Photo C/O David Moll 

By Jovan Popovic, Staff Writer

The Canadian Football League draft is right around the corner, scheduled to take place on April 30. To see the physical capabilities of some of the nation’s top prospects, the CFL is holding its draft combine March 26 to 28  The nation’s top prospects have been preparing for one of the most important events in their young careers, the CFL Combine, where they will have a chance to prove themselves one final time before the draft. Boasting one of the best rosters in the country this year, it only makes sense that eight Marauders were invited to participate in the combine. Out of the eight invites, three received direct national combine invites and five received invites to the Ontario regional combine. The regional combines are slightly smaller than the national combine, so the CFL can see more talent. If a player performs exceptionally at a regional combine they can also get an invite to the national combine.

The five Marauders setting their sights on the March 12 regional combine are Mitchell Garland who plays defensive back, Mitchell Lyons who tears it up on the defensive line, Tyson Middlemost at wide receiver, Adam Preocanin the kicker/punter and Xander Tachinski also at wide receiver. The combine gathers some of the most competitive young players within the province and attempts to select the best of them to fill the remaining open spots at the national combine.

Looking to the Marauders invited directly by the CFL to the national combine, we have Jakub Szott on the offensive line, as well as Noah Hallet and Nolan Putt who both play defensive back. Getting to the national combine is a significant achievement that many young football players have their eyes on for years, which was true for Jakub Szott.

“It felt amazing. You could ask any of my friends from high school and they all knew that this has been something I have been working towards for years. It was something that I expected, so when I first came to McMaster I set my goals high so that one day I would be able to achieve an astounding accomplishment like this,” said Szott.

Szott has been rigorously training for this milestone event in his sports career, knowing that he has to keep pushing if he wants to make the most of this opportunity. At the combine, Szott will have to prove himself to be better than those around him, and do whatever it takes to get ahead.

“I’ve been working out six days a week, with two of the days involving two workouts in a day. They consist of weight training, plyometric work as well as sprint training. Changing my diet and ensuring that I am fueling my body with the right food has helped me significantly in this process. On top of just the physical aspect, I have been doing research into questions I will be asked in interviews, and the people that I am competing against. This film study and self-reflection has helped me grow a lot,” said Szott.

The offensive line isn’t exactly the sexiest of all positions on the football field, with the quarterback generally being the star in the eyes of fans. However, don’t get it twisted. A solid offensive line can be the backbone of a team as it gives the quarterback time to make the proper reads in the pocket or open up the right lanes in the running game. Lineman can even be the key piece to a good ole fashioned trick play.

“The nature of the offensive line position is something that may not get noticed on TV broadcasts of games unless there is a penalty on us. That being said, the role of a highly-skilled offensive lineman coming from Canada is highly valued by CFL teams. This can be seen time and time again in the CFL draft, with the first two rounds usually primarily filled with offensive linemen,” said Szott.

In 2019, linebacker Eric Blake was the only Marauder to be  selected in the CFL draft,, taken by the Edmonton Eskimos in the eighth round. With at least three McMaster students in the national combine, it will be interesting to see how many manage to get selected in the 2020 draft. Heading into the Yates Cup against Western this year, our Marauders were the underdogs and played hard to get the win. These guys are locked, loaded and ready to keep proving themselves capable of more.

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“The nature of the offensive line position is something that may not get noticed on TV broadcasts of games unless there is a penalty on us. That being said, the role of a highly-skilled offensive lineman coming from Canada is highly valued by CFL teams. This can be seen time and time again in the CFL draft, with the first two rounds usually primarily filled with offensive linemen,” said Szott.

In 2019, linebacker Eric Blake was the only Marauder to be  selected in the CFL draft,, taken by the Edmonton Eskimos in the eighth round. With at least three McMaster students in the national combine, it will be interesting to see how many manage to get selected in the 2020 draft. Heading into the Yates Cup against Western this year, our Marauders were the underdogs and played hard to get the win. These guys are locked, loaded and ready to keep proving themselves capable of more.

 

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