Two talented and well-coached Canadian university football teams meet in the Vanier Cup Saturday in Hamilton.
Western and Laval – both known for developing pro talent – compete for a national championship and there are prospects worth paying attention to as scouts will be curious to see how players fair when the top two programs in the country clash.
1) David Mackie, fullback, Western
Excellent long snapper who will be able to do that right away for a CFL team. That adds to the abilities Mackie has on offence. He’s physical and catches the ball out of the backfield smoothly. CFL scouts are high on the six-foot-two, 252-pounder. Mackie is a key blocker in a Mustangs ground game that has galloped all over defences in 2017. As the draft process plays out, Mackie will rise up boards.
2) David Brown, offensive lineman, Western
What can Brown do for you? Anchor the offensive line. Western’s left tackle has been the standout for the Mustangs up front on a unit that has the best rushing attack in the country. He moves well and finishes plays with consistency. Brown against Laval defensive end Mathieu Betts, who will be a top prospect in the 2019 draft, will be a matchup evaluators are eager to see. When No. 9 lines up across from No. 66 watch intently.
3) Alex Taylor, running back, Western
Minor knee surgery kept Taylor out of the Yates Cup and Uteck Bowl, but he could be back in action for the Vanier. Taylor with his low-to-the-ground and balanced running style put up 831 rushing yards in seven regular season games. He’s the most dynamic back on Western’s roster. For CFL purposes, he’s Sean Thomas-Erlington but more athletic.
4) Anthony Dufour, receiver, Laval
A solidly built slotback, Dufour could be a candidate to play H-back in the CFL and contribute on special teams. And Dufour is faster than he looks (4.68 40-yard time). An unsung part of Laval’s offence.
5) Jean-Gabriel Poulin, linebacker, Western
The heart and soul of the Mustangs defence comes as tough as anyone. Poulin is the leader of a stout Western unit. He’s a downhill thumper in the run game and finds himself around the football a lot. Poulin’s physicality should see him get a shot in the CFL.
6) Christopher Amoah, running back, Laval
Amoah has breakaway speed (4.47 40-yard time) but ball security issues have plagued the speedy back. He had 48 carries for 356 yards and one touchdown (7.2 yards per carry) with a long of 63 in seven regular season games. A late-season injury kept Amoah out of the Rouge et Or’s playoff games, but he could be back in the lineup at Tim Hortons Field.
7) Tyrone Pierre, receiver, Laval
Pierre oozes athleticism and at six-foot-two, 201 pounds he’s got a pro frame, although more bulk needs to be added. He’s not been featured in Laval’s offence, Pierre has 13 catches for 122 yards in eight regular season game and one reception for 44 yards in three playoff contests, so that might leave questions for scouts. But Pierre has pro traits that you can’t teach: 38-inch vertical, 10-foot broad jump, 4.58-second 40-yard time and 3.99 shuttle.
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