More CFL eyes on more guys

Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

If it werenít for people such as Duane Forde and Mike Gough, some of Canadaís top gridiron prospects would go unnoticed.

Even in todayís world of social media and instant access, linemen on either side of scrimmage, skilled players or cover guys remain unknown, a gap folks such as Forde and Gough hope to address.

Their method is to stage the National Invitational Combine, a day-long event held at U of Tís bubble in downtown Toronto, located a deep pass from the CFLís three day-long evaluation camp that brings together the top draft prospects.

ďMy feeling is that there are legitimate prospects who fall through the cracks just because they donít get as much exposure,íí said Forde, a former player and current football analyst with TSN.

And heís right.

Every year, roughly 800 players are eligible for the CFL draft.

This year, the league has invited 59 players to it evaluation.

In Fordeís scouting model, he drew 90 players for the inaugural showcase, 120 last year and about 140 to Fridayís gathering, where all eight CFL teams attended, whether it was general managers, positional coaches, head coaches or scouts.

ďKids need more exposure and scouts need more of an opportunity to see them,íí added Forde.

Itís why such great people such as former CFLer and team executive Miles Gorrell was lending his expertise for the second time, serving as the offensive line coach.

Itís why another great guy such as Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins flew in to help his players assimilate to the pro-like atmosphere.

And for a prospect such as Kelly Branton, it was a chance to strut his stuff.

Branton played junior football, but never went to college.

He turned to power lifting and is Canadaís reigning champion, but heís intent on returning to his gridiron roots, a path that brought him to the U of T on Friday.

Forde and Gough have no sponsors but through U of T they didnít have to worry about providing equipment.


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