The top CIS prospects from across the country gathered at the University of Toronto this past weekend for the 2015 Canadian Football League (CFL) National Combine, presented by Reebok, for one more chance to impress ahead of the May 12th draft.
Of all the performances over the course of the weekend, no one arguably turned as many heads as Laurier Golden Hawks DB Chris Ackie.
Ackie, who entered the combine as the 12th-ranked CFL draft-eligible prospect, finished atop the leaderboard in both the broad jump (10'11.5") and vertical jump (40.0") and finished third overall in the 3-cone drill with a time of 7.09. Ackie's performance in the broad jump established a new CFL combine record.
In addition, he finished in the top five amongst other defensive backs in the remaining three drills -- bench press (4th, 14), 40 yard dash (5th, 4.67) and shuttle (5th, 4.40).
Ackie finished last season fifth in OUA in solo tackles (42) and seventh in both total tackles (48.5) and tackles per game (6.1).
Ottawa Gee-Gees DL Ettore Lattanzio also made quite a statement at the combine, finishing second in the bench press with 32 reps.
The reigning OUA and CIS J.P. Metras Trophy recipient, also tied for third in both the 40 yard dash (4.84) and broad jump (9'2.00") by a defensive lineman with fellow OUA standout Ese Mrabure-Ajufo from the aforementioned Laurier Golden Hawks.
Lattanzio, a fourth-year defensive tackle, led OUA with eight sacks this past season and tied for the national lead with 14 tackles for a loss. He entered the combine ranked as the 20th CFL draft-eligible prospect.
Not to be outdone, Mrabure-Ajufo finished first at his position in both the vertical jump (33.5") and the 3-cone drill (7.47). He was ranked 18th in the CFL Scouting Bureau winter rankings.
Laurier Golden Hawks RB Dillon Campbell and Queen's Gaels DB Brendan Morgan both placed in the top 10 for the 40 yard dash, finishing tied for 6th overall with a time of 4.57. Morgan likely saw an increase in his draft stock after solid performances in both the broad jump (10'2.50") and vertical jump (36.0").
Campbell, the defending OUA Most Valuable Player, showed off the explosiveness that made him so difficult to defend against this season, posting the second highest mark by a running back (35.5") in the vertical jump.
Campbell amassed 1458 rushing yards – 471 yards more than CIS second-leading rusher Chris Reid of Mount Allison this past season. Appearing in all eight of Laurier's regular season contests, Campbell ran for 100+ yards in every game, 200+ yards three times (including a school record 293 yards in a game against Toronto), and led OUA and CIS with 13 touchdowns and 182.2 yards per game.
The Western Mustangs were once again on of the best defensive teams in the country this past season, thanks in large part to their dominant defensive line made up of Daryl Waud, Ricky Osei-Kusi and Rory Connop who all participated in the combine this past weekend.
Waud (20) and Osei-Kusi (19) finished fourth and fifth amongst defensive lineman, respectively, in the bench press. Osei-Kusi definitely proved that he can move for a lineman, posting the fastest time positonally in the 40 yard dash (4.72).
Osei-Kusi had 4.5 sacks last season which ranked him ninth, however, he topped the conference in sack yards with 50.
According to the most recent CFL Scouting Bureau winter rankings, Waud is the top-ranked (3) CIS player available for this year's draft. It's no wonder as he is a three-time OUA First Team All-Star, two-time CIS First Team All-Canadian, and one-time CIS Second Team All-Canadian.
Check back to OUA.ca in the coming weeks for more information on the upcoming 2015 CFL Draft on May 12th.
Click here for complete results from the 2015 CFL National Combine.