REGINA — Another combine, another statement made by a Laval football player after Jean-Simon Roy led the field with 39 reps on the bench press.
The atmosphere at Evraz Place was raucous on Friday night as hundreds took in one of the combine’s marquee events, and it was the Laval offensive lineman seizing the opportunity. Roy blew away the competition, topping the rest of the field by a margin of five reps.
“My personal best was 42 but it was two years ago,” Roy told CFL.ca’s Brodie Lawson after the event. “I feel good but 40 would have been nice. I’m pretty happy with the result though.
“There was a nice mood here, I could hear my teammates screaming for me and the crowd was pretty good.”
As expected, offensive linemen topped the charts on Friday night. Concordia’s Samuel Narkaj came in second with an impressive 34 reps. McGill’s Qadr Spooner checked in behind him with 31 reps.
Mathieu Dupuis had 30 reps, although his 31 at the regional combine in Montreal will stand as his number, ranking him fourth.
Sherbrooke running back Anthony Gosselin and St. Francis Xavier’s Kay Okafor round out the top five with 30 reps each.
Roy’s mark is the sixth-highest all-time at a CFL Combine, falling just one rep shy of fellow Laval O-lineman Phillipe Gagnon a year ago.
Asked about his school’s consistent results on the bench press, Roy said it was all about discipline.
“We put in the work and the coach put in the work so we have a training schedule, we get in the gym five times a week,” said Roy. “I guess that’s a good secret.”
CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson said Roy showed a lot with Friday’s performance.
“Just the way he attacked it — I love that mentality,” said Ferguson. “The bench is all about answering the bell under pressure and being able to perform to the number that you know you can hit because everybody prepares for it at home.
“In his first five reps, you could tell that he had a goal in mind and he worked his way towards that goal patiently, knowing what he could hit for a number.”
Jean-Simon Roy approaches the bench press before putting up 39 reps on Friday (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)
While Narkaj moved into ninth on the all-time list with 34 reps, Nate Behar’s 22 reps also stood out. Behar is one of the top-ranked receivers in the draft and, according to Marsh, helped his cause on Friday night.
“He clearly took pride in the bench press,” said Ferguson. “He showed that he’s put the work in throughout his career at Carleton.”
Spooner, with 31 reps, rounded out the top three.
“Qadr Spooner surprised a lot of people based on how tall and long he is with the number that he hit,” said Ferguson. “I didn’t think that the bench press would be something that we would be talking about him in.