There's one guarantee about the 2009 Argonauts: The club will have a home-grown feel.
When the Argos take on the Montreal Alouettes on Wednesday at the Rogers Centre in their pre-season opener, as many as 10 players from the Greater Toronto Area likely will play.
"It always has been one or two or three, but to be part of such a large group is awesome," said receiver Andre Talbot, who was born in Toronto and attended Paul Dwyer Catholic High School in Oshawa before playing at Wilfrid Laurier. "I think it shows the development of grassroots football in the region. Football is alive and well in Ontario. When I was in Durham region, there were eight high school teams and now I think there are more than 20.
"It's something our fans and our city need to take notice of."
If they didn't square off in high school, then it's probable many of the local Argos were opponents during university games in the province. As such, several knew each other long before they put on the Double Blue.
"I played against (Bryan) Crawford and (Andre) Durie in university," said linebacker Jason Pottinger, a graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton and a native of Whitby. "What it means is there are a lot of coaches pushing football to the younger kids. There used to be 12 teams in the OVFL (Ontario Varsity Football League) and now there are more than 20. There's more organization, more funds coming in."
One of the knocks on the CFL by its critics is that it has not always been easy to keep track of players. Argos linebacker Zeke Moreno has few equals at his position, yet he does not find it strange that he is with his third team in the East Division in less than a year.
Moreno began 2008 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before he was traded to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and he became an Argo in the off-season via a swap with Winnipeg.
"I've learned that nothing is set in stone," Moreno, who led the CFL with 97 tackles last year, said. "Everything happens for a reason."
Among the noticeable players through the first week at camp was defensive back Lin-J Shell, who is vying for one of the open spots in the secondary.