Former top-ranked NCAA recruit Antonio Alfano could be eligible for 2024 CFL Draft: sources

Photo courtesy: Antonio Alfano/BuffZone

This year’s CFL draft class could soon include a prospect who was once one of the most sought-after high school players in the United States.

Antonio Alfano recently declared for the NFL draft following a nomadic collegiate career. 3DownNation recently learned that the defensive lineman’s mother was born in Toronto and, per his agent, multiple CFL teams have contacted him about applying for national status north of the border.

As of last week, Alfano had not submitted his paperwork to the CFL and it remains unclear if he plans to do so. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, April 23 with the draft set for the following week. If he files after the deadline, it’s possible that a supplemental draft could be held at some point in 2024.

The native of Livingston, N.J. was the fifth-ranked prospect in the United States coming out of Colonia High School in 2019. Three of the players ranked ahead of him — Nolan Smith, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Derek Stingley Jr. — have since been taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Among those ranked behind him were Evan Neal, Garrett Wilson, Travon Walker, George Pickens, and Charles Cross, all of whom are high-profile NFL players.

The six-foot-four, 285-pound defender originally committed to the University of Alabama, though he never played for the team. Nick Saban, who was then the head coach of the Crimson Tide, accused Alfano of quitting on the program, though Alfano’s father came to his son’s defence on social media, claiming Antonio had stepped away due to the ill health of his grandmother.

Alfano transferred to the University of Colorado in the spring of 2020 but was suspended shortly thereafter for violating team rules. He was reinstated by the time the season got underway in the fall but didn’t play any games. Alfano told the media that he was diagnosed with epilepsy shortly after arriving in Colorado and wasn’t medically cleared to play as he was experiencing seizures, though it remains unclear if this is why he didn’t dress for any games with the Buffaloes.

The defender transferred to Independence Community College in Kansas during the spring of 2021 but never played with the team for reasons that also remain unclear.

After a stint out of football, Alfano made his long-awaited collegiate debut in 2023 at Lackawanna College, a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) program in Scranton, Pa. He made 14 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, one pass knockdown, and one forced fumble over five games, garnering fresh scholarship offers from several top NCAA programs, including Southern California, Oregon, Nebraska, Auburn, Miami, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.

The 23-year-old posted on social media in November 2023 that he planned to commit to Lousiana State University, though he decided against it six weeks later, forfeiting his remaining collegiate eligibility to enter this year’s NFL draft.

According to a video of his recent pro day, Alfano ran a 5.00-second forty-yard dash, 4.35-second short shuttle, 7.43-second three-cone drill, leaped 38 inches in the vertical jump, and 122 inches in the broad jump. Though he was heavier coming out of high school, a CFL source indicated that Alfano currently weighs just over 250 pounds.

The pro day was attended by at least one CFL scout as Ric Serritella, the creator of NFL Draft Bible who was recently hired by the Edmonton Elks, is based in New Jersey where the event took place.

This report includes notes from TSN’s Duane Forde.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.