Top 10 CFL rookie names of 2016

With the draft in the books, we now have a fairly clear picture of how all nine teams will look come training camp. As such, I thought it would be fun to focus today’s piece on a light subject that has long-since been the interest of many CFL fans – player names.

The CFL has enjoyed a long history of fun and diverse player names. Whether it be Tom Canada, Bear Woods, Sandy Beveridge or Charles Assman, every Canadian football fan can think of at least one player for whom they cheered due to his unique or interesting name.

2015 was a good year for incoming player names in the CFL. Toronto introduced the league to cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and punter Ronnie Pfeffer, while receiver Geraldo Boldewijn and linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo made their debuts with BC and Saskatchewan, respectively. Tim Agbaje, Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, Melvin Abankwah, Ettore Lattanzio, and David Beard were all selected in last year’s draft, while Hamilton’s Tiquan Underwood and Edmonton’s John Ojo became household names.

Fortunately for CFL fans, the incoming rookie class of 2016 has even more memorable names than the class that preceded it. When players like Brennan Van Nistelrooy (DB, BC), DJ Lalama (LB, Edmonton), and Quinn Van Glyswyk (K/P, Saskatchewan) fail to crack the top-10, you know it’s a strong field.

Listed below are the top-10 incoming player names for the 2016 CFL season.

10. LB DeDe Lattimore – Saskatchewan Roughriders

If there is one way to guarantee a spot on this list, it’s having a capital letter in the middle of your first name. This South Florida product’s last name also adds value – any linebacker with a surname like ‘Lattimore’ is bound to be a hard hitter.

9. DL Ricky Osei-Kusi – Hamilton Tiger-Cats

An undrafted member of last year’s talented draft class, Osei-Kusi will have to put on a strong showing in Hamilton’s training camp to earn a spot on a loaded Tiger-Cat roster. Fortunately for Osei-Kusi, he’s already earned a spot on this list.

8. LB Samuel Eguavoen – Saskatchewan Roughriders

Anytime a name has almost twice as many vowels as it has consonants, you’re going to get a quality name. ‘Eguavoen’ is no exception.

7. OL Manase Foketi – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

According to Forebears, there are just seventeen (yes, seventeen) people on the planet with the surname Foketi. And one of them is a 320-pound man who plays in the CFL. That’s awesome.

6. OL Fou Fonoti – Toronto Argonauts

There’s just something about a 310-pound man named ‘Fou’ that makes you want to cheer for the guy. Bonus points for the alliteration between ‘Fou’ and ‘Fonoti.’

5. DL Rupert Butcher – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

This name rolls off the toungue and lends itself to a wide variety of puns – always an important factor in name likeability. The fact that Butcher is also a mountain of a man at 6’5, 335 pounds adds to his name’s menacing nature.

4. LB Arto Khatchikian – Ottawa RedBlacks

For a last name with eleven letters, ‘Khatchikian’ rolls off the tongue surprisingly well. Bonus points for Khatchikian’s first name ‘Arto’ – the Finnish version of ‘Arthur.’

3. LB Alex Ogbongbemiga – Saskatchewan Roughriders

A product of both the Calgary Dinos and the CJFL’s Calgary Colts, Ogbongbemiga’s arrival in Saskatchewan should provide a boost to Regina’s fabric and textiles industry. That is, after all, a lot of letters to buy for a season’s worth of jerseys.

2. OL Randy Beardy – Ottawa RedBlacks

Just one year after David Beard was drafted by the Eskimos, Randy Beardy enters the CFL as a fifth round pick out of Windsor. Regrettably, recent photo evidence has indicated that Beardy – unlike Beard – does not currently sport facial hair.

1. DL Ikponmwosa Igbinosun – Montreal Alouettes

Knowing his level of professionalism, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that repeating this Southern Connecticut State product’s name was a substantial part of Chris Cuthbert’s off-season training regiment. Fortunately for Cuthbert, Igbinosun has reportedly gone by ‘Ike’ on NFL rosters in the past, simplifying half of his name. Congrats to Igbinosun on earning our top spot!