Argos’ QB Nick Arbuckle ‘a different athlete’ than 2019, can now dunk a basketball

Photo courtesy: Toronto Argonauts

Toronto Argonauts’ quarterback Nick Arbuckle has completely transformed his body since the 2019 season, which is bad news for opposing defences.

“I’m athletically in the best shape that I’ve ever been in in my entire life,” said Arbuckle in a videoconference. “I’ve been able to dunk a basketball for the first time in my life like two weeks ago and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been before. I’m stronger now at 207 pounds than I was at 225 pounds.”

Arbuckle was a backup for three seasons in Calgary and started seven games in 2019 with Bo Levi Mitchell out due to injury. The 27-year-old passed for 2,103 yards, eleven touchdowns, and five interceptions, leading the team to a 4-3 record.

“I’m feeling mobile and I can throw all day without my arm getting tired. From an athletic standpoint, I’m a different quarterback — a different athlete — than I was the last time I stepped on the field,” said Arbuckle.

The Georgia State product showed impressive pocket quickness in 2019 but rarely took off to run, which is something Calgary discourages its quarterbacks from doing. He recorded 27 carries for 76 yards and four touchdowns but it sounds like we may see more dual-threat ability from him in 2021.

“I was blessed with the opportunity to continue training. I never had to take any time off,” said Arbuckle. “I’ve been in a full-go off-season for a year-and-a-half. I feel that much physically and mentally better as a quarterback than I would have been in 2020 if we had a season and training camp back in May.”

Arbuckle was traded to the Ottawa Redblacks in January 2020 and signed a two-year contract extension with the team. He was cut in January 2021 due to a contract dispute and signed almost immediately with the Argos where he’s looking to become the face of the franchise.

Veteran passer McLeod Bethel-Thompson is trying to win the starting job as well and it’s unlikely we’ll find out who Toronto’s No. 1 quarterback is long before their first regular season game on August 7.