Kudos to Argos' Kudu

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

Matt Kudu had waited two years for the moment, but given the road travelled it seemed more like a lifetime.

When it did arrive, Kudu was so excited he forgot to punctuate the accomplishment with a personal touch.

On an Argos defence that is more about preventing touchdowns than it is recording sacks, Kudu nonetheless sacked B.C. quarterback Dave Dickenson in the second quarter of the Argos' loss to the Lions last Friday.

For Kudu, it was his first career sack and the first since his final collegiate game in 2004.

"For a defensive lineman, getting a sack is one of the greatest feelings," Kudu said yesterday following practice. "It was a long time coming and I had planned a celebration, but I was so excited that I forgot.

"I certainly won't forget my first professional sack."

Just as embedded is the path Kudu had to take to be in position to even record a sack.

Kudu grew up in Toronto and played high school football in Mississauga, where he lives with his family. The residence is just steps away from the Clarkson GO Station and a short drive to the Argos' practice facility.

A stud in high school, Kudu bulked up and dreamed the universal dream of playing football in the U.S., securing a scholarship to Eastern Michigan.

DREAMED BIG

He dreamed big and played big, only to find himself in small-town surroundings of Regina after the Saskatchewan Roughriders selected Kudu third overall in the third round of the 2005 CFL draft.

Kudu did not play a single down in the regular season and spent his rookie year on the practice roster, wondering what the future would hold.

"It was hard not playing, but when I look back on that experience it was a turning point," the 265-pound Kudu said. "It was a humbling experience, it motivated me."

Throughout his brief career, Kudu's mentality was to go big or go home.

Faced with a career decision following his year of inactivity on the prairies, Kudu dedicated himself to getting lighter and quicker.

Kudu, 24, shed some 30 pounds by eating properly and developing better discipline and mental toughness through martial arts training.

The transformation was complete when the Argos signed him as a free agent. The affirmation was reached at B.C. Place when Kudu sacked one of the CFL's premier players.

"I'm here where I want to be," said Kudu, who rotates on the defensive line with fellow Canadian Jeff Keeping. "There are so many players who never get a chance and now I'm getting my opportunity."

BRIEFLY

The Argos announced the signing of offensive lineman Cliff Washburn, an import who played basketball at Citadel College and picked up football only in his senior year in 2002. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder was a practice roster player in the NFL and had stints in NFL Europe.


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