CIS National Bowl Games Preview | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
 
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Canadian university football’s Fab Four, Acadia, Laval, McMaster and Calgary made history last week, as each school won their respective conference championship games, all advancing to the CIS Semi-Finals for the second consecutive year.

Never have the same four schools made it to the National Bowl Games in back-to-back seasons. However, the locations and matchups between the Fab Four is different this time around.

Laval will host Acadia in the Uteck Bowl at 1pm on TSN and RDS, while Calgary will travel East to Calgary in part two of the CIS double-header for the Mitchell Bowl at 4 pm on TSN. All four teams will be looking to punch their ticket to play in the 48th Vanier Cup.

Many eyeballs around the country will be tuning in to see which schools make it, and ultimately claim the Vanier Cup trophy, including scouts around the Canadian Football League. Player personnel evaluators will be watching closely, looking at intriguing pro prospects for the 2013 CFL draft and possible free agent pick ups.   

“When you want to evaluate kids, you want to watch them play against the best,” one CFL scout said. “You’ll watch a couple regular season games and you want to see them be dominant in those games, but you always want to watch them play against the best opponent possible, and see if they stand out in those games.”

“You won’t write kids off if they don’t have a great game against the best opponents, but you sure would like the guys you’re looking at to be dominant in the big games, against high competition.”

If you want to know who the scouts will be watching closely during the biggest games of the CIS football schedule, you’ve come to the right place. The final four teams have many pro prospects and scouts from the league have shared the athletes they will be keeping close tabs on, as the road to crowning a Vanier Cup champion continues.

Acadia

Axemen receivers Taylor Renaud and Mike Squires:

“Acadia’s best kids have been through the draft, they have two real good receivers, Taylor Renaud and Mike Squires.”

“Those two guys have been through the draft, but if you’re looking at just pro prospects, not necessarily draft eligible pro prospects, those are the two guys for Acadia. Both are deserving of free agent looks.”

“You’re seeing that more often now too, teams are doing a better job of scouting fifth year guys and giving them opportunities.”

Renaud:

“Deserving of a look for sure. He runs well, pretty explosive. He’s been really productive this year.”

Squires:

“He’s not the fastest kid, but he plays faster. Really good hands, strong kid, really physical and tough when he’s out there on the field.”

Axemen defensive back Cameron Wade:

“That’s a name to pay attention too.”

“A longer defensive back that’s athletic. Very smart football player and very physical as well.”

Axemen defensive back Alex Graham:

“Similar looking to [teammate Cameron] Wade. Pretty physical kid, he’ll knock people out. You like his physicality and he looks the part.”

Laval

Rouge et Or receiver Guillaume Rioux:

“Little jitterbug guy. He’s a very good football player. Good returner. Rioux puts up the best stats.”

“Not the biggest guy, but pretty quick. Runs good routes, has good hands. Tough kid for a small guy and real competitive.”

Rouge et Or receiver Yannick Morin-Plante:

“Most physically good looking receiver - ran the best 40 at the East West Bowl and was the best tester.”

“He’s made a number of plays, he can run. Runs pretty good routes, does a good job on special teams.”

Rouge et Or receiver Seydou Junior Haidara:

“The one I really liked, out of the Laval receivers, was Haidara. That’s the kid I liked the best that translates to the pro game. Especially after the success that Patrick Lavoie had this year, everybody is looking for those hybrid, fullback, H-back, split-you-out-as-a-receiver kind of guy.”

“He may be the most CFL-ready of the Laval receivers, with the smallest amount of fan fare. He’s physically ready to play in the CFL.”

“Haidara is big and strong, looks the part, big tall kid. He’s been standing out on special teams for his whole career at Laval. Runs good routes. The only thing that has been a negative on him is he’s dropped the football here and there.”

McMaster

Marauders quarterback Kyle Quinlan:

“I think he could help himself by throwing the ball well and show all the things he showed last year in McMaster’s run to the Vanier, again. Just so he’s not an afterthought now after going through the draft and going to a [CFL] camp.”

“Needs to get his name back out there and let everyone see what he can do again. Quinlan has improved, his decision-making is better, his arm strength has improved and he’s looking to throw always and maybe not looking to run first – definitely improved.”

“These last couple of games are important to him. With some development he could be a quarterback. He might have enough athletic ability to play a different position too.”

Marauders receiver Mike DiCroce:

“Has some savvy tricks to get open, has been very well coached. He’s got excellent hands, good after the catch, strong on his feet. He can really go up and attack the football. He’s not the tallest guy, but he can play bigger.”

“I’m not sold on him just yet. You’d like to see him being dominant, making every possible catch he can make and separating. But he’s just a gamer. When he plays he is really productive.”  

Marauders offensive lineman Matt Sewell:

“Obviously a guy to pay attention too.”

“Matt, and it’s no fault of his, is not tested all the time.”

Marauders defensive lineman Ben D’Aguilar:

“He reminds me of [Ricky] Foley. His testing numbers were very impressive. If you’re looking at potentially a non-import guy who can rush the passer, this might be a guy.”

“Everybody likes to have a non-import guy that can rotate in and rush the passer. I’m sure he’ll be a hell of a special teams player. You’d like to see him do well against Calgary’s high quality tackles.”

Calgary

Dinos running back Steven Lumbala:

“Lumbala is a dynamite running back. He’s a good tough, hard-nosed runner. He just doesn’t have that 4.5 40 speed like a Jon Cornish has. He’s a good, good, good CIS running back.”

“He’ll get drafted and he’ll get an opportunity and I guarantee whatever team drafts him he’ll look good and play solid special teams and be a solid running back when given the chance.”

Dinos receiver Chris Dobko:

“Big playmaker - he makes some big plays, big strong kid and looks the part.”

“Big kid, has a good frame, catches everything and knows how to get open. Even when he’s covered he’ll make the big catch. Always has been really productive. Knows how to move the chains.”

Dinos defensive lineman Lindon Gaydosh:

“Gaydosh trimming down will allow him to possibly provide a pass rush from an interior spot, that’ll make him pretty special. He carries his weight fine.”

“Big and strong, powerful, very nimble and light on his feet. Takes up a lot of space. He’s slippery and good at rushing the passer. Smart out there, he knows how to read blocks and what’s going on.”

Dinos linebacker Mike Edem:

“He’s having a really good year, and you hear his name a lot. That kid kind of came out of nowhere.”

“He’s extremely athletic. Moves extremely well, they ask him to do a number of different things. Physical kid, excellent blitzer off the edge, bends the corner really well. When he gets to the ball he hits hard.”

“He came in as a DB like Sam Hurl did and got a little bit bigger and now he’s rushing the passer and playing everywhere. He seems like a playmaker. He’s always around the ball all the time. Translates to the CFL as an edge rusher and linebacker type.”

 



About Justin
Justin Dunk is a former CIS quarterback who played for the University of Guelph Gryphons and his passion for football will always run deep. He is a former Ticats.ca staff writer and currently works at Sportsnet. Follow Justin on twitter @JDunk12.
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