Canadian prospects LB Grant McDonald, OL Pier-Olivier Lestage accept invitations to College Gridiron Showcase

Photo courtesy: James Hajjar

Two of the top prospects for the 2021 CFL draft are heading to the College Gridiron Showcase (CGS).

University of Calgary linebacker Grant McDonald and University of Montreal offensive lineman Pier-Olivier Lestage will be attending the event in Fort Worth, Texas.

Photo courtesy: James Hajjar

The CGS is scheduled for January 17-21 and will look to help fill the void left by a disrupted college and university football season. McDonald and Lestage haven’t dressed for a game since they played against one another in the 2019 Vanier Cup, a 27-13 victory for the Calgary Dinos.

“This past year has taken a toll on the football community and we hope the resumption of our event can help bring back at least a little sense of normalcy in these tough times,” said CGS Executive Director Jose Jefferson in a press release.

“That said, we are taking extra steps to adhere to best practices for social distancing and spread prevention. We have taken it a step further and brought Bambu Global on board to assist in devising a COVID-19 testing strategy as an extra layer of protection to help ensure the safety of all involved with the event.”

Photo credit: University of Calgary Athletics

Lestage is the No. 8 prospect on 3DownNation‘s 2021 CFL draft rankings, while McDonald is No. 13.

This year’s CGS has taken on a greater importance following the cancellation of the 2021 East-West Shrine Game, which also showcases a number of NFL and CFL prospects.

There was strong Canadian participation in the CGS earlier this year, featuring four of the first eighteen players selected in the 2020 CFL draft — defensive end Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, safety Adam Auclair, defensive tackle Cameron Lawson, and cornerback Noah Hallett.

Also in attendance were kicker/punter Marc Liegghio out of Western, receiver/tight end Rysen John out of Simon Fraser, kicker/punter Dante Brown out of Fort Hays State, and safety Stavros Katsantonis out of UBC.

Canadian players who took part in the CGS in 2019 include North Dakota running back Brady Oliveira, Laval offensive lineman Samuel Thomassin, Manitoba offensive lineman Zack Williams, UBC defensive tackle Connor Griffiths, and Ottawa cornerback Jamie Harry.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.