Daniel Abeboboye believes facing American competition will help him become CFL success

Photo courtesy: Thomas Skrlj/CFL.ca

Canadian running back Daniel Adeboboye believes that playing against American competition over four seasons at Bryant University will help him make an impact at the professional level.

“I played against top competition in America. I played against some really good players — that’s not to say that U Sports (in Canada) doesn’t have good players — but the guys that I played against, I kinda know the competition that I was at and the level I was performing, so it is what it is,” said Adeboboye in an interview with 3DownNation.

“I played against Americans so in a way I kind of have that advantage over Canadians just because they say there’s American players and there’s Canadian players. Most of my football career I’ve played against Americans so I’m just a citizen of Canada which kinda helps out.”

The Toronto native turned heads at the 2022 CFL Combine this past weekend, leading all 53 Canadians in attendance with 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He also finished top-five in the vertical jump (37.5 inches) and top-ten in the broad jump (123 inches).

“I’m a guy who likes to work out, so coming out here today is something that I’ve been working on for years. This is just finally my chance to show everyone who I am and the work that I put in. It’s nothing new to me, it’s just good to finally get out here and get it done,” said Adeboboye.

The five-foot-ten, 218-pound ball carrier rushed 383 times for 1,816 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 49 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns at Bryant, a small private school in Smithville, Rhode Island. He shared the backfield this past season with Ottawa native Fabrice Mukendi, who rushed for 652 yards and nine touchdowns in eleven games as a freshman.

“(Bryant) recruited me out of high school and they showed me the love that I was looking for in a school. They have great facilities, great coaches, great training staff and all that, so there was no reason for me not to go to Bryant University,” said Adeboboye.

“I love (Mukendi). He’s a hard-working running back and he kinda plays similar to me. In the coming years he’s definitely going to be here and he’s going kill it just as much as me if not even better.”

Adeboboye is part of a tight-knit family. His father, Dr. Tai Adeboboye, is the lead pastor at Wilmar Heights Baptist Church in Scarborough, Ont. with a doctorate in theology.

“My dad is the biggest fan of all of my siblings. Him and my mom were always at our games, always cheering us on, always posting on social media and that’s just the kind of guy he is. He’s always going to show love to the people he knows and that’s just what he is. He’s not afraid to show his true colours and who he is and I’m just glad to have him in my corner because the advice that he gives me, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Adeboboye.

Adeboboye is the second-youngest of four children. His older brother, Adam, was a receiver at York University who attended the CFL combine in 2017, though he went unselected in the annual pickfest.

Daniel is expected to be a mid-round pick, though he has the potential to slide into the draft’s top rounds if a team sees him as a future potential ratio-breaker at running back. He interviewed with eight teams at the combine — the ninth, Calgary, will interview him at a later date over Zoom — and is prepared to contribute however he’s asked to at the CFL level.

“Even if I played running back or special teams, I’m kinda that guy who’s just going to go out there and play hard and do what he does. It’s a reflection of who I am and the people that put their trust in me.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.