Six of the top 20 CFL Scouting Bureau Prospects are national and provincial alumni
By: Ameeta Vohra
2019 CFL Draft to take place Thursday May 2, 2019
With the CFL Draft hours away, six athletes who have previous represented their province and country are on the cusp of having their gridiron dreams come true.
Here are the six alumni who might hear their name called within the first round of the draft:
Mathieu Betts – DL (Montreal, QC)
This year’s top ranked CFL prospect signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears this past weekend.
At a Pro Day held in March, Betts racked up a 4.70 40 yard dash, 6.7 on the three cone, 4.28 shuttle, 29.5 inch vertical jump, 9’9 long jump and a bench press of 23 repetitions at 225 pounds.
Betts helped Canada claim a silver medal at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships which were held in Kuwait. Additionally, he won gold with Team Quebec at the 2011 Football Canada Cup held in Lethbridge, Alberta.
This contract is the culmination of a busy but successful season for the defensive lineman. Last November, he played a significant role in RSEQ team Laval Rouge et Or’s success during the 2018 season as the team was crowned Vanier Cup 54 champions. During his time with the team, he helped them win three Vanier Cups in four seasons.
This past January, Betts represented USPORTS at the 94th East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida and the Rouge et Or at the 2018 East-West Bowl.
Betts made history as the first player to win USPORTS; JP Metras Award as top lineman and to claim four major awards during his career (he was named USPORTS Rookie of the Year in 2015). He was only the second player to claim the same national honour (JP Metras Award) three consecutive times during his career. Moreover, Betts is a four-time USPORTS first team All-Canadian.
On the field, he is feared by opponents for his dominance, explosiveness and unique skills set. Betts dominated by leading the RSEQ in sacks by earning nine in six regular season games last fall as well as registering 14 tackles for a loss. After his four year career with the Rouge et Or, he now holds the RSEQ record for sacks with 35.5. Additionally, the defensive lineman racked up 74.5 tackles and registered 44.5 tackles for a loss.
Previous to the Rouge et Or, Betts suited up for CEGEP Division 1 team, Vieux-Montreal Spartiates, where he earned Defensive Player of the Year honours and was selected as an all-star. He played high school football for RSEQ Juvenile Division 1 team Notre Dame Cactus. Furthermore, he competed with the Lasalle Warriors.
Shane Richards – OL (Calgary, AB)
The second ranked prospect in the draft, Richards helped NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team Oklahoma State Cowboys win the Liberty Bowl this past December.
At a recent Pro Day, the lineman recorded a 27 inch vertical jump and a bench press of 22 repetitions at 225 pounds.
Richards helped Canada gain a silver medal at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships in Kuwait. In the gold medal game, Canada lost to rival United States.
Previous to the Cowboys, the offensive lineman competed with junior college (JUCO) team New Mexico Military Institute. Additionally, he suited up for the Crescent Heights Cowboys of the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association (CSHSAA) where he was selected as a league all-star three times and Calgary Colts.
Hergy Mayala – WR (Montreal, QC)
Mayala, the fifth overall ranked CFL prospect, recently capped off his career with NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team UCONN Huskies where he led in receptions the past two seasons. During his four year stint with the Huskies, the 6’1, 208-pound receiver racked up 1,352 yards on 113 receptions and 12 majors.
The athlete played high school football with New York team, Trinity-Pawling Pride where he enjoyed a successful final campaign in the 2015 season being selected as an ALL-NEPSAC wide receiver.
Before playing south of the border, Mayala competed with home teams North Shore Mustangs and North Shore Lions. Among the honours he received were Mustangs wide receiver MVP and Lions Linebacker MVP.
Three CFL teams attended UCONN’s Pro Day this past March to observe Mayala. At Pro Day, his testing results were 4.67 40-yard dash, 30 inch vertical, 4.25 shuttle, 7.10 on the three cone, a bench press of 15 repetitions at 225 pounds and six inch broad jump.
Drew Desjarlais – OL (Belle River, ON)
Recently accepting NFL rookie mini-camp invitations from both the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, Desjarlais comes into the 2019 CFL Draft as the seventh ranked prospect.
At the CFL National Combine in March, Desjarlais posted 5.19 40-yard dash, 30 inches on the vertical jump, 7.75 on the vertical jump, 4.57 shuttle, 9’1 on the broad jump and 25 repetitions at 225 pounds on bench press.
The 6’2, 307 pound offensive lineman from Belle River, Ontario won gold as a part of Canada’s Junior National Team at the 2016 IFAF World Junior Championship after the team defeated the United States in Harbin, China. He also represented the nation at the 2016 International Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
Desjarlais played his collegiate career with USPORTS team, Windsor Lancers. In 2018, he represented the team at the 2018 East-West Bowl.
Previous to the Lancers, the offensive lineman suited up for the Belle River Nobles of the Windsor and Essex County Secondary School Athletic Association (WECSSAA) and Essex Ravens of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL). During his time with the Nobles, he was selected as WECSSAA Lineman of the Year and a league all-star.
Samuel Thomassin – OL (Quebec City, QC)
The 6’6, 330-pound offensive lineman is the 12th ranked CFL prospect. At last month’s Pro Day, the offensive lineman put up the following test results: 5.70 40-yard dash, 7.91 on the three cone, 5.21 shuttle, 23.5 inches on the vertical jump, 7’9 on the broad jump and bench press of 20 repetitions at 225 pounds.
Thomassin was part of the Canadian team that claimed silver at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championship in Kuwait. Furthermore, he helped Quebec win gold at the 2013 Football Canada Cup which was held in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Most recently, the offensive lineman helped USPORTS team Laval Rouge et Or win three Vanier Cups. Last fall, Thomassin was named a USPORTS first team All-Canadian and in 2017 he was selected as a second-team All-Canadian. Moreover, he is a three-time RSEQ All-Star (2016, 2017, and 2018).
In 2018, he represented the Rouge et Or at the 2018 East-West Bowl.
Previous to the Rouge et Or, Thomassin suited up for CEGEP Division 3 team, Outaouais Griffons.
Jesse Gibbon – OL (Hamilton, ON)
The 6’5, 300-pound offensive lineman is the 14th ranked prospect in the CFL Draft.
At the CFL National Combine in March, Gibbon posted 5.18 40-yard dash, 4.75 shuttle, 7.85 on the three-cone, 9.15’ on the broad jump and 26 repetitions at 225 pounds on the bench press.
Gibbon helped Canada win gold at the 2016 IFAF World Junior Championships in Harbin, China.
This past fall, Gibbon was selected as a USPORTS second-team All-Canadian and OUA first-team All-Star for his exceptional play with the Waterloo Warriors. During his time there, he has earned an on-field reputation for being an athletically smart and strong athlete.
Last year, the offensive lineman represented the Warriors at the East-West Bowl.
Previous to the Warriors, Gibbon played for the Sherwood Saints of the Hamilton-Wentworth Intercollegiate Athletic Association (HWIAA).