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Five players I’m Keeping My Eye On At The CFL Invitational Combine

If you are a draft nerd like me then Christmas has come early as draft season starts on Friday, March 8 with the Invitational Combine.

What was once three separate regional combines have since condensed into one, with this year’s event taking place at the Feridun Hamdullahpur Field House on the campus of the University of Waterloo.

70-plus prospects will compete for the chance to attend the main CFL Combine in Winnipeg on March 19, to join the likes of Jordan Williams, Jeshrun Antwi, Kian Schaffer-Baker, Zach Pelehos, and others as players to get drafted after starting out at the Invitational.

12 players were elevated to the main show last year with eight hopefuls getting drafted. I’ll be in attendance at this year’s showcase and here are five players I’m keeping my eye on when I arrive.

WR Nicholas Gendron, Ottawa

One of the most productive players attending the Invitational Combine, the Gatineau, Quebec native is in a prime position to book a ticket to Winnipeg. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound target caught 69 balls for 1,120 yards and five touchdowns across 22 games for the University of Ottawa. The 25-year-old was named an OUA second-team all-star this past season and if he can improve on the testing scores he put up at the east-west bowl then he will have a good shot at hearing his name called at the end of the day.

OL Daniel Townsend, Calgary

The largest player who will take part in either combine, Townsend stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs a staggering 375 pounds. The former Okanagan Sun member of the CJFL has spent the past two seasons starting for the University of Calgary. Despite Townsend’s massive frame, he started all eight games at right tackle in 2022 before kicking into guard for 2023. The Calgary, Alberta native’s testing scores will be one of the most interesting to monitor as if he can move well CFL personnel on hand will take notice.

LB D.K. Bonhomme, South Alabama

A top recruit coming out of high school, Bonhomme committed to the University of Indiana. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Canadian tallied 14.5 tackles (two were for loss) and a sack in 24 games across three years as a Hoosier, spending time at both linebacker and defensive end before transferring to South Alabama in 2022. The Ottawa, Ontario native only played in three games for the Jaguars managing 4.5 tackles before taking a year off of football this past season. There is arguably no one else’s performance at the Combine who matters more then the 23-year-old’s with the limited collegiate production and taking the year off. Something unique to the CFL draft process, the fact there are one-on-one’s will surely benefit the former team Canada member more then anyone else if he can excel.

DB Richard Aduboffour, Western

The second tallest non-lineman at the event, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound cornerback’s measurements and resume should have gotten him into the main Combine. Regardless, Aduboffour will have to fight it out in Waterloo. The Toronto, Ontario native registered 27 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups across 16 games as a Mustang. One of the youngest players in the draft, the 22-year-old was named an OUA second-team all-star in 2022 and an OUA first-team all-star this past season. Like Gendron, if the testing numbers can improve from a year ago at the east-west bowl he would almost be a lock to reach Winnipeg.

DB Dawson Marchant, Northwestern Oklahoma State

The Surrey, BC native has bounced around in college with stops at multiple Division II schools and in the CJFL. He began his collegiate career at Simon Fraser University where he tallied 21 tackles and eight pass breakups. Following a covid-cancelled season, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound cover man joined back with the Langley Rams when he was named a BCFC all-star and helped Langley secure their first national title in history. Marchant has since spent the past two seasons at Northwestern Oklahoma State securing 51.5 tackles (including two for loss), one interception, and five pass breakups. The versatile defensive back has seen time at both corner and safety and with his length Marchant could deserve a call-up to the main show.

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Coty Wiles
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