Poster boys for optimism

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

HAMILTON -- They're the poster boys for the Tiger-Cats' optimism for the future.

But neither Simeon Rottier nor Dylan Barker, the first picks overall in the CFL Canadian draft the past two years respectively, are concerned with the glare of the spotlight.

Barker, who had a strong run in camp at safety, is getting his CFL career on track after breaking a leg in the pre-season last year and missing the entire season. Rottier eventually will be a linchpin at offensive tackle.

"To go No. 1, there are expectations, and then, boom," Barker, a native of Moose Jaw, Sask., said of being hurt in 2008. "I would have liked to have had that one year of experience, but I got comfortable being around the guys and I learned. There is definitely a good group of solid young Canadian talent here and I am happy to be a part of it."

Rottier, a University of Alberta product, had an excellent camp and posed a bit of a problem for Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille, as did Barker, who played four years at the University of Saskatchewan.

"It's seldom that a first-year player comes in and starts, but they are both capable of it and we expect them to grow into starters sooner rather than later," Bellefeuille said. "One point of the progress we are really excited about is they are students of the game. Both have picked it up and practise as if they are vets."

Not surprisingly, Rottier hung around with O-line stalwarts Dan Goodspeed and Alex Gauthier during camp and tried to soak up as much as he could.

"They have been such a good help," Rottier said. "They've welcomed me, which was important. There's always pressure, but it's part of growing and part of being a rookie."


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