Two former Ballenas Secondary grads are gearing up for another season on the gridiron in the CFL, thanks to the CFLPA voting yes to a new deal with the league.
Justin Sorenson of the Edmonton Eskimos and Carson Rockhill of the Hamilton Tiger Cats say they have been working hard through their offseason and preseason training camps and will now look to make a lasting impression before the CFL season officially kicks off June 26.
For Rockhill, the chance to play in the CFL is still within reach as he enters his second season with the Tiger Cats. Rockhill went in the 2012, second round (13th overall), to the Tiger Cats. Instead of making the jump to the CFL, Rockhill went back for his final year of eligibility at the University of Calgary.
The 2013 season saw Rockhill traded to the Eskimos, only to be released in June of 2013 and re-signed with the Tiger Cats as a free agent the following month. Rockhill spent the 2013 season on the Tiger Cats practice roster and the team re-signed him for the 2014 season.
“He’s a really good developmental lineman that has a great future. He’s very athletic, he’s getting stronger,” said Tiger Cats head coach Kent Austin.
As for Sorenson, the 28-year-old is heading in to his fifth season in the CFL. After being drafted by the B.C. Lions in 2008 (fifth overall), Sorenson has since spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for three seasons and signed as a free agent with the Eskimos for the 2014 season.
It’s something the former Whaler is excited about, especially after his family moved to Red Deer when he took off to South Carolina for his college career.
“Every time I would come and play in Edmonton or Calgary, I would have 15 or 20 friends and family members in the stands watching,” Sorenson said about getting the chance to play in front of family.
“It’s going to be something special when I run through that tunnel and they’ll be able to cheer for the home team for a change.”
Starting the last two seasons as a centre for the Blue Bombers, Sorenson has really come in to his own on the offensive line after spending time in his first two seasons with the Lions as an offensive guard and offensive tackle. Going to a new team is a bit of an adjustment but Sorenson is looking forward to the challenge.
“I have to be ready to play the position the coaching staff needs me in and I’m ready to earn a spot,” Sorenson said.
“I can only control what I can do, but I’ve always tried to encourage my teammates to push each other down a path to winning football games. Every player on this team should be motivated to help this team become better.”
Rockhill and the Tiger Cats kick off the regular season in Saskatchewan on June 29 while Sorenson and the Eskimos travel to B.C. to take on the Lions on June 28.