Possible first selection in Wednesdayâs CFL Canadian Draft
By Perry Lefko,
Being a young man playing against men is not something that intimidates Corey Mace.
The 21-year-old enters the Canadian Football Leagueâs 2007 Canadian Draft as one of the youngest eligible players.
Born on Nov. 22, 1985, Mace is only 21, but the native of Port Moody, B.C. doesnât consider that an issue as he looks ahead to a future in professional football.
âI was the youngest one by far at the CFL Combine,â Mace said in reference to the TransGlobe Evaluation Camp, which took place in March.
âTo me itâs not going to make any difference (playing against older players),â he added. âNo matter what level of competition Iâve always been the youngest on the team.â
Mace started out playing post-secondary football at Palomar Community College in California at the tender age of 17.
âIâve been playing against older guys in everything. Even in pickup basketball games when I was younger I played with older guys. I always try to put myself in position to play with the best competition and I really donât see it being an issue. Age is not a big deal to me.â
Mace, who stands a shade under 6-foot-3 and weighs about 295 pounds, admitted he still has growing to do physically.
âIâve got some weight to put on or lose or whatever,â he said. âItâs quite easy for me still because Iâm pretty young, but I definitely feel I have some growing to do.â
There have been suggestions among scouts that Mace may be selected first overall in the draft, which starts at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday and is available via webcast on CFL.ca and LCF.ca. At the very least he is tabbed as a sure first-round selection.
âIâm just sitting around, just being calm and hoping everything goes in my favour,â he said. âHopefully I go high. Iâm just really looking forward to getting on the field and doing something.â
Following his graduation from Port Moody, Mace evaluated his situation. He didnât feel he was ready for a Division One school and didnât fare well in the U.S. college standard admission test. He opted to go to Palomar in northern San Diego County to be near his father, who lives in the area. Palomar had a good reputation of developing players for Division One schools.
âIt was a match made in heaven,â Mace said. âI met a great coach and he helped me out. He pushed me and pushed me and pushed me and I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship offer.â
After two years at Palomar, he transferred to the University of Wyoming, which has offered scholarships to Palomar players because of their character and commitment to football. In addition, a member of the Palomar coaching staff attended Wyoming.
âHe gave us a heads-up what to expect,â Mace said.
At Wyoming, he had to adjust to the speed of play and the strength of the players.
âYou had to understand that everybody at that level was the best player at their high school or the best players at their junior college and everybody is out there to compete,â he said. âIâd say the level of competition and (everything) overall was something that you had to pick up.â
Last season, following a change in the defensive scheme from four down linemen and three linebackers to three down linemen and four linebackers, Mace moved from tackle to end in some situations. In passing downs he moved to nose tackle, in run-stopping situations he played end. He said it doesnât matter where heâs lined up.
âI really feel comfortable all the way through the line. As far as pass rushing, itâs probably better off in a four-three defence. Iâm a three-technique at defensive tackle, but I feel comfortable playing end in whatever scheme of defence that I land on. I think Iâm pretty versatile.â
Editor's Note: Interview was conducted before Mace signed with the NFL's Buffalo Bills.