Offensive lineman Senior remains atop CFL Scouting Bureau’s top-20 list

Senior still tops CFL top-20 prospects list

TORONTO — Johnny Augustine’s pro stock is on the rise.

On Thursday, the Guelph Gryphons running back cracked the CFL scouting bureau’s final top-20 prospects list leading up to the May 7 draft. After being bypassed in previous listings, the five-foot-eight, 202-pound Augustine earned the No. 17 spot after a solid showing at last month’s combine in Regina.

Following that performance, Augustine boldy declared he was the top running back in the draft and a future CFL starter. He wasn’t moving off those proclamations Thursday.

“That’s my mentality,” he said during a conference call. “It’s one thing to make it to the CFL and make a roster but my goal at the end of the day is to be a starting running back.

“I want to do great things . . . my dream is to leave my mark in the professional ranks. This was the first step and the next step, obviously, is getting my spot on whatever team is willing to take me and competing and fighting for the No. 1 spot.”

Last season, Augustine ran for 563 yards on 108 carries (5.2-yard average) with three TDs while adding seven catches for 55 yards. He tested well in Regina — 22 reps in the bench, 4.77-second 40-yard dash, 30.5-inch vertical — but really shined in the one-on-one drills, impressing as a runner, receiver and blocker.

“I just didn’t show one thing,” he said. “In today’s game as a running back you’ve got to be successful in doing a lot of things in a lot of areas.

“I think that’s what I did to impress all the general managers.”

Augustine wasn’t the only player to rise.

Ottawa’s Eli Ankou, a defensive lineman from UCLA, moved up one spot to No. 2 while Winnipeg’s Geoff Gray, an offensive lineman at Manitoba, jumped two positions to No. 3.

McMaster receiver Danny Vandervoort of Barrie, Ont., is at No. 4 â€” up three positions â€” while Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie of Brampton, Ont., vaulted six spots to No. 5.

Montreal’s Justin Senior, an offensive lineman from Mississippi State, remained the top prospect. It’s position he’s held since the first list was released in September.

Rounding out the top-10 in order were Maine linebacker Christophe Mulumba of Montreal (from No. 8); Laval tight end Antony Auclair of Notre Dame des Pins, Que., (down from No. 2); Idaho offensive lineman Mason Woods of Port Coquitlam, B.C., (from No. 10); Carleton receiver Nathaniel Behar of London, Ont., (from No. 12); and Bethune-Cookman offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek (from No. 15).

The six-foot-one, 203-pound  Vandervoort had 34 catches for 631 yards and five TDs last year. Over four seasons at McMaster, he registered 148 receptions and 2,572 yards and 29 touchdowns, the latter being the third-most in U Sports football history.

But Canadian university football’s top rookie in 2013 felt his performance in the one-on-one drills in Regina helped boost his draft stock.

“I think the combine helped me immensely,” he said. “I think I showed the scouts I’m a good player and can test well.

“The one-on-ones helped separate me from the other receivers in the draft. It’s really exciting to see my name in the top five.”

And like Augustine, Vandervoot has eyes on becoming a CFL starter.

“You always want to be the best at your position so this is a huge step for me being a starter,” he said. “Hopefully one day I’ll be able to reach that.”

The path to pro football has been a long one for Bladek, a New Jersey native who skipped his senior season at Bethune-Cookman for the 2016 NFL draft. After not being selected, the six-foot-four, 299-pound Bladek began the process of becoming a dual citizen as his mother is Canadian.

But the paperwork wasn’t completed in time for either the 2016 CFL draft or supplemental draft, forcing Bladek to put his pro aspirations on hold.

“The process was long, stressful . . . I didn’t expect to have to wait the whole year,” he said. “It’s always risky being out of football that long and for me it was a risk that was unknown.

“But I trusted my gut, I trusted the people who advised me.”

Participating at the national combine marked Bladek’s first-ever visit to Canada.

“My first experience in Canada was amazing, I had a great time,” he said. “Being a professional, that’s an everyday thing.

“I’m excited to get that started and I think May 7 is really the start of that for all of us.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Whalers stop Saints from marching ahead in OT

Ballenas junior varsity to face Vernon Panthers in the finals at BC Place Dec. 2

Flood risks downgraded in the RDN

Effective immediately, the Regional District of Nanaimo is deactivating it’s Level 1… Continue reading

Qualicum Beach councillor wants First Nations to be recognized

Barry Avis wants to acknowledge traditional land before town meetings

VIDEO: Parksville Qualicum Beach firefighters come up big in annual food drive

Thousands of pounds of food donations gathered for food bank

Qualicum Beach age restriction bylaw sent back to staff for changes

Legal non-conforming status could effect property values, councillor says

Parksville gift shop turned into gingerbread house

Resort buys hundreds of pounds of gingerbread, icing and candy

Vehicle found, woman still missing, last seen in Parksville

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

SOS, Tigh-Na-Mara team to put toys under trees in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Ninth annual toy drive part of 50th SOS Christmas program

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

15 arrested as Duncan police raid yields drugs, stolen property

Arrests made, drugs and stolen property seized

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

Mounties dismantle counterfeiters ring with raid in Maple Bay Thursday

Counterfeiting paraphernalia found along with firearms, stolen property as police swept in Nov. 23

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Most Read