Eight seniors from the Clan football team were invited to the CFL combines, SFU Football announced via a tweet January 13, where they will get the chance to prove themselves worthy of becoming a draft pick in the 2015 CFL Draft or being picked up as a free agent.
The players invited were wide receiver Lemar Durant, running back/defensive back Chris Tolbert, wide receiver Bobby Pospischil, defensive back Matt Isherwood, wide receiver Kyle Kawamoto, defensive lineman Kristian Lawrence, running back Cole Tudor, and wide receiver Bibake Uppal.
Of the eight, two — Durant and Isherwood — were directly invited to the national combine, hosted in Toronto, ON between March 27–29, where they will be gunning for the attention of CFL teams scouting staffs.
The other six players will instead head to Edmonton, AB on March 23, where the regional combine will be hosted. Here, they will have to make an impression to qualify for the national combine.
Tolbert, one of the players headed to Edmonton this year, knows his work will be cut out for him. Having spoken with some Clan graduates who have gone through the process, he has an idea of what it will take to make the CFL.
“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “I’m working every day, seven days a week. You get only one opportunity and you have to make the most of it.”
However, Tolbert faces a unique challenge, being American. This makes him ineligible for the actual CFL draft; teams that are interested in him will instead have to sign him as a free agent. The fact that he was invited to the combine at all is, according to him, a “rare occurrence.”
However, for now, his focus is on preparing for the combine. Though initially recruited as a defensive back, Tolbert played the running back position for much of his college career. At the combine, he will once again try to prove himself as a defensive back.
Last year, three SFU football players were invited to the national combine, while two — Dylan Roper and Tore Corrado — were invited to regionals. Roper and Corrado managed to make an impression, and were subsequently invited to the national combine.
All five Clan players invited last year were eventually drafted by a CFL team. However, only the three who were initially invited to the national combine — Matthias Goossen, Casey Chin, and Derek Jones — made the cut for their respective teams.
Tolbert and his seven teammates — including Durant, who has also declared for the NFL draft, and if picked in the NFL would be the first SFU alumnus to make it — are all working towards their dream of a pro career. Should last year be any indication, they’ve got a good shot.