in watching the combine there is good news …

For the second straight year, CFL.ca will broadcast player one-on-ones and individual drills live from Winnipeg as the stars of tomorrow showcase their talents to try and improve their stock ahead of the 2018 CFL Draft.

CFL.ca’s coverage of the Combine includes a daily live show at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday.  For more information on all their live broadcasts, visit CFL.ca/Live.

LIVE PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE FOR CFL COMBINE PRESENTED BY ADIDAS
EVENT DATE TIME
40-Yard Dash Saturday, March 24, 2018 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT
Bench Press Saturday, March 24, 2018 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT
Individual Player Drills + 1-on-1 Drills Sunday, March 25, 2018 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT
*All times subject to change

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Five other Gryphons – LB Luke Korol, DB Nick Parisotto, DB Orion Edwards, LB Riley Baines and K Gabriel Ferraro – were invited to the CFL’s Ontario Regional Scouting Combine which took place on March 9 in Toronto.

While all of the Gryphons put up some impressive numbers, it was Orion Edwards performance that really jumped out. Edwards’ name appeared on the leader board [Top 5] in four of the six events with second-place finishes in long jump and vertical jump, third in the 3-Cone drill and fourth in the 40. Click here for results of all participants.

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There was a new feature at the Regional Combine in Toronto – a 7-on-7 passing competition sponsored by the CFL. The event was for players in their first and second years of eligibility. Six of 11 OUA football programs entered teams, including McMaster, York, Waterloo, UofT and Western Ontario.

7on7 1

They played one-handed touch football. Quarterbacks, receivers and linebacker/ defensive backs staged 30-minute games with players only requiring a helmet and jersey.  There is a David Grossman story and highlight video on CFL.ca 

“The concept was great and it brought young players together to showcase their skills – and learn from others,” said Kevin MacNeill, head coach at the University of Guelph.

“Every coach knows there are younger guys who may not get a chance to play in a game right away and so this gives us more time for evaluation, learning and it helps players who may make a mistake bounce right back with a big play.”

DeAndre Rose is finishing his first year of studies at Guelph, and the 18-year old quarterback said the CFL-sponsored 7-on-7 kept him focused on what lies ahead.

“No doubt about it, this was a confidence booster,” he said. “I am trying to win a starting job and university football is much harder than what I have played in past. For me, it’s a learning process, a chance to get better and I came away from this having seen much improvement in how I play. I picked up ideas and remain focused and committed.”

The Gryphons team won their first two games over Western [18-0] and UofT [24-18].

7on7 2

The Gryphons then won a semi-final game to advance to the championship game where they met Western’s Purple Ponies for the second time.

Guelph prevailed 21-12 in the re-match with UWO to take the inaugural 7-on-7 championship.

7on7

 

 

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