The Edmonton Eskimos think tank was gearing up for the future on a recent trip down south.
GM Danny Maciocia, head coach Richie Hall, head scout Ed Hervey and director of player personnel Paul Jones spent 20 days in different parts of the U.S. while eyeing up some young talent.
"It was pretty productive," said Maciocia, who caught the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando at the end of January before taking in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, and Texas vs. the Nation in El Paso, Texas. "We had identified a few kids going in and we got an opportunity to watch them practise and meet up with them, talk to them some and talk to some of their agents.
"We'll see how it plays itself out here because their pro day is coming up and some of them are going to be invited to the combines. There are some pretty good football players."
Beginning next month, the Eskimos will embark on a number of southern treks where they will hold training sessions for potential recruits -- including a pair of California camps in April, which last year yielded linebacker Mark Restelli and receiver Jason Barnes.
"That usually happens after the evaluation camp," said Maciocia, who has at his disposal one of the top talent scouts in the industry in Jones.
The Arkansas native is entering his 12th season with the team and received his induction into the Ourlads' Scout Hall of Fame this year.
Besides bringing in current Esks standouts Tristan Jackson and last year's league-leading receiver Fred Stamps, Jones recruited former all-stars Shannon Garrett, Jason Tucker, Milt Stegall and even Hervey. He also brought CFL Hall of Famer Elfrid Payton into the league.
"That's a pretty prestigious award and Paul's done a great job for a number of years," said Maciocia. "Whether it was Edmonton, Toronto or Winnipeg, he's been able to land some pretty good players here over the years."