March 31, 2024

Katsantonis paving the way for future UBC stars

TORONTO — Stavros Katsantonis has been there done that when it comes to the CFL Combine presented by New Era.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back was part of the 2019 CFL Combine and left a good enough mark that eventually landed him in the fourth round (36th overall) of the 2020 CFL Draft.

The veteran now has three CFL seasons under his belt, giving him enough experience to watch this new wave of prospects in the 2024 CFL Combine as they prepare to follow the same path as Katsantonis.

“I know I got compared to Jackson Sombach out of University of Regina,” said Katsantonis in an interview with Donnovan Bennett in this week’s edition of The Waggle Podcast. “Hopefully he grows out his moustache and that can help him get into the first round,” added the defender jokingly.

“Seeing some of the defensive backs out there. (Benjamin) Labrosse, super fast 40-yard dash, looking great as a corner.”

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Katsantonis had a breakout year in Hamilton in 2023, totalling 54 defensive tackles, two sacks and five interceptions as a ball-hawking defensive back for the Tabbies.

The National defender knows that sometimes you just need an opportunity to show you deserve a spot in the league.

“I know one of the big stories (of the CFL Combine) has been the quarterback, (Jack) Zergiotis, being the only QB throwing all the reps,” said Katsantonis. “That was a pretty cool thing, could’ve easily just said ‘I’m not going to take every single rep’ but did everything he could and it looked like he put on a great show out there.”

Katsantonis went to the University of British Columbia, a school that has had players like himself and BC Lions’ linebacker Ben Hladik impress after making the jump to the pros.


The Ticats defensive back is now focused on the new crop of talented Thunderbirds coming out.

“My sleeper pick right now is gonna have to be (linebacker/defensive back) Ryan Baker,” said the former Thunderbird. “He’s a dog out there. Originally played quarterback my final year at UBC, made the switch to kind of the defensive back/linebacker position. Hard hitter guy that will come down and hit you when he needs to and can also get into coverage.

“There are also the other defensive backs out there,” added Katsantonis. “Max Kennedy, guy who wasn’t at the CFL Combine, but a guy that can make some plays back there in the back end.”

A name that impressed everyone in Winnipeg – earning a nomination for Coaches’ Star on Friday of the CFL Combine – was UBC defensive back Jerrell Cummings and that didn’t go unnoticed by his fellow alumni.

“Then obviously Jerrell Cummings,” said the Ticats defensive back. “You saw him this past week do his thing in the testing and show that on the field as well.

“I always have to support my guys from UBC, (head coach Blake) Nill runs a great program out there and I think any of those guys will have great futures in this league.”

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