Six football players from the U of T Varsity Blues program were invited to the CFL Toronto regional combine last Thursday. Levi Noel, a first team all-Canadian receiver from the 2014 season, was invited to the national combine, which began on Friday and ended on Sunday.
Last year, out of the three regional combine locations, seven athletes were selected in the 2015 CFL Draft.
The previous regional combine success of other athletes gives high hopes for Blues third-year running back Lukas Gavac, who ran 226 yards on 33 carries last season. In 2014, the Mississauga native and UTM criminology student had his best season. Gavac ranked fifth in the OUA with 677 rushing yards on 87 carries, scoring a team-high seven touchdowns. Gavac was plagued by a few injuries over the past four seasons, but his performances are too outstanding for CFL scouts not to acknowledge what he can bring to a professional program.
D.J. Sackey, a native of Mississauga and fellow UTM student, also got the invitation because of his outstanding play throughout his entire Varsity Blues career. Standing 6’ 5”, 300 lb offensive lineman Sackey recorded 21 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press segment.
Levi Noel, the Varsity Blues receiver, was known as one of the most intriguing prospects to take the field. Noel amassed scouts with his 36-inch vertical jump (tied for second best), his 10’ 9.5” broad jump (second best), and 4.6-second 40-yard dash time.
“I showed that I had another gear in me and that I was ready to go. I’m proud that I finished all the drills the best I could. I’d say the best event was the one-on-ones,” says a tired Noel after the physical performance side of the combine was finished for him. “I wanted to go and show that through injury and adversity, I can still play.”
Other notable Varsity Blues athletes who performed at this year’s regional combine were receiver Boris Isakov, linebacker Farouk Musa, and defensive linemen Zack Lukings and Aaron Jervis.