Last Monday, six Clan football graduates headed to Edmonton to participate in the CFL regional combine. The players hoped to receive an invitation to the national combine the following weekend, where two SFU football players — wide receiver Lemar Durant and defensive back Matt Isherwood — were directly invited.
Unlike last year, where both players invited from SFU received an invite to the national combine, none of the six — running back/defensive back Chris Tolbert, wide receiver Bobby Pospischil, wide receiver Kyle Kawamoto, defensive lineman Kristian Lawrence, running back Cole Tudor, and wide receiver Bibake Uppal — received an invitation.
The six players were tested with six drills: bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, short shuttle, 40-yard dash, and the three-cone drill.
The Clan alumni did particularly well at the three-cone drill, with Pospischil and Uppal claiming first and second overall times respectively. Five of the six players finished in under eight seconds.
“I felt I performed well at the vertical jump; my broad wasn’t as good as I would’ve liked it to have been, but I still performed decent at that, my three-cone drill was second best at the combine so I felt pretty confident about that, especially at my height,” Uppal told The Peak in a phone interview.
However, the 40-yard dash was a point of struggle for much of the Clan delegation, according to Uppal.
“I think everyone was in the same boat as me, they felt like they should have performed better for the most part,” he said. “[It] seemed like most of the people at the combine were pretty disappointed at what they ran. [. . .] There were a couple of guys who ran pretty fast, but for the most part, it seemed like everyone ran a little slower than they would have liked to.”
Kawamoto also achieved the second overall score for the short shuttle drill.
TSN’s Duane Forde, who had listed Pospischil and Uppal as athletes to watch, wrote, “[Pospischil] tested well and got open during one-on-ones, but had a rare bad day catching the football. With his smaller stature already working against him in the scouts’ eyes, he needed to be almost perfect.”
For the athletes, not being invited to the national combine is certainly disappointing, and makes the path to being drafted in the CFL tougher. But Uppal is still optimistic about his future.
“A couple of coaches spoke to me after the combine, and said they were looking at me, so I’ve got to just stay at it, keep training, work on the things I feel I didn’t perform well in; and the ones I did perform well in, I need to work on those as well,” he said.
He noted that the event gave him a glimpse of what he needed to do to be drafted by a CFL team.
“Being in that atmosphere testing is not the same as when you’re at home working on those numbers, [when] you’re more comfortable. [It’s] a little bit more pressure, you don’t get very many attempts at certain things, so you’ve got to make sure you’re consistently doing well,” he said.
“They say this is one of the deepest drafts in years, so it’s helpful to see the guys I’m going to be going up against in the draft, and certain things they’re good at that I need to improve at. It’s always good to learn off other people’s games.”