Tyler Crapigna, Aram Eisho and Kevin Malcolm have been selected in the fifth and seventh rounds respectively, and for Assistant Coach Jon Behie, these selections are well-deserved.
“It’s certainly not a shock that any of those guys got selected,” said Behie.
The highest-scouted CFL prospect of the three was Tyler Crapigna, who was selected 40th overall by the Calgary Stampeders.
His success and drafting eligibility is something that the coaches saw coming early on in his collegiate career.
“Tyler was one of the highest-scouted recruits as a kicker that we’ve ever brought in, and he certainly lived up to that billing” said Behie.
“We had assumed throughout his career that he would be selected for the CFL draft at some point.”
Behie notes Crapigna’s ability to keep calm under pressure as a valuable asset that he is carrying with him in to the draft.
This quality of his was on full display in the 2011 Vanier Cup Championship final when his dramatic final kick is ultimately what got them to win the Cup.
“He missed that first (kick) in regulation, and then bounced back and kicked the winner probably 15 minutes later, that’s a good attribute for a kicker is a short memory and he’s got that.”
Crapigna’s potential was recognized by the coaching staff years ago, and his preparation, skill and experience in high-pressured situations are an added bonus for him in the draft.
“He’s been preparing for this for a long time and he’s definitely ready,” added Behie.
Aram Eisho, on the other hand, was picked 56th overall in the final round by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Eisho, who was named to the Marauders roster for three years, brings both accolades and lots of energy to the 2014 draft.
“He’s very, very accomplished,” said Behie.
Eisho was a standout linebacker in high school, and was the CJFL defensive player of the year for three years in a row.
More recently he was named the OUA defensive player of the year and President’s trophy recipient in 2012.
“He’s a straight-up gamer, and a guy that’s going to bring a lot of energy to the next level , and his enthusiasm for the game is definitely on display anytime he steps onto the field,” said Behie.
The Marauders have benefitted from Eisho’s competitive drive and enthusiasm in their consecutive Vanier Cup final runs, and his heart and passion for the game of football is something that will not go unnoticed by the Blue Bombers coaching staff.
Lastly, offensive lineman Kevin Malcolm was the final player chosen in the draft, selected 65th overall by the Ottawa Redblacks.
“Kevin does one of the hardest things to do, and that’s throw a football between your legs while upside down, fifteen yards, and he does it very, very, very well,” said Behie.
Malcolm has never missed a snap in his four seasons as a Marauder, which is something that the Ottawa Redblacks have recognized and appreciate.
“It’s such a valuable thing, and some teams may take it for granted,” said Behie.
“But I’m glad Ottawa saw that and understands that it is a difficult thing, and that (Kevin) could have a great career just snapping a football,” added Behie.
Over the last two years, the Marauders have been able to produce eight CFL prospects, with last year’s draft consisting of Matt Sewell, Ben D’Aguilar, Mike DiCroce, Spencer Moore and Michael Daly.
Behie credits the athletes for their dedication and hard work that they have put in that has led to their recognition from the CFL.
“It’s safe to say that they might have been in this position, and probably would have been in this position no matter what school they chose, and that’s because they’re extremely talented football players and great guys,” said Behie.
The players have also been able to maximize their potential through the renowned facilities and programs that McMaster has in place.
“We offer opportunity through our systems that we run and through our schemes to prepare them mentally for the next level, and the way we structure our strength and conditioning and the facilities that we have to offer are all considered world-class, and that certainly contributes to them reaching their potential as well” added Behie.
The ability of the Marauders coaching staff to recruit these accomplished and talented athletes also does not go unnoticed, as the coaches showing an interest in these players has given them both confidence and interest to come to McMaster in the first place and to work hard to make the roster.
Once they make the roster, the rest is up to them.
For Crapigna, Eisho and Malcolm, the hardest part of the draft is underway.
They are currently trying out for their respective teams and need to make an impression early.
Although they will have to work extremely hard at try-outs to prove themselves and to stand-out as players and people, Assistant Coach Behie has all the faith in the world for his athletes.
“They just have to keep doing what they’ve been doing. They’ve gotten to this point through hard work and perseverance and dedication to the game of football, so if they just keep going with that, they’re going to be just fine, because all three are extremely talented young guys.”