Francis Bemiy grew up a fan of his hometown Montreal Alouettes during the franchise’s golden era and would love an opportunity to help the franchise return to glory.
“That’s the first brand of football I started watching,” Bemiy told 3DownNation. “I started watching CFL before I started watching NFL, so if the opportunity to (play for the Alouettes) ever came, it would be like a dream come true. Playing in front of family and friends, that’d really be a dream come true.”
The six-foot-three, 257-pound defensive lineman remembers the Als winning back-to-back Grey Cup in 2009 and 2010 and identifies Hall of Fame quarterback Anthony Calvillo and star receiver S.J. Green as his two favourite players from that era.
Bemiy started high school at Dorval-Jean XXIII on the Island of Montreal before transferring to Carnegie High School in Los Angeles, Calif. He originally planned to attend the University of Connecticut on a football scholarship, though he was unable to do so after failing to meet the school’s academic standards.
Though it appeared he might have to start his postsecondary career at the junior college level, Bemiy got a last-minute offer from Southern Utah University. He gladly accepted it and used the disappointment of missing out on his “dream school” as motivation to succeed on and off the field with the Thunderbirds.
“I didn’t take academics as seriously growing up as I should have, so the older I got, the more I realized how important it was and made sure I took care of academic stuff first before football,” said Bemiy.
There was a significant amount of culture shock that accompanied Bemiy’s move to Cedar City, Utah. The city is located a little over an hour from the tristate border between Nevada, Utah, and Arizona and features a population of only 35,000. For a bilingual Montrealer, the adjustment took some getting used to.
“You’ve just gotta adapt to it and being in Utah, I learned so much. It’s a totally different culture, different everything. Overall, I think it helped me grow as a person a lot. Honestly, if anything, I really enjoyed my time there,” said Bemiy. “It’s beautiful out there, really beautiful. If you like the outdoors, you’ll love Utah.”
The 24-year-old spent time at defensive end and defensive tackle during his collegiate career, playing as light at 250 pounds and as heavy as 270 pounds. He made 163 total tackles, 38.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and one knockdown over 49 career games.
Though he expects to start his CFL career playing more at defensive tackle, Bemiy doesn’t have a preference between the two spots.
“On the inside, it’s really gritty. You get double teams, it’s just different. On the outside, you’ve got a little more room, especially with the CFL rules you get a yard (off the ball),” said Bemiy. “I’d say that’s the main difference is how much space you have.”
Bemiy has trained with former CFL defensive lineman Marvin Golding, who told Bemiy that having the extra yard off the ball is an advantage for defensive linemen. He plans to continue working on his timing and making the most of the extra step he’ll be afforded given the yard off the ball.
Montreal has two picks in the first round of the 2023 CFL Draft, which is set for Tuesday, May 2 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Bemiy would love to have the opportunity to play at home, though his main priority is to ensure he reaches his full potential along the defensive line.
“I think I have a lot of growing to do and getting better as a player and I know I have to get stronger, faster and everything,” said Bemiy. “I think whatever team gets me, they’re gonna get someone that’s dedicated and really has a lot of growth to get better.”