Alberta OL Mark Korte grew up an Eskimos fan but wouldn’t mind playing for Stamps

Dan Ralph, Canadian Press

It’s always good to have options, and Mark Korte has plenty regarding his football career.

The University of Alberta offensive lineman is a highly touted prospect for next month’s CFL draft, but is also a potential priority free-agent signing following the April 26-28 NFL draft. The six-foot-three, 295-pound native of Spruce Grove, Alta., could also return to the Golden Bears for a fifth season.

“There’s a lot of choices for me right now,” Korte said. “Honestly, I’m going to be ecstatic and really happy and excited about wherever I end up playing football next year.”

However, Korte said the prospect of becoming a full-time football player and no longer having to juggle academics and athletics is enticing.

“I’ll still finish my (commerce) degree but it would be exciting to move on and be able to spend every day on football as opposed to having to balance so much of my time,” Korte said. “It’s such a demanding thing to balance football and school so being able to concentrate my time on one would be fun.”

Korte was Canada West’s top lineman last year and a division all-star after anchoring an offensive line that paved the way for Hec Crighton Trophy winner Ed Ilnicki to rush for a conference-record 1,468 yards. More importantly, Alberta (3-5) made the playoffs for the first time in seven years before dropping an opening-round 39-22 decision to eventual division champion Calgary (7-1).

After finishing No. 12 on the CFL scouting bureau’s top-20 prospects list for the ’18 draft in December, Korte was invited to the East-West Shrine Game in January, where he practised before CFL and NFL officials.

Korte performed well at last month’s CFL combine in Winnipeg. Two days later with officials from the Washington Redskins and Edmonton Eskimos looking on, Korte excelled at his pro day. He posted times of 5.20 seconds (40-yard dash), 4.62 (shuttle run) and 7.47 (three-cone) while registering 19 reps in the bench press and a 30-inch vertical jump.

Korte’s three-cone time would’ve landed him sixth among offensive lineman at the NFL combine. He also would’ve finished tied for eighth in both the short shuttle and vertical.

The scouting report on Korte says he’s a “tenacious run blocker who plays with good physicality.” It adds he’s a good athlete with “the ability to operate in space,” and dominated his level of competition.

But it also listed his competition level as a weakness and said Korte must still “fill out and add much-needed mass and overall muscle on his frame.”

Korte takes it all in stride.

“There’s always areas to develop in a sport like football,” he said. “That’s what makes it so fun. you’re never really finished growing as a player.

“Growing up that’s every kid’s goal, to play pro sports. It’s always been on my mind but recently it’s started to set in that it might be a reality.”

The off-season for a draft-eligible player can be nerve-wracking, given the importance teams place on workout results and individual interviews. And then there’s the matter of not knowing what lies ahead and where one will embark on a pro career.

“There’s a lot of training that goes into it and it’s definitely a challenge at times but it’s also a lot of fun,” Korte said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing to go through and it’s been an exciting two months and the next month will be exciting as well.

“Either the NFL or CFL would work. There’s high competition in both leagues so I’m excited to get a crack at playing pro football and seeing where things go in the next month and move forward.”

Korte grew up watching the Eskimos and would welcome an opportunity to play at Commonwealth Stadium. But on draft day if the rival Calgary Stampeders came calling, Korte would have no issues donning red and white either.

“The games against Calgary are always extra special,” Korte said. “But as much as I did grow up in Edmonton, I think it would be a blast to play in Calgary.

“People like (president/GM) John Hufnagel and (head coach) Dave Dickenson have really done a special thing with that team. Playing for Calgary or any other organization in the CFL would be incredible.”

As for the NFL, Korte has no allegiances to specific teams.

“It’s the NFL so any team would be a special experience for me,” he said. “Wherever I might land, I think it’s going to be an exciting time to grow as a player and person.”

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46 Comments on Alberta OL Mark Korte grew up an Eskimos fan but wouldn’t mind playing for Stamps

  1. Again, no way Korte gets past Edmonton and it is doubtful he gets past Saskatchewan. Sorry Calgary doubt you have a shot to get this talent tackle.

    • greenenvy? // April 10, 2018 at 6:53 pm //

      Have to agree Darren. Eskimos have time to develop him as they have some guys like Roy who are coming along nicely so like Beard, another Golden Bear, they’d take a couple of years to bring him along. He’s a good fit for the Eskimos for sure.

      • MJ Bandit // April 11, 2018 at 11:55 pm //

        Korte might be a good fit for the Esks and maybe they really want to take him and would use the 1st rounder. Not so sure though, because in this O-line deep draft crop, there are IMO about 7 or 8 other O-linemen who could grade out as good or better. The Esks also have last year’s pick J-S Roy, and Mason Woods – acquired from the Argos – in the O-line mix, along with Beard & Ruby for competition. They might be tempted to look elsewhere other than O-line with the first round pick (but I’d still bet they go O-line).

  2. Yeah, some things are better left unsaid when you have no control on who selects you in the draft. 🙂 He may politely say he’d like to play in Calgary or anywhere else in the CFL but We all know he would give his eye teeth to play in his hometown.

    • Wood horse // April 10, 2018 at 9:03 pm //

      He goes to Calgary he becomes an star and wins. That is way more important to a young pro, although Edmonton is a great organization too

  3. thethinman // April 10, 2018 at 7:08 pm //

    You never know. Hufnagel has traded up twice to get the guy he wants the past 2 years . I’d be more worried about Huf than Jones. Not a stellar draft record based on results so far.

  4. Wood horse // April 10, 2018 at 9:01 pm //

    …..but wouldn’t mind playing for the Stampeders.
    That is pretty well the sentiment of every player in any draft. Why wouldn’t you want to play for the Stamps. A little hard work, you buy into what Huff and DD do, you will be a star. You will do nothing but win.
    Ask JSJ if he wished Calgary drafted him. Between being poorly coached (ask Derek Dennis) and Jones duping him him contract negotiations (also ask the now retired Cam Judge too), Calgary is way more appealing to a young prospect

  5. Undoubtetly. They have only a choke label to live up to. If you’re going any where else, “Winning IT ALL” is the required mindset. That brings a lot more pressure than ” just be good enough for second at the end of the year” and everything is good and you’ll get a raise next year.

  6. Rider fan // April 10, 2018 at 11:59 pm //

    In sask denis was playing the wrong position. He did ok the last part of the season. The contract was to big for what he was producing. This guy should probably go to his home province. Good for the fan base, play for the local team. He might get a look in the nfl

    • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 12:47 am //

      Why? He played tackle in Calgary and won top linemen in the league award. Jones and staff just don’t understand coaching, they only understand x’s & o’s, hence, 4th place in the west

      • If you are a betting man, Woody, don’t bet the mortgage on Riders finishing 4th. They have only 1 or 2 more spots to fill to become the league powerhouse, and may wind up first even with their current roster. If Collaros regains form, or Bridge continues to improve, their passing game will be pretty much unstoppable…throw in some power running to convert the second and short (oh, ya, almost forgot, from a Canuck, who some posters think are inferior) and their offence becomes formidable.

        • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 11:39 am //

          lol
          Thats a lot of ifs and buts DAKAZ. The riders have talent, but thats not enough, the Canadian base is weak
          I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on the riders finishing 4th either. It may be 5th.

          • BTW, Woody, do you even bother to look at current rosters that reflect the off-season changes? Or, do you just flap your gums? What have the Riders done that would suggest a downward spiral? Currently, given their changes, PLUS the additions/deletions of other Western teams, I would say they improve by about 3 wins…and that is without mid-season, returning, NFL flame-outs. 13-5 will get them 1st or 2nd…because Hamilton will not be everybody’s doormat this year. BC is trying desperately to improve their linemen, so they will improve, but still wind up last. Winnipeg, mostly, did it with mirrors last year, and they are getting older (see Dressler, et al) not withstanding some of their good younger players. And, can Nichols have another banner year? EE will be in the mix, not withstanding some question marks, and it remains to be seen if Cgy can replace the guys they lost…they probably take the biggest fall, likely 3rd, winning a struggle with WPG for a western playoff berth.
            And, while there may be a crossover this year, with the resurgence of Hamilton, don’t bet on it.

    • greenenvy? // April 11, 2018 at 1:06 am //

      It’ll be interesting to see who Riders play @ LT this year if Campbell doesn’t sign. Bond is about 30-40 lbs too heavy & hasn’t played there. If Bond & LaBatte are the guards, then were does Bladzek fit in, unless Clark is out & LaBatte plays center. Coleman was a backup in Edm before he went to Riders, isn’t getting any younger & moving him over may not be the answer. Right now that leaves St. John. Maybe he’s ready but he hasn’t many reps anywhere in 3 years. Interesting.

      • Can’t be sure, but methinks Campblell/Riders already have a deal in place, but for aesthetics, they won’t ink him until he is allowed to play.
        As for ST.John, this may be his make or break year. Remember, he (or his misguided agent) thought he should sign for QB money BEFORE ever playing a down at this level.
        (Now that he is sufficiently humbled, and puts in the work, he may keep a job.)
        This is the same mentality that a lot of imports (dare I mention Johnny here again, who BTW, didn’t light the world on fire in his debut) carry with them when crossing the border. I watch the TV flicks of Border Security, and I wonder if, somehow, we could get Canadian officials to treat egos the same as guns…they could then ask big-headed imports (especially QBs) to check their egos with US border guards, and pick them up on their way back home, when they get cut up here.

        • greenenvy? // April 11, 2018 at 11:09 am //

          Justin had them check guns at the border? Seriously though, if Campbell is back, that changes things drastically. A guy they need – he was good last year.

        • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 11:42 am //

          Misguided agent? More like misguided GM/HC/DC/VPFO. He pulled the same stunt with the now retired Cam Judge last year

  7. woodhorse judge is not retired get facts straight there has been no announcement of his retirement but that is right you no more than anyone else

  8. Rick, I think woodhorse noes a few thngs. 🙂

  9. BTW, I was not suggesting that ST. John was an import…only that his agent had the import mentality, which is: CFL is a snap…about on par with US high schools, or maybe, at best, backwater NCAA colleges. BIG SURPRISE!

  10. Give it a rest rocking horse A high school O lineman knows their assignments on a play call. Dennis was a pylon last year, plain and simple. Will see what 2018 holds for him.

    • Agreed. Could clock him in the forty with an egg timer.

    • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 11:44 am //

      So why was he so good in Calgary the year before??

      • Cats aren’t born fat. They become fat over time.
        When they don’t put in the work, they become fat cats, regardless of the numbers on their birth certificates.
        Saw him in practice…pretty nonchalant…”got it made” vibes. That usually signals the beginning of the end…unless a guy gets a wake-up call, and goes back to work.

      • I could care less what he did in 2016. He was good then and played far from good in 2017. Looked to me like he put on some weight and was that much slower with his kick step. When that fundamental slows down, the D has their way with any tackle, and Dennis was easy pickens. Don’t get me wrong – I like him, hope he gets his mojo back.

        • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 5:27 pm //

          Dennis has always been pretty heavy. Even if he did gain weight, Jones should have been on him to lose it! Instead he was too busy managing his media appointments regarding Vince Young and Duron Carter

  11. Hmm…I don’t see my reply to Woody…sorry if this is a repeat:
    BTW, Woody, do you even bother to look at current rosters that reflect the off-season changes? Or, do you just flap your gums? What have the Riders done that would suggest a downward spiral to last place? Currently, given their changes, PLUS the additions/deletions of other Western teams, I would say they improve by about 3 wins…and that is without mid-season, returning, NFL flame-outs. 13-5 will get them 1st or 2nd…because Hamilton will not be everybody’s doormat this year. BC is trying desperately to improve their linemen, so they will improve, but still wind up last. Winnipeg, mostly, did it with mirrors last year, and they are getting older (see Dressler, et al) not withstanding some of their good younger players. And, can Nichols have another banner year? EE will be in the mix, not withstanding some question marks, and it remains to be seen if Cgy can replace the guys they lost…they probably take the biggest fall, likely 3rd, winning a struggle with WPG for a western playoff berth.
    And, while there may be a crossover this year, with the resurgence of Hamilton, don’t bet on it.

    • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 2:57 pm //

      Thank you for you very arbitrary analysis.
      Why would you call BC’s moves desperate and your own improvements? You added age and expense while sacrificing young Canadians. That is not a recipe for success in the CFL. Besides that, you are all in on a QB on a slide with injury and concussion concerns.

      • You should seriously worry more about little Bo peep and your lack of depth at qb wood pecker.

        • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 5:29 pm //

          Why would I worry about Bo? He’s the best QB in the league.
          Depth? What about 3rd year backup Andrew Buckley? What about young prospects behind him?

          • That would go to Riley, and then Ray. Better hope Bo doesn’t get blown up – could be a long season. Don’t wish any Ill will on him….just like to hear you shut the hell up for once.

      • Because BC IS desperate! They needed wholesale changes on the line, not tweaking. And, I am not sold on Collaros, for some of the reasons that you mentioned.
        Actually, I am in the minority, but I believe that Bridge will emerge as the starter. He has an upward learning curve, whereas Collaros may have flat-lined, no pun intended.

  12. Rick Cowan // April 11, 2018 at 5:25 pm //

    Wood horse I think you need to get your facts straight Judge is not retired he is listed on the Rider’s rooster he is supposed to be at camp but you no everything about everything in the Cfl because you are a Stamps fan and they are the greatest team in the league haha

    • Wood horse // April 11, 2018 at 5:30 pm //

      He tweeted it last year. There was a story about it. Weird situation.

    • LOL! This just in: Rider honcho, CJ, in an effort to clean house, and bring in all of “his guys” has just fired Gainer; the new mascot will be a rooster…manned by the un-retired, now gainfully employed (sorry Gainer) Cam Judge…see Rick’s post above, claiming that he is on the rider rooster. Still chuckling!…or, uh…clucking!

  13. Rick Cowan // April 11, 2018 at 5:28 pm //

    Woodhorse Judge is not retired

  14. BTW, Woody, going “all-in,” especially in this league, with their “turnstile rosters” is not a bad idea. You may have heard of an obscure coach down south, Belichick, who seems to have mastered that art. Taman did the same thing, except he didn’t manage for the future too. Nevertheless, he won a home GC…and the Riders, roller-coaster seasons not withstanding, have won as many cups in the last 10 years as the Stamps.
    And, please don’t talk about their last 108 years, decades of which the West wasn’t invited to the cup…or the pre-cap days when Calgary offered an extra 20K in salary to free agents who were considering signing with the Riders. It wasn’t a level playing field…and the ignorant GMs who spent like drunken sailors came within a whisker of ending the CFL.

    • Wood horse // April 12, 2018 at 11:58 pm //

      Lets talk about the years neither Calgary or Sask win the cup. Who has had better seasons, more home playoff games??

    • Wood horse // April 13, 2018 at 12:02 am //

      lololol who are all these players who chose Calgary at +20K that would have otherwise picked the riders?
      The fact is, much like now, Calgary built their teams from within, they didn’t rely on FA’s…..nice try. Care to try again?

      • Woodpecker, you really are ignorant about the CFL. It was not a very well kept secret that, before the salary cap, Calgary would routinely offer anyone who was thinking about signing in Sask. an extra $20K. What part of that are you having trouble with? AND THOSE OFFERS WERE FOR FREE AGENTS. It is true…you can’t fix s t u p i d!

  15. And, BTW, woodpecker, home playoff games mean squat when you lose them…in fact, as you know, that is an even harder pill to swallow…losing when you should win is a bitter way to end a season.

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