Hec Crighton Trophy-winning QB Tre Ford, J.P. Metras winner DL Deionte Knight highlight Canadian quartet performing at Buffalo NFL pro day

Photo: U Sports & Dean Creechan/Western Mustangs Athletics. Photo edit: 3DownNation.

In an unprecedented occurrence, four Canadians have earned invites to the University of Buffalo for the program’s NFL pro day.

Canadian university football’s 2021 MVP, University of Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford leads a talented group across the border. His brother Tyrell Ford, an athletic defensive back who also played for the Warriors, along with defensive linemen Deionte Knight from Western University and Queen’s University’s Anthony Federico will perform in front of NFL scouts.

Talent evaluators from over 10 NFL franchises are expected to be on hand Thursday, March 17.

Ford’s best U Sports season came in 2018 when he completed 74.1 percent of his passes for 2,822 yards with 27 touchdowns against two interceptions in eight regular season games. He rushed 74 times for 641 yards, averaging 8.6 yards per carry, and scored two touchdowns on the ground. That production was accumulated in eight regular season games, which is the length of a Canadian university season.

Through four years at Waterloo, the six-foot, 197-pound Ford became the school’s all-time leading passer with 7,118 yards and set a program record with 56 touchdowns through the air and rushed for 2,621 yards. In 28 career games, 22 starts, Ford produced 9,739 total offensive yards. He’s an explosive athlete who runs track and posted a personal best time of 6.80 seconds in a recent Ontario University Athletics 60-metre race.

Speed runs in the Ford family and brother Tyrell uses it to cover receivers. The cover man has been named an All-Canadian twice, including after the 2021 season when he recorded 12.5 tackles, two pass breakups and one interception. He had 15 knockdowns and six interceptions through four seasons with the black and gold.

Ford was also a dynamic returner in the OUA, during his first career game in 2017 he returned two punts for touchdowns and set the single-game OUA record for punt return yards with 264. The six-foot, 200-pound speedster sits second all-time in school history in punt return yards.

Knight, who checks in at six-foot-four, 275 pounds, was the leader of the stingy Mustangs defence en route to winning the 2021 Vanier Cup. He attended the prestigious East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas in February where NFL scouts got an up-close look at him.

Knight earned the J.P. Metras Award as the outstanding lineman in Canadian university football after leading the nation with 7.5 quarterback sacks to go along with 19 tackles, nine tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery during the COVID shortened regular season in six games. The fourth year Arts and Humanities student also took a fumble recovery 12 yards for a touchdown in the Mustangs regular season finale at Windsor.

Federico posted 25 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks which ranked second in the nation for the Golden Gaels last year during the COVID shortened regular season in six games. Queen’s was dominant on the defensive side of the football, thanks in large part to Federico, producing a perfect 6-0 record while allowing an average of just 7.3 points per game.

The four young men are making history together: it’s the first time that many Canadian university football players have attended an NFL pro day in the United States.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.