Homegrown honour for Cornish

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:48 AM ET

CALGARY - Nobody was disputing Jon Cornish’s top billing.

But for the rest of the Calgary Stampeders’ Canadian contingent, something about TSN’s ranking of the CFL’s top non-import players didn’t seem quite right.

Duane Forde, a former Stamps fullback and now an analyst for the network, had the crew at McMahon Stadium pegged as the second-best bunch of Canadians in the league, behind the two-time reigning Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes.

“We want to be the best. Second is a pat on the back, but it’s not where we want to be,” said Stamps fullback Rob Cote. “I think everybody, including myself, I want to be on that list, so we’ve got to keep working to get there.”

As part of Monday’s feature, Forde ranked the CFL’s top homegrown talents — with Cornish topping his list — and also analysed the non-import depth by team.

Led by middle linebacker Shea Emery and offensive tackle Josh Bourke, Forde selected the Alouettes as having the CFL’s finest collection of Canuck talent. The Stamps settled for second, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders were sitting third, despite losing star receiver Andy Fantuz to the NFL’s Chicago Bears during the off-season.

In a separate segment that aired Tuesday, TSN also unveiled a list of the CFL’s top 50 current players, with seven Stamps cracking the list. Star quarterback Henry Burris ranked second behind Alouettes gunslinger Anthony Calvillo, while running back Joffrey Reynolds (No. 6) and slotback Nik Lewis (No. 9) also earned spots in the top 10. Offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas (T18), linebacker Juwan Simpson (23), and receivers Ken-Yon Rambo (27) and Romby Bryant (42) were also named to the list, which was compiled by 10 TV analysts and 10 newspaper reporters, including the Sun’s Ian Busby, from across the country.

Surprisingly, Tsoumpas was left off Forde’s list of the top Canadians, although he’s a big reason the team can boast about its non-import talent.

It’s no coincidence those teams had the CFL’s best regular-season records last year, with the Als and Riders clashing in the Grey Cup game.

“I’ve been in the league for a long time and it’s always been that way — you’re a better football with better Canadian talent,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel.

“In my opinion, the best teams in the league are the ones with the best Canadians,” agreed Stamps receiver Arjei Franklin. “You need that depth, and I think it’s evident that this organization has really made a point to bring in some great Canadian talent.”

Extra point

After getting his hands on a new passport, QB Michael Bishop was expected to touch down in Calgary Tuesday night. The well-travelled pivot will participate in Wednesday’s practice at McMahon Stadium, although he’s already been cramming for his audition.

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