Marsh’s 3 Stars: DBs catch attention on testing day

EDMONTON — With the testing complete at the CFL Combine presented by New Era,’s Marshall Ferguson saw something interesting happening.

Even the most knowledgeable and experienced football minds can sometimes get a little too caught up with what’s immediately in front of them. Testing is an important part of the evaluation process, Ferguson said, but in talking with a few coaches and scouts at Commonwealth Stadium on Thursday, it seemed they had hung some perhaps unfair expectations on a player when he got a stopwatch placed in front of him.

We’ll get to that with our second star, but for the sake of order and consistency, we’ll go with Ferguson’s top performer(s) on Thursday.

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1. A trio of defensive backs 

Bishop’s DB Jake Kelly set himself up for a strong week by showing off his athleticism (Christian Bender/

Ferguson struggled to pick just one star athlete that stood above the rest, so he got creative.

The CFL Draft guru was most impressed by the testing work done by defensive backs Jake Kelly of Bishop’s, Alberta’s Jacob Taylor and Saskatchewan’s Charlie Ringland.

“It’s a bit of a toss up. The defensive back group, I think is really, really athletic, which I kind of expected going in but watching them in person was pretty unique. Jake Kelly, Jacob Taylor, and Charlie Ringland, for me are all just testing freaks.” Ferguson said.

“It’s honestly hard to pick between them. Their numbers are all very similar. They’re all very similar body types. They’re long and skinny and bouncy.”

2. Clark Barnes | WR, Guelph

Barnes finished second in the 40-yard dash, showing a speed that should help him the rest of the week at the Combine (Jason Franson/

Here we find the player that Ferguson felt may have been judged a little too harshly by a handful of teams. Barnes’ second-place finish in the 40-yard dash was a highlight of the day, but Ferguson wondered if it should have been appreciated more.

“His game film I think probably set the standard so high for what we thought his testing numbers would be,” he said. “I talked to a couple of coaches that said, ‘He didn’t test as well as we thought.’ He still tested really, really well.

“The expectation from his game film may have hurt the perception of his day but I thought he had a really, really good day.”

3. Phillip Grohovac | OL, Western

Grohovac’s showing in the bench press should be the start to the week that the Western o-lineman was hoping for (Christian Bender/

“With everything being a premium on offensive linemen, without putting pads on yet, just in the first day I would say Grohovac winning the bench press (amongst Nationals) with 26 reps will mean something significant,” Ferguson said.

“Big picture, the one who looks the most in place, that looks like somebody that would go in the first round for o-linemen right now feels like Grohovac.”

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