March 25, 2024

MMQB: 5 potential 2024 sophomore standouts

Arthur Ward/

With recent weeks focused on the CFL Combine presented by New Era and the future stars of the CFL, we’re continuing that theme with this week’s MMQB.

With the 2024 CFL Draft around the corner, we’ve identified a handful of second-year players poised to become household names before the end of their sophomore seasons. The list includes a few high picks and combine standouts from last year’s draft class.

It’s also important to note the omission of players like Qwan’tez Stiggers (Toronto) and Reggie Stubblefield (Montreal) who already had their “breakout” seasons as rookies in 2023.

» Hall: Chris Jones, Jason Shivers reunite in Edmonton
» We Asked: What should the Elks do with the No. 1 pick?
» CFL Combine Results: Nationals | Globals


Lake Korte-Moore | defensive line | Saskatchewan Roughriders

Prior to being selected third overall by the Riders at last year’s Draft, Korte-Moore showed well at the 2023 CFL Combine with solid results across the board. Korte-Moore’s testing scores compared well with other defensive lineman, but it was during padded reps where his pass-rushing dominance really stood out.

That theme continued into Korte-Moore’s rookie season. The UBC product dressed in all 18 of Saskatchewan’s regular season games, recording 13 defensive tackles and his first professional sack in the process. That sack came in Week 9 against Ottawa when Korte-Moore also registered a career best four tackles.

At six-foot-four, 262 pounds and still just 24 years old, Korte-Moore hasn’t come close to scraping his CFL ceiling. With defensive end Pete Robertson leaving for BC in free agency, Korte-Moore should see even more high leverage playing time in 2024.

Dontae Bull | offensive line | Ottawa REDBLACKS

It feels like last year’s No. 1 overall pick is ready to arrive. 2023 was full of ups and downs for Bull, whom the REDBLACKS took to open the 2023 CFL Draft after four years at Fresno State. Fortunately, those ups came in the second half of last season, which sets the stage for an exciting sophomore campaign.

After his college career was cut short thanks to a broken leg sustained in October 2022, Bull had to grind through a difficult recovery and then had to bide his time for an opportunity. That chance came in Week 11 when Bull made his first start for the REDBLACKS. From that point forward, Bull started seven of Ottawa’s last nine games at right tackle.

With solid playing time down the stretch, I’m curious to see what a healthy Bull can do come training camp in May.

Anthony Bennett | defensive line | Winnipeg Blue Bombers

At last year’s combine, it was Bennett setting the testing pace for defensive linemen. Bennett led all players at his position in the 40-yard dash, three-cone and shuttle before being selected in the first round, eighth overall, by Winnipeg. That translated to a decent rookie role with the West Division champion Bombers and the potential for much more in Year 2.

2023 saw Bennett dress in all 18 regular season games for Winnipeg, recording eight defensive tackles and three more on special teams. And much like Korte-Moore’s situation in Sask, the Bombers have a brand-new vacancy at defensive end. After six CFL seasons, two-time Grey Cup champ Jackson Jeffcoat announced his retirement earlier in the off-season.

We’ll see if Bennett can work himself even more into the mix starting at training camp.


Kai Gray | defensive back | Edmonton Elks

Playing for an Elks team that struggled for much of 2023, Gray’s rookie season in Green and Gold flew under the radar for some. In reality, Gray was one of the league’s standout first-year players and earned Edmonton’s Most Outstanding Rookie team nomination with 54 defensive tackles, two interceptions and one touchdown in 18 starts.

After coming out of nowhere to earn a spot at field corner at training camp, the Elks moved Gray to boundary corner in Week 16. Gray finished his rookie season starting games in the boundary slot, the most challenging position in a CFL defensive backfield. If Edmonton has the turnaround it’s looking for in 2024, Gray will be a big reason why.

Kabion Ento | defensive back | Montreal Alouettes

It’s hard to believe Ento started last season on Montreal’s practice roster. But it didn’t take long for the Als to change that, as Ento moved into a starting role for the team’s second game of the season. In the end, Ento started 15 regular season games at both boundary and field corner recording 48 defensive tackles, three interceptions and one touchdown in the process.

Oh, and he just happened to make a pair of key defensive plays in the 110th Grey Cup: a second quarter forced fumble and a third quarter interception in the end zone.

With fellow defensive backs Stubblefield, Wes Sutton, Dionte Ruffin, and Marc-Antoine Dequoy all under contract, the defending champs enter the 2024 season with a stacked defensive backfield. I feel like we’ll be talking a whole lot more about Ento in the East Divison All-Star conversation going forward.

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