The East-West Bowl is a prime opportunity for the next crop of draft-eligible players to strut their stuff. Standing out can go a long way to earning the attention of scouts and improving future draft stock.
Below are six players who stood out during Saturday’s contest.
DL Mathieu Betts, Laval
It was no surprise to see the two-time J. P. Metras Trophy winner dominate the line of scrimmage on Saturday. Lining up at every position along the defensive line, Betts was a disruptive force on virtually every down. Betts recorded one of the game’s two touchdowns when he tore the ball away from quarterback Michael O’Connor and returned it 45 yards for a score.
LB Philippe Dion, Western
Dion showed impressive flashes of speed during the game on both defence and special teams. The undersized Dion will have more opportunity to show what he can do this season following the departure of Western teammate Jean-Gabriel Poulin to the Montreal Alouettes.
OL Eric Starczala, Guelph
Starczala held his own against Mathieu Betts in a number of one-on-one match-ups from his right tackle spot. He didn’t test very well in the quickness drills, but, at 335 pounds, Starczala can afford to shed some weight in order to improve his mobility at the next level.
RB Jamel Lyles, Manitoba
Lyles has a similar frame to Manitoba product Kienan LaFrance — but with better quickness. His game-winning touchdown run in the fourth quarter was electrifying. Already a productive ball-carrier, Lyles could improve his draft stock for next season by increasing his production as a receiver out of the backfield.
DB Malcolm Lee, UBC
There wasn’t a lot of passing on Saturday afternoon, but Lee made the most of the few opportunities he had to work in pass coverage. Fast, physical, and long, Lee reminds some scouts of Wilfrid Laurier defensive back Godfrey Onyeka, recently drafted tenth overall by the Edmonton Eskimos.
REC Colton Hunchak, York
Hunchak was the favorite target of star UBC pivot Michael O’Connor when the West team was driving for a late-game score. Improving his speed will help his draft stock next season, but it speaks volumes that Hunchak became his club’s top target at the game’s most critical moments. The York product recorded three receptions for 38 yards.
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