A half-dozen Canadian free agents have been permitted to attend regional combines this year in the hopes of garnering interest from CFL teams.
All six players were members of the 2020 or 2021 draft classes, both of which had their combines disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Players were permitted to submit testing videos both years, though the virtual nature of the events caused some scouts to view the results with skepticism.
Allowing these free agents to participate in this year’s regional combines will allow them to perform live in front of CFL team representatives and potentially earn a contract.
The Ontario regional combine is scheduled to take place on March 10 at the University of Waterloo, the Eastern regional will be held on March 11 in Baie-D’Urfé, Que., and the Western regional will take place on March 18 in Edmonton.
Players are listed alphabetically by last name.
REC Brett Ellerman — Ontario Regional
The six-foot-five, 216-pound target went unselected in the 2020 CFL Draft but returned to the Western Mustangs for his final year of U Sports eligibility in 2021. He made 36 catches for 543 yards and one touchdown this past season and brings strong hands and experience as a holder on field goals.
DL Marshall Esokpunwu — Ontario Regional
The six-foot-four, 240-pound edge rusher went unselected in the 2020 CFL Draft and signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in July 2021, though he did not dress for any regular season games. He played 24 games over five seasons at Mount Allison University and made 48 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 quarterback sacks, and two forced fumbles.
REC Matt Gledhill — Eastern Regional
The native of Parry Sound, Ont. went unselected in the 2021 CFL Draft posted 18 receptions for 284 yards and two touchdowns in 2021 with the Acadia Axemen. The six-foot-two, 206-pound target should have the size and athleticism to contribute on special teams at the professional level.
REC Trey Kellogg — Western Regional
The former University of British Columbia Thunderbird returned to school in 2021 and made 35 catches for 372 yards and four touchdowns. The native of De Winton, Alta. also solid size at six-foot-three and 200 pounds and had his best season in 2019 when he made 40 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns.
OL Nicholas Oppong — Ontario Regional
The six-foot-four, 305-pound blocker went unselected in the 2020 CFL Draft following a solid career with the Mount Allison Mounties. The native of Brampton, Ont. played mostly tackle at the U Sports level but projects as a CFL centre or guard. The 2022 CFL Draft lacks depth at offensive line, which could help Oppong’s chances of getting signed.
DB Arjay Shelley — Western Regional
The University of Manitoba product has an intriguing frame for a cornerback at six-foot-four and 195 pounds. After going unselected in the 2021 CFL Draft, Shelley made 20 total tackles, three knockdowns, two interceptions, one tackle for loss, and one sack over eight games and helped the Bisons reach the Hardy Cup.