Northern Illinois Athletics
Each year when CFL Combine rosters are revealed and we discover who has embraced their opportunity to indulge CFL evaluators in one of the most unique job interviews on the planet, there are names that jump out.
For myself, a close follower and alumni of the Canadian University game, most of these names hail from U SPORTS. From Western Mustangs standout running back Keon Edwards to Mount Allison defensive lineman Reece Martin or Alberta defensive back Jacob Taylor to Montreal linebacker Michael Brodrique and many more in between, these are the names I notice right away.
CFL COMBINE presented by New Era
» View The Roster: 2023 CFL Combine participants
» Cauz: Imagining pitting prospects against CFL stars
» How March testing led to Nov. celebrations for the Argos
» O’Leary: SMU shines at Invitational Combine
After getting excited about these ‘local’ names, many of whom I was fortunate to watch closely during East-West Bowl preparations last spring, comes the NCAA contingent. Canadian players end up down south for any plethora of reasons, but they always add a level of intrigue to the CFL Combine.
A level of pride comes with wearing your helmet and defending your school’s shield in a showcase of the best available CFL prospects. Iconic rivalries play out with each rep between Queen’s and Western, St.FX and Saint Mary’s, Laval and Montreal, and Calgary and UBC.
Then all of a sudden there’s a helmet with a foreign paint scheme and logo that comes up in line. There’s an unspoken thought that runs through every U SPORTS player’s mind: Did the guy across from me go south because he’s better than me, or is he just like me in differing colours? Then the ball is snapped and all that is forgotten as natural instincts kick in.
Some players like to do YouTube research on their combine opponents ahead of travelling to the circus. If they do, this year will have plenty of fun footage to view on these five CFL Combine attendees from the NCAA.
Quintin Seguin | Defensive Line | Charleston Southern
At a listed six-foot-four and 274 pounds, Seguin reminds me of former Ticats 38th overall pick from Fordham of The Patriot League, Justin Vaughn, for more than just his hair. Last season, Seguin had 28 total tackles and a sack after playing in every game for North Dakota over three seasons.
You know what they say, the best ability is availability and Seguin showed he has sustainability to boot. Will the combine push him over the top of U SPORTS competitors?
Thomas Bertrand-Hudon | Running Back | Delaware State
At six-foot and 220 pounds, Bertrand-Hudon has a pro style back’s body, but how will he test? Typically, running backs are not top of the draft and require a meshing of fit and profile to go high. With that being said, look no further than Bryant University’s Daniel Adeboboye, as last spring he was taken early in the second round by his hometown Argos and became a special teams standout for the reigning Grey Cup champions.
Bertrand-Hudon is a Mont Saint-Hilaire native and Champlain Lennoxville CEGEP alum. Could there be a fit in the crowded Alouettes backfield of William Stanback, Walter Fletcher and Jeshrun Antwi? Time will tell.
Edouard Paradis | Offensive Line | Houston Baptist
With many teams prioritizing blockers in the draft, especially this year for lineman-needy teams near the top, Paradis could raise his draft stock with a solid showing in Edmonton.
Cole Tucker | Receiver | Northern Illinois
A late addition to the CFL Draft class of 2023, Tucker had a productive five year career in DeKalb, Illinois where both his parents attended. Tucker peaked as his college career came to a close with 45 catches for 632 yards and four touchdowns in his final season.
Tucker had one more touchdown than the previous season in each of his five years as a Huskies pass-catcher and could follow a profile similar to Bombers wide side receiver Drew Wolitarsky when it’s all said and done.
Francis Bemiy | Defensive Line | Southern Utah
The Montreal native played in all 11 games for the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in each of the last two seasons racking up 74 total tackles, 25 of which were for loss. He added at least three sacks each of the last three seasons. If the six-foot-four, 270-pound Bemiy moves well at the CFL Combine we could be looking at a top end pick.