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TORONTO – Anthony Coombs hasn’t even signed his first pro contract yet but already he is drawing comparisons to two of the league’s premier talents.
The Manitoba running back just wrapped up an impressive weekend of testing at the 2014 CFL Combine in Toronto and before he had a chance to settle back home and prepare for the draft, he was already being talked about in the same light as BC Lions running back Andrew Harris and Toronto Argonauts slotback Andre Durie.
Coombs ran a 4.522, good enough for fourth overall at the Combine in the 40-yard Dash. He also finished fourth in the Vertical Jump (37.00”) and third in the Shuttle (4.15).
Gone are the days where the running back position at Combine is represented by hulking fullbacks. Speed, great hands and perhaps most importantly, versatility are the common skillsets inhabited by young tailbacks and it is showing at both the amateur and pro level.
They are traits that both Harris and Durie possess and something CFL.ca columnist Don Landry and analyst Justin Dunk noticed in Coombs almost right away.
“Coombs had a lot of people saying ‘he looks a lot like Andre Durie’,” Landry recalled as he recapped the Combine. “So I turned to Andre Durie (who was in attendance) and asked ‘does he remind you of yourself?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, maybe but he may be more like Andrew Harris”.
Both Durie and Harris have made careers out of being not only hard rushers but explosive receivers out of the backfield, so much so that it forced Durie to alter his position from tailback to slot halfway through his now seven-year career.
“Coombs will follow in the footsteps of Harris and Durie”, former Guelph Gryphons quarterback Dunk said. “Coombs came into the Combine and ran a fast 40, showed well in the agility drills and showed that he has that short-area burst that it takes to be an offensive play-maker in this league.
“He ran one-on-ones against the linbebackers and stayed to do one-on-ones against the defensive backs. He wants to show (CFL teams) that he is versatile and that he can be the type of athlete that can get it done as a runner and a receiver”.
As for Coombs himself, he just wanted to go out and put his best work on film for the scouts and GMs; something he believes he accomplished overall.
“It went good, there were definitely some ups and downs as expected”, Coombs told CFL.ca. “Sometimes you get a personal best, sometimes you perform under what you think you’ll get, but overall it was a great experience. This made me mentally stronger and I’m happy it’s all over.
“It’s definitely been a success. I’m happy where I stand and hopefully I can improve on it this afternoon.”
With the Combine behind him, Coombs and the rest of the prospects now await May’s CFL Draft to find out where they fall and where their pro debut will take place.
“All the hard work is over, you just need to hope for the right team to pick you,” he said. “Overall I’m happy and excited.”