Fantuz gets attention at NFL, CFL workouts

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 1:25 PM ET

Last weekend, he was in Windsor, working out for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.

For the next three days, he'll be in Oakville, one of 48 players invited to the Canadian Football League evaluation camp.

Next week, who knows where Western Mustang wide receiver Andy Fantuz will go?

"We haven't confirmed with other (National Football League) teams yet. We'll set up workouts later," said Fantuz's Atlanta-based agent, Hadley Engelhard.

"Right now he's concentrating on the CFL workouts. It's always been a dream of Andy to play in the CFL and to be a first-round draft choice. At the same time, he's exploring all his options."

Fantuz pretty much echoed his agent's sentiments. The dominant Canadian university receiver didn't want to comment on his workouts for the Packers or Eagles.

"I just want to concentrate on the CFL camp right now. I'll let my agent talk about the other stuff," Fantuz said.

And that's just what his agent did.

"He did quite well working out," said Engelhard. "During his week at the East-West Shrine Game, he proved he's able to play NFL-style football. He picked things up quickly. The terminology wasn't a problem. The route running wasn't a problem.

"At the end of the day, a receiver has to run routes and catch the ball, whether it's the NFL, the CFL or a peewee league. Andy does that extremely well. He's a big receiver with big hands, who makes the difficult catch and he's a team player.

"His best football is in front of him."

Fantuz has been working out in Atlanta with "potential high first-round picks and veterans. They are very complimentary of Andy. They wouldn't know whether he went to the University of Western Ontario or Florida."

Fantuz, from Chatham, may go No. 1 in the CFL draft on April 20. Whether he'll be picked in the NFL draft beginning April 29 is something Engelhard won't speculate on.

"Only in recent years have we gone from 12 rounds to seven rounds," he said. "There are a lot of guys who are draftable who go undrafted. I've got a number of clients who are millionaires who were undrafted and I have a number of clients who were high draft choices who are out of football.

"It's not where you start but where you finish."

Engelhard has no doubt where Fantuz will finish.

"He'll be an asset wherever he plays, whether the CFL or NFL. He will have a long prosperous career. Right now, in the short term, he's focusing on the CFL combine," he said.

The CFL evaluation camp began yesterday in Oakville and will run through Saturday. The players go through medicals and various physical tests. They'll also be tested on strength and quickness.

Also among the 48 invitees is Fantuz's Mustang teammate Leron Mitchell, a defensive back.

Other locals include Londoner Jeff Keegan, a wide receiver with the Guelph Gryphons; running back Brian Wise, who was born in St. Thomas, attended high school in New York and now plays Division III football at State University of New York in Brockport; and Kyle Weston, an offensive lineman from Sarnia who played at Laurier.

Scouts will get a chance to attend the Canadian version of a showcase game when the fourth edition of the East-West Bowl and related training are held May 8-13 at Laval University in Quebec City.

The Mustangs will have five players participating in the event, the most they've ever had: defensive backs Matt Carapella and Nick Kordic, running back Randy McAuley, kicker/punter Derek Schiavone, and defensive lineman Tom Dolezel.

"We are very pleased with the selection of five Mustangs to the team," Mustangs head coach Larry Haylor said. "That's two above the norm. Usually there's only three per team. It's a positive reflection of what we're trying to do as a team."


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