Illinois OL Isaiah Adams tops CFL’s 2024 winter Scouting Bureau rankings

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

The Canadian Football League has unveiled their winter Scouting Bureau rankings for the 2024 CFL Draft, topped by University of Illinois offensive lineman Isaiah Adams.

The six-foot-five, 320-pound blocker has spent the last two seasons with the Fighting Illini after he began his collegiate career at Wilfrid Laurier University, starting at left tackle as a true freshman in 2019. He transferred to Garden City Community College during the pandemic, allowing him to jump to the NCAA.

The Ajax, Ontario native earned third-team All-Big Ten honours in 2022 and was All-Big Ten honourable mention in 2023. Adams was named a team captain for the Fighting Illini in 2023 and started 25 consecutive games for the program between 2022 and 2023.

Adams has risen from the fifth spot in the fall edition of the rankings to first overall. He is slated to participate in the prestigious Senior Bowl later this week and is expected to be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Quarterback Kurtis Rourke, who topped the fall list, has deferred his draft year to 2025 after transferring to Indiana University. Offensive lineman Eric Schon, previously ranked 20th, has also deferred.

University of British Columbia offensive lineman Theo Benedet remains the highest-ranked U Sports prospect, climbing from number three to the second slot.

The six-foot-seven, 305-pound right tackle was the third person in history to win the J.P. Metras Trophy as  Canada’s top collegiate lineman in consecutive seasons and the first offensive player ever to accomplish the feat. He has started every game for the Thunderbirds since his rookie season in 2019 and his impact helped usher the team to their first Vanier Cup appearance since 2015 this year.

Benedet was the lone Canadian invited to participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas last February and recently attended the College Gridiron Showcase in Texas. More than a dozen NFL teams travelled to Vancouver to watch him in person this past season.

In total, the fall prospect list includes players from 18 different schools, with UBC and Laval each boasting multiple prospects. 15 prospects are from the NCAA, four are from U Sports, and one hails from the junior college ranks. The largest position group is offensive linemen with nine prospects, with two linebackers, four receivers, three defensive linemen, and two tight ends rounding out the group.

The CFL Scouting Bureau rankings are voted on by scouts, player personnel directors and general managers from the league’s nine clubs. This is the second of three prospect rankings that will be released this season. The full winter list can be found below.

(Rank (Previous) | Name | Position | School | Hometown)

1 (5) | Isaiah Adams | OL | Illinois | Ajax, Ont.

2 (3) | Theo Benedet | OL | UBC | North Vancouver, B.C.

3 (–) | Theo Johnson | TE | Penn State | Windsor, Ont.

4 (12) | Tanner McLachlan | TE | Arizona | Lethbridge, Alta.

5 (4) | Kyle Hergel | OL | Boston College | Toronto

6 (2) | Gabe Wallace | OL | Buffalo | Salmon Arm, B.C.

7 (10) | Geoffrey Cantin-Arku | LB | Memphis | Lévis, Que.

8 (11) | Anim Dankwah | OL | Howard | Toronto

9 (8) | Giovanni Manu | OL | UBC | Pitt Meadows, B.C.

10 (14) | Melique Straker | LB | Arkansas State | Brampton, Ont.

11 (6) | Nick Mardner | WR | Auburn | Oakville, Ont.

12 (7) | Daniel Johnson | OL | Purdue | London, Ont.

13 (19) | Dhel Duncan-Busby | WR | Bemidji State | Madison, Ohio

14 (9) | Justin Sambu | DL | Baylor | Calgary

15 (–) | Daniel Okpoko | DL | San Diego State | Saskatoon

16 (13) | Christy Nkanu | OL | Washington State | Montreal

17 (16) | Ajou Ajou | WR | Garden City CC | Brooks, Alta.*

18 (–) | Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay | OL | Laval | Rimouski, Que.

19 (18) | Kail Dava | DL | Tennessee Tech | Mississauga, Ont.

20 (–) | Kevin Mital | WR | Laval | Saint-Hubert, Que.

* Eligible for the 2024 CFL Draft via games played at Clemson and South Florida