TORONTO — With the CFL Draft slated for May 2, combine season is approaching with the country’s top football talents looking to impress Canadian Football League (CFL) general managers, coaches and player personnel.
And here's a bit of info on the guys with CJFL ties:
A total of five CJFL players will make their way to Waterloo, all with outstanding experience earning their invitation.
DL Donovan Burgmaier last played for the Edmonton Huskies in 2017 and was named an All-Canadian. During that season he had six sacks, 16 solo tackles and two fumble recoveries, one returned for a touchdown.
LB Shawn Charles played for the Ottawa Sooners in 2022 and was named an All-Canadian. He compiled 21 tackles, 1.5 sacks, had an interception, blocked two kicks, forced a pair of fumbles, and recovered one for a touchdown.
WR Jared Hayes-Williams has been one of the main play makers for the St. Clair Saints over his tenue there. Last season he was named a First-Team All-Canadian after making 33 receptions for 617 yards and had six touchdowns helping the Saints to their perfect regular season.
LB Jadyn Pingue was named the CJFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 as a member of the Saskatoon Hilltops. That season he collected 29 tackles, had seven assists, had a knockdown, a fumble recovery and intercepted a pass.
WR/KR Mike O’Shea was simply outstanding for the Okanagan Sun in 2022 on their championship run. He was named a double All-Canadian in two different positions. First as a receiver he hauled in 28 passes for 483 yards and had eight touchdowns. He scored an extremely important touchdown in the Canadian Bowl to swing the momentum. As a kick returner, he ran back 58 kicks for 1,011 yards and had three more touchdowns.
In previous years, players who stand out at the smaller regional combines then get invited to the main national combine, and yes they do get drafted sometimes.
The combine format has changed this year, and I'm not sure exactly how it's going to work.
Here's a thread with some info about this year's combine:
Three Regional Combines across Canada will host the nation’s elite football talents as they display their skills for Canadian Football League (CFL) coaches, general managers and player personnel. The top athletes from each event will earn entry to the CFL Combine presented by New Era from March 25-27 in Toronto.
Here's a name from the past: Jimmy "The Jet" Cunningham's son will be at the invitational combine.
Not sure why the CFL isn't trumpeting from coast to coast that Mike O'Shea is participating, but here's what JC Abbott had to say about him:
Michael O’Shea, REC, Okanagan Sun (Winnipeg, Man.)
Yes, you read that right. The son of CFL Hall of Famer and Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ head coach Mike O’Shea is eligible for selection this year and he’s no slouch. Since leaving his father’s alma mater of Guelph, the six-foot-one, 170-pound receiver has amassed some elite numbers in the CJFL, earning All-Canadian honours in two different spots in 2022 after hauling in 28 passes for 483 yards and eight touchdowns while returning 58 kicks for 1,011 yards and three majors. On top of all that, his blocking might be his best attribute — just as dad would expect.