Onyeka brothers holding strong in CFL prospect rankings

Godfrey Onyeka wouldn’t be surprised if there are five members of his family playing in the Canadian Football League one day.

Onyeka, a defensive back from Laurier, is ranked sixth while his brother, Carleton defensive lineman Kene Onyeka, is 14th on the most recent list of the top 20 prospects for May’s CFL draft.

Their cousin, linebacker Nakas Onyeta, is already in the CFL. He was drafted 37th overall by Toronto last spring and played mainly on special teams on the CFL champion Argonauts.

Another cousin, linebacker Kosi Onyeka who Godfrey says may be the best of them all, plays at Guelph, while another cousin is still in high school.

“We’re all relatively athletic and we all just have a little aggression in us that you need to be a football player,” Godfrey said Wednesday on a conference call of their family from Brampton, Ont. “So there are five of us in total who play football and can play at a relatively high level.

“I don’t know if you’ve met Nakas. Nakas is crazy, passionate and competitive. My little brother’s a little more subdued but he’s competitive as well. We all push each other and it’s been nice. No one wants to be the worst player in the family kind of thing.”

The top three on the list released Wednesday were unchanged from the CFL Scouting Bureau’s September rankings, with three offensive linemen on top.

Six-foot-nine, 315-pound David Knevel of the University of Nebraska kept top spot followed by Trey Rutherford of Connecticut and Ryan Hunter of Bowling Green.

Still another offensive lineman, Peter Godber of Rice, was ranked fourth while defensive lineman Julien Laurent of Georgia State was fifth.

Godfrey Onyeka, who dropped two places from the September rankings, was the top-rated player from a Canadian university.

Receiver Rashaun Simonise of the University of Calgary, receiver Regis Cibasu of the Universty of Montreal, offensive lineman Darius Cireco of Calgary and receiver Mark Chapman of Central Michigan rounded out the top 10.

Chapman, a receiver at Central Michigan, didn’t make the list in September. Neither did offensive lineman Matt Korte of Alberta, now ranked 12th.

“Obviously it’s a deep class, especially for offensive linemen,” said Korte. “Just to be on this list with a bunch of great players, I’m very happy about it.”

Korte was part of a Golden Bears football program that battled to a 3-5 record and a playoff spot after many years at the bottom of the standings.

“A big reason I went to U of A – I wanted to be part of building something fresh,” he said. “It was a huge year for us to finally crack into the playoffs and have some big personal achievements as well.

“Our running back (Ed Ilnicki) winning the Hec Crighton was really big for all of us.”

Another big mover was defensive back Jackson Bennett of Ottawa, rising from 19th to 13th.

“I feel like it’s definitely a sign of progression in a positive direction,” said Bennett. “I guess last season I was able to do a few things right.

“Obviously there’s room for improvement, but really it’s a blessing to be among the top 20 in the country.”

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