Canadian defensive end Luiji Vilain has put himself on the NFL Draft radar with a stunning performance at the Wake Forest University pro day.
Weighing in at six-foot-four and 255 pounds, the Ottawa, ON native clocked a 4.75-second forty-yard dash with a lightning quick 1.57-second ten-yard split. The rising prospect posted 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press while jumping 35-inches in the vertical and nine-feet, 10-inches in the broad. Vilain’s three-cone time of 7.01 seconds would have ranked him third among his position group at the NFL Combine, while his 4.25-second short shuttle would have been fourth.
About 40 NFL scouts were on hand to watch the performance, which pushed Vilain physically.
“I heard a few things from previous guys, but you can work as hard as you want and nothing will get you ready for that. You’ve just got to be mentally strong,” he said in an on-field interview.
“I feel like the worst part about it is just the lead up to it. Once you get out here, once you get it going, it’s fine. You’re just doing it like you’ve been doing it, like you’ve been training for it.”
Vilain began his NCAA career as one of the highest-rated defensive line recruits in the United States following his tenure at Episcopal High School in Virginia. He originally committed to the University of Michigan, where he recorded just eleven tackles and one sack in twelve career games due to injury.
The 23-year-old transferred to Wake Forest for his final college football season in 2021 and the decision paid off. He recorded 34 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery, all of which were new career-highs.
Despite his decision to return to school and limited college production to that point, Vilain was selected in the third round of the 2021 CFL Draft, 25th overall by the Toronto Argonauts. The Boatmen hold his CFL rights in perpetuity, but after a breakout campaign, heavy interest from scouts at the College Gridiron Showcase in January, and an impressive pro day, it appears that the team will have to wait at least another year while Vilain chases his NFL dream.