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Two USports defensive lineman selected to big-time U.S. college all-star game

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Canadian defensive linemen, Laval’s Mathieu Betts and Calgary’s Joel Van Pelt have received invites to the prestigious East-West Shrine Game.

It’s the oldest American college football all-star showcase and has served as an NFL launching point for Canadian players such as tight end Antony Auclair (Bucs), defensive lineman David Onyemata (Saints) and offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (Chiefs) in recent years.

For more than three decades, at least two Canadian university players have been invited to the annual event in Florida. It features a week of practices in front of NFL and CFL coaches and scouts followed by a game broadcast on the NFL Network. This year’s contest takes place on Jan. 19.

Betts is the first player to win the J.P. Metras Trophy as the outstanding down lineman three straight years while becoming the only athlete ever to win four major USports awards during his career (he was also named 2015 rookie of the year). He led USports with nine sacks and 14 tackles for loss in just six games during the 2018 season. Betts holds the Quebec University conference record with 35.5 sacks in four seasons. Three NFL teams came to Laval’s campus for a closer look at the do-it-all defensive lineman throughout the season.

Van Pelt had a strong fifth and final USports season with 28 tackles, 10 more for loss, six sacks and forced two fumbles while earning the Canada West conference outstanding lineman award. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats draft picked was a key player for the Dinos defence which was the stingiest unit out west.

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Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.

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