CFL Scouting Bureau: 15 U SPORTS standouts crack initial top-20 prospect list
Godfrey Onyeka, a defensive back from Wilfrid Laurier University, is the top-ranked U SPORTS player on the initial prospect list released by the CFL’s Scouting Bureau in advance of the league’s 2018 Canadian Draft.
No less than 15 U SPORTS standouts cracked the first top-20 rankings of the season, including two selections apiece for reigning Vanier Cup champion Laval, Calgary and Montreal. A third product of the Calgary program, who now plays in the CJFL, made the cut.
Onyeka, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior in his fourth campaign with the Golden Hawks, was named a First Team All-Canadian each of the past two seasons, after being voted to the OUA all-rookie squad in his university debut in 2014. Last fall, the arts student helped Laurier capture the Yates Cup after tallying an impressive 40.5 tackles and four interceptions in eight league games.
It marks the second straight year that a Golden Hawk tops the first prospect list. Defensive lineman Kwaku Boateng earned the honour in 2016.
“Everyone at Laurier football is excited for Godfrey and the position he has put himself in. He has worked extremely hard on the field and in the weight room, and to be recognized as the top U SPORTS draft-eligible player is not surprising to anyone around here,” said Laurier head coach Michael Faulds, who was named U SPORTS Coach of the Year last season. “He will continue to impress everyone with his play in his senior season and we know that any of the nine CFL teams would be very fortunate to have him playing for them next year.”
The three players ranked higher than Onyeka on the Scouting Bureau’s August list – all NCAA offensive linemen - are Nebraska’s David Knevel, Connecticut’s Trey Rutherford and Bowling Green’s Ryan Hunter.
The other U SPORTS stars named to the initial top 20 are Calgary offensive lineman Darius Ciraco (No. 5), Laval receiver Tyrone Pierre (No. 7), Carleton defensive lineman Kene Onyeka (No. 8), Montreal receiver Regis Cibasu (No. 9), Laval running back Christopher Amoah (No. 11), former Calgary receiver Rashaun Simonise (No. 12), Guelph offensive lineman Andrew Pickett (No. 13), UBC offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley (No. 14), Western running back Alex Taylor (No. 15), Calgary offensive lineman Ryan Sceviour (No. 16), Acadia offensive lineman Keiler Cherry (No. 17), Montreal defensive lineman Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou (No. 18), Ottawa defensive back Jackson Bennett (No. 19) and Queen’s linebacker Nelkas Kwemo (No. 20).
Last May, McMaster receiver Danny Vandervoort was the first U SPORTS player selected in the CFL Canadian Draft when the British Columbia Lions called his name at No. 3. Vandervoort had been ranked fourth, seventh and fourth, respectively, on the three prospect lists released over the course of the season.
Fifty-six U SPORTS players were selected in the 2017 CFL Draft (out of 71 total picks), including six in the first round.
NOTE: The CFL Scouting Bureau releases its rankings three times each year: in August, December and April. The Bureau is comprised of CFL scouts, player personnel directors and general managers from the league’s nine teams.
CFL SCOUTING BUREAU LIST (AUGUST 30, 2017):
Rank Name Pos. University Hometown Ht. Wt.
1. David Knevel OL Nebraska Brampton, Ont. 6-9 315
2. Trey Rutherford OL Connecticut Markham, Ont. 6-5 312
3. Ryan Hunter OL Bowling Green North Bay, Ont. 6-4 325
4. Godfrey Onyeka DB Laurier Brampton, Ont. 6-2 200
5. Darius Ciraco OL Calgary Burlington, Ont. 6-4 295
6. Peter Godber OL Rice Toronto, Ont. 6-3 300
7. Tyrone Pierre REC Laval Ottawa, Ont. 6-3 210
8. Kene Onyeka DL Carleton Brampton, Ont. 6-3 235
9. Regis Cibasu REC Montreal Kinshasa, Congo 6-2 230
10. Julien Laurent DL Georgia State Toronto, Ont. 6-4 295
11. Christopher Amoah RB Laval Montreal, Que. 5-10 206
12. Rashaun Simonise REC Calgary */Okanagan Vancouver, B.C. 6-5 200
13. Andrew Pickett OL Guelph Kitchener, Ont. 6-4 300
14. Dakoda Shepley OL UBC Windsor, Ont. 6-5 295
15. Alex Taylor RB Western Winnipeg, Man. 5-10 205
16. Ryan Sceviour OL Calgary Calgary, Alta. 6-4 305
17. Keiler Cherry OL Acadia Lloydminster, Alta. 6-7 300
18. Jonathan B.-Glaou DL Montreal Lyster, Que. 6-0 227
19. Jackson Bennett DB Ottawa Cumberland, Ont. 6-0 214
20. Nelkas Kwemo LB Queen’s Montreal, Que. 6-3 226
* Simonise played for the University of Calgary from 2013 to 2015. He currently plays for the Okanagan Sun in the CJFL.