Maroon represented at CFL combine
Most of this year’s off-season hype surrounding the McMaster football team has revolved around the professional prospects of graduating quarterback Kyle Quinlan, accompanied by the occasional excitement about new recruits. Quinlan, who signed with the Montreal Alouettes in December, usually gets most of the attention from media when it comes to playing at the next level. CFL scouts, on the other hand, look past the superstar and see Mac as a much deeper breeding ground for professional talent.
Each year, the CFL invites 50 players from around the country to participate in the “E” (evaluation) camp, where the prospects can showcase their talents for scouts. This year’s combine will take place on the weekend of March 22-24 at the University of Toronto Varsity Centre and will feature a strong presence from the Marauders, who will send three players to the camp.
From Mac, defensive end Ben D’Aguilar who won the CIS award for best d-lineman, offensive lineman Matthew Sewell who is widely considered to be one of the nation’s best prospects, and standout safety Michael Daly will all have a chance to display their athletic capabilities.
Cornerback Joey Cupido was also invited to the event, but had to decline as a result of his commitments to the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth, who drafted him last year.
Sewell is not only ranked as the No. 2 prospect overall, but standing at 6’8” 335 lbs., he is also the most physically imposing offensive lineman (and player in general) headed to Toronto later this month.
The Milton, Ont. native has been turning heads as the guardian of Quinlan’s blindside, a big reason why the Hec Creighton winner only landed on his back 23 times last year.
The subsequent time spent in the pocket allowed for the pivot to find his favorite targets including receiver Michael DiCroce, who received an invite despite being injured for the majority of the 2012 season.
When he returned from injury DiCroce resurrected his Vanier Cup-winning form, sparking the Marauders to a playoff victory over Western with an incredible performance that included a spectacular 103-yard touchdown reception.
Injuries on both sides of the ball plagued the Maroon and Grey in 2012, but a mix of youth and veteran leadership held the team together.
Michael Daly was one of those veterans on defense, playing centerfield for the best secondary in Canadian university football. Daly, picked off opposing QB’s three times in the regular season, adding another in the playoffs against Western to change the tempo of the game. He was a big reason why Mac’s defensive backfield led the nation in interceptions the last three seasons.
It should come as no surprise that these players would have their shot at a career in professional football. Undoubtedly, there are other Marauders deserving a shot who will help another run at a championship season. The E Camp selections are a testament to the increasing strength of the McMaster program, which can only be expected to improve in the future. Even if their camps don’t end in pro contracts, or draft selections-Daly, D’Aguilar and Sewell are each eligible for a return to Ron Joyce next season.