The first CFL regional combine of 2016 is in the books, and it's worked out very well for five players. The league announced that five of the 41 participants in Monday's regional combine in Edmonton earned invitations to the full national combine this coming weekend. Amongst them are two junior players (Alex Ogbongbemiga of the Calgary Colts and Brennan Van Nistelrooy of the Okanagan Sun), two players from the reigning CIS champion UBC Thunderbirds (Boyd Richardson and Nicholas Termansen), and one highly-touted player from the Manitoba Bison. Here's some info on each of these players from CFL.ca:
Lalama was the top player to watch in Monday’s regional combine according to CFL.ca’s Justin Dunk, and he didn’t disappoint after placing fifth in the bench press and 3-cone drill. The Manitoba product is joined by Calgary Colts defender Alex Ogbongbemiga as the two linebackers heading to Toronto next weekend.
Ogbongbemiga didn’t excel in any one drill but did enough to earn a spot on next week’s roster. He and fellow Canadian Junior Football League player Brennan Van Nistelrooy follow in the footsteps of Jermaine Gabriel and Dexter Janke as junior college players to earn invites to the National Combine after participating in a regional combine.
While Boyd Richardson is the only defensive lineman heading to Toronto from Monday’s testing, it was his UBC teammate Nicholas Termansen putting up the most impressive numbers. Termansen, a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defensive back, placed in the top five in four different categories, including first place with a 39.5-inch vertical.
Termansen also tied for first in the broad jump while placing second with a 4.65 40-time.
Rounding out the selections is Okanagan defensive back Van Nistelrooy, whose blazing 6.95 seconds in the 3-cone drill topped all participants and would have ranked second overall at the National Combine in 2015.
All of these players are promising, and they look like they'll be good fits at the national combine. They come from solid football backgrounds, too. Interestingly enough, the two CJFL players both have connections to the University of Calgary; Ogbongbemiga played for the Dinos at one point, while Van Nistelrooy is planning to play there this fall if he doesn't wind up in the CFL.
What these guys did Monday is further proof of the growing success of these regional combines, and that's particularly remarkable given where these regional combines started, as the first regional combines in 2013 produced just one national invitee each. However, it is a number that's more in line with the years since (five players advanced from the Edmonton combine alone in 2014, and four advanced last year). It's one also justified by the numbers. As Jonathan Hudson tweeted, many of these players put up results that look pretty good relative to this regional, the 2015 Edmonton regional and even the 2015 national combine.
Photo: UBC defensive back Nicholas Termansen is one of five players moving on after the Edmonton regional combine. (Anthony Houle/CFL.ca.)