March 12, 2024

Combine Ready: 3 things to know about Kaine Stevenson

Andrew Lahodynskyj/

It was all going exceedingly well for Kaine Stevenson on Friday at the University of Waterloo.

The Guelph Gryphons’ receiver played at his listed position and at running back at the CFL Invitational Combine and as the day got into its late stages, the five-foot-10, 207-pound, Windsor Ont. native was achieving separation on the field and in the eyes of the CFL personnel in attendance.

His name was already penciled in as one of the eight that would move on to Winnipeg next week for the CFL Combine presented by New Era (March 19-24). Then, in a late-day one-on-one against Regina defensive back Jackson Sombach (who also advanced to Winnipeg), Stevenson appeared to lose a step and went down in a heap.

CFL COMBINE presented by New EraCFL COMBINE presented by New Era
» Register to attend the 2024 CFL Combine
» Eight players advance following Invitational Combine
 Combine Ready: 4 things to know about Daniel Okpoko
» Invitational Combine Leaderboard: Top 5 from every drill

It was fortunately just a cramp, which proved to be the only thing that threatened to derail him at the Invitational. Stevenson was in great spirits at the end of the day, having heard his name called after a gruelling day of work.

“Honestly, it wasn’t too scary,” he said of the cramp. “I mean, I know I’m a tough guy, so I’m not worried about that stuff.”

Take some time to get to know Stevenson, who will look to continue to make good impressions at the CFL Combine in Winnipeg.

The numbers

Bench press: 15 reps
40-yard dash: 4.82 seconds
Vertical: 34 inches
Broad jump: 9’7 1/8″
3 cone: 7.62 seconds
Shuttle: 4.57 seconds

Putting it on the line

The Invitational Combine is just the first step for prospects that want to make their way to the big combine, then eventually hear their names called one more time at the CFL Draft on April 30.

The Invitational is a long, draining day on its own. On top of the physical challenges of having the bench press, vertical leap, speed drills and one-on-ones in a matter of hours, there’s the mental element of knowing that your football career can be on the line in that environment.

“It’s all about focus, right?” Stevenson said. “If you want it, you’ve got to put the work in. I know I put in a lot of work over these last few months since the season’s been done. I expected to be at this next stage, going to the national and I just hold myself to that standard.

“I expected to be here, obviously, but nothing’s ever given. So I had to go out here and it feels feels good to know all the work I put in and see it come full circle.”

Big team guy

The advantage of playing for a team that’s just 31 km away from the site of the Invitational is that it’s easy to have a good support network on hand. Stevenson was one of four Gryphons taking part in the combine, but they had a few other supporters on the sidelines on Friday, pushing them to keep making plays. Had it been the other way around, Stevenson would have been there too, pumping tires and doing anything he could to help from the sidelines.

That’s something that he’ll try to stress to teams when he meets with them next week in Winnipeg.

“I’m a ride or die for my teammates kind of guy,” he said. “I always have my teammates back and I just look to do everything I can to help my team win, regardless of what the team is.”

Stevenson is coming off of his most productive season as a Gryphon, having made 29 catches for 372 yards and three touchdowns in 2023. He’s shown his versatility in his time at Guelph, when he was used more as a running back in his rookie year in 2019. He had 81 carries for 379 yards that year, with three rushing touchdowns. He also has some punt return experience, with 17 total returns in 2021 and 2022 for 228 yards.

Shoutout to Mom 

Fittingly, on International Women’s Day, the first person that Stevenson pointed to as someone that helped get him here as a football player was his mom, Rachel.

“My mom is everything. My mother’s been through so much for me and you know, coming from a single-parent household, for the most part, it’s tough. She’s sacrificed a lot for me. I owe my mother everything,” he said.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!