The two-day CFL national combine came to an end on Sunday, March 29 with two prospects from SFU football vying for a spot on one of the nine CFL teams across Canada.
Wide receiver Lemar Durant (Coquitlam, BC) and defensive back Matt Isherwood (Abbotsford, BC) were invited to the national combine in Toronto, ON over the weekend, participating in various drills including the bench press, 40-yard dash, and vertical jump.
Leading all receivers, Durant made a name for himself as a top three receiver with 26 reps on the bench press, placing first among receivers and tying for sixth overall.
His rep score was three better than wide receiver and combine leader Sammie Coates’.
He also finished fourth overall in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.55 seconds, once again leading all other receivers. Adding to his impressive showing at the combine, Durant earned a fourth-place overall finish in the vertical jump with a leap of 36 inches.
Durant’s draft stock has steadily risen and has culminated this weekend with his strong overall performance, and all nine teams took notice.
“The work that I put in the offseason, training for all aspects of my game, strength, speed, agility, and endurance are attributed to my work ethic,” said Durant. “I feel that I have a lot of knowledge of the game and can find ways to get open.”
In the eight games Durant played this season, he registered 55 catches, amounting to 685 receiving yards and four touchdowns. His combination of size, speed, and strength make Durant an appealing prospect.
Matt Isherwood had his work cut out for him, competing against a particularly strong field of defensive backs that included Chris Ackie and Tevaughn Campbell. But for Isherwood, it was a chance to prove himself.
“It was a good experience and it helped to prove to myself that I can play with the top players in the country,” he commented.
Isherwood made a total of 62 tackles and catching three interceptions during the 2014 season.
Coming off a minor back injury, Isherwood displayed his skill and determination in the one-on-one drills, catching the attention of the BC Lions, Hamilton Tiger Cats, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Ottawa Redblacks, and the Toronto Argonauts, all of whom he earned interviews with.
So what’s next for these athletes? For both Durant and Isherwood, it’s only a matter of time until the May 12 CFL draft date arrives.
“I’m going to try [to] do a pro-day at SFU in the next couple weeks, and then it’s just training and waiting for the draft,” said Isherwood.
The SFU pro-day — where scouts from various professional teams come to SFU to look at Clan football prospects — is slated to take place early in April, and is the next opportunity for Durant and Isherwood to convince scouts to draft them.