Five players to watch in 52nd Vanier Cup

Laval and Calgary meet at Tim Hortons Field to play for Canadian university football’s national championship trophy, the Vanier Cup, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, live on Sportsnet.

Let’s get you set with five players worth keeping a close eye on.

1) Darius Ciraco, Calgary, offensive lineman

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The Burlington, ON native, Assumption secondary school and Burlington Stampeders product, who played for Team Canada at the 2014 U19 World Championships and got recruited by McMster, was a 2015 All-Canadian at guard for the Dinos. For the 2016 season the six-foot-four, 295-pounder moved to centre up front. Calgary’s offence was one of just five in the country that racked up more than 4,000 yards in 2016.

2) Felix Faubert-Lussier, Laval, receiver/kicker

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The fifth-year senior is looking for his third Vanier Cup triumph, after being part of the Laval teams that beat McMaster in 2012 and Calgary in 2013. A fifth-round draft pick by the Tiger-Cats, 39th overall, in the 2016 CFL Draft, Faubert-Lussier was with Hamilton until August 17 when he decided to go back to the Rouge et Or for his final USports football season. He made four receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown while knocking two of three field goal kicks through the uprights to earn Uteck Bowl MVP honours in Laval’s 36-6 victory against Laurier.

3) Jeshrun Antwi, Calgary, running back

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Laval has a stout run defence and Antwi needs to find a way to churn out some yards consistently for the Dinos’ offence to be balanced. The second-year back averaged 7.3 yards-per-carry in the regular season and he’s scored three touchdowns in as many playoff games for Calgary on the way to the Vanier Cup. If Antwi can find success pounding the rock it bodes well for the Canada West champions chances.

4) Top 2017 CFL/NFL draft-eligible prospect for Laval: Antony Auclair, tight end

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It’s rare to see a true tight end in Canadian football at any level, though that’s what position the six-foot-five, 254-pound Auclair plays most of the time. He’ll move around, lining up in the slot or out at receiver. No. 81 has garnered attention from NFL scouts for the athleticism and ability he’s displayed as a tight end. Six teams have called Rouge et Or head coach Glen Constantin to date about Auclair. And one high-ranking NFL personnel men travelled to Montreal and watched the Canadian tight end prospect in person while playing in the Dunsmore Cup, the Quebec university conference championship game.

5) Top 2017 CFL/NFL draft-eligible prospect for Calgary: Robert Woodson, defensive back

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The son of NFL and CFL linebacker Tony Woodson and younger brother of Anthony Woodson, who has suited up for the Ticats the last two seasons and played for the Dinos as a running back, patrols the secondary as the Calgary’s top cover man. He led USports with five interceptions in 2015 one the way to being named the 2015 Defensive Player of the Year in Canada West. Woodson missed the Dinos’ Mitchell Bowl win over St. Francis Xavier with an upper-body injury, but he appears ready to play in the Vanier Cup. Calgary head coach Wayne Harris Jr. says Woodson’s possibly the most athletic defensive back to ever play for the Dinos football program.

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