Stamps bowled over by prospects' progress

Three 2008 draftees made bowl game appearances

By Allen Cameron, Calgary HeraldJanuary 17, 2009

Ronald Hilaire (95), a Stampeders draft pick, tries to stop Connecticut quarterback Tyler Lorenzen during the International Bowl at Toronto on Jan. 3, 2009.

Ronald Hilaire (95), a Stampeders draft pick, tries to stop Connecticut quarterback Tyler Lorenzen during the International Bowl at Toronto on Jan. 3, 2009.
Photograph by: J.P. Moczulski, Canwest News Services

The first round alone would guarantee the Calgary Stampeders had one of the great drafting days in Canadian Football League history last April.

Their two first-round picks, offensive linemen Dimitri Tsoumpas and Jesse Newman, both started in their rookie seasons and ended up as Grey Cup champions.

But that draft should continue to pay dividends down the road as three more selections from 2008 wrapped up their NCAA careers with bowl game appearances: defensive lineman Fernand Kashama at Western Michigan (second round, 16th overall), defensive lineman Ronald Hilaire at the University of Buffalo (fourth round, 27th overall) and offensive lineman Jon Gott at Boise State (fifth round, 35th overall).

And that’s the kind of pedigree the Stamps are looking for, said director of player personnel Jim Barker.

“We’re all real excited to have three guys who all started at schools that went to bowl games,? said Barker, who’s headed to Mobile, Ala., to watch next week’s Senior Bowl, featuring graduating U.S. college players. “When you have a winning organization like ours is now, you want guys who know how to win. I think that’s one thing with all these guys. Obviously, they won.?

Kashama, whose brothers Alain and Hakeem have played in the CFL, headed to Western Michigan as a tight end, but was converted to defence, and spent most of this year specializing in special teams duty. The Broncos finished the season 9-4 after a loss to Rice in the Texas Bowl at Houston.

“He recently ran a sub-4.5 40,? said Barker of the six-foot-three, 235-pounder from Toronto. “He’s a guy who can really run. He was a great special-teams player for them, probably more so than he was on defence. We drafted him as a guy we thought was a great athlete. You just don’t get a lot of guys who can run that well, and that’s why we took him.?

Hilaire is listed at six foot one and 298 pounds on the University of Buffalo website, but Barker estimates his height at closer to five foot 11, albeit with what Barker describes, diplomatically, as a “huge lower body.?

He made 20 tackles in 12 games, playing much the same role for the Bulls as Eddie Freeman does with the Stamps: a nose guard lineman who gets double-teamed to open holes for defensive teammates.

“He’s a big physical guy and he holds his ground very well, and he can be a run-stopping nose-guard,? said Barker, who watched the Laval, Que., product practise in October. “He’s not going to be a great pass rusher, I don’t think that’s ever going to be his forte if he stays on defence. We have not even talked about converting him, but he has the type of build where if things don’t pan out for him on defence as a nose guard, which we need in our system, he could maybe move to the offensive line.?

Gott, a Lethbridge resident, completed his senior season at 11th-ranked Boise State with a 17-16 loss to Texas Christian in the Poinsettia Bowl, the Broncos’ only loss of the season.

“It was his first full year starting, and it was on a very successful team, a team that runs a lot of spread-style things (on offence),? Barker said of the six-foot-three, 286-pound Lethbridge Collegiate grad. “He got himself into probably better shape than he’s been in and we feel he will fit in very well with the offensive line that we have. After the two we added last year, the key is to keep youth coming in. We’re also hoping to get Godfrey Ellis back (from a shoulder injury) and it just bodes well for the Canadian competition we’re going to have on the offensive line. I think Jon Gott has a chance to play in this league for a long time.?

Barker expects all three will wait until after the NFL draft before accepting contract offers from the Stamps.

Meanwhile, Barker was caught by surprise by news that Cochrane-Bow Valley grad Caleb Clark is leaving Western Michigan a year early to return to Calgary, with hopes, according to published reports, of catching on with the Stamps.

“I thought he had a chance to be a great college quarterback and things didn’t pan out for him there,? said Barker, who coached Clark at his football school in Calgary, and helped set up the scholarship offer from Western Michigan, where he was converted to a receiver. “He’s a great athlete. I haven’t seen him play receiver, but as a quarterback he was very agile and just incredibly competitive. I don’t know what he would be like as a receiver.?

[b]Barker also shot down rumours Friday he was interested in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM job vacated earlier this week by Brendan Taman.

“I have the best job in the league right here,? said Barker. “I have no interest in that job.?[/b]

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Without a doubt Calgary has the best personel in the CFL IMO. Their back up QB situation is a little questionable though.

I would disagree Nealy, Sankey and Proctor are not bad. Proctor may challenge Nealy this TC.

Well you are closer to the situation than I RW2005. But of course I wasn't wearing my rose coloured glasses :stuck_out_tongue: when I made that statement. I should have said the Calgary back up QB's have potential. But of course potential is another way of questionable. :slight_smile:

shouldn't this be in the stamps section?

Well let me fill you in the last game of the season Proctor in for one play and he trhows for a 39 yard touchdown. Prior to that Nealy got what two or three touchdowns against a very hungry Lions football club who by the way did not want to play in Regina. I think that would answer the question right. No colored glasses here my friend.

LOL it took you long enough LOL. And it should be shouldn't.