Queen’s Gaels’ star defensive back Anthony Federico knows who he is and he isn’t afraid to say it.
“I’m a very competitive guy,” Federico told The Journal during a recent interview after being named to the second U Sports All-Canadian team. “I think deep down, this year, I should have got first team, but now it keeps me hungry.”
After coming up painfully short during this year’s Yates Cup—a game in which Queen’s fell to Western 0-29—Federico has been hard at work to continue his football career.
This winter, he was ranked 15th out of 20 prospects eligible for the 2022 CFL draft, and recently attended the College Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas—a scouting event attended by both CFL and NFL officials.
“I got a little nervous at first, for sure […] never really had a pro interview before,” Federico recalled about the process, which involved both personality interviews and practice and scrimmage sessions.
“After the first minute or so, you settle in pretty nicely, you just realize you’re talking football with someone.”
When discussing the prospect rankings, however, Federico’s competitive personality returned.
“It felt amazing, it’s something that you work towards your entire career […] but it still keeps me hungry. There are 14 guys ahead of me, it just keeps me driven.”
If his hard work pays off and he hears his name on either draft night, Federico is fully prepared for football on either side of the border. Growing up in Niagara Falls, he has an appreciation for the NFL that he isn’t shy about sharing.
“Growing up, I’ve always been a huge Bills fan, it’s where I kind of started my love for football. My next-door neighbors had a whole garage full of a huge Bills setup, so every Sunday they would walk in there and we would watch the games,” Federico recounted chuckling.
“If Josh Allen plays the way he does, our defence stays tough, we’ll be there in the Super Bowl.”
The differing sets of rules on either side of the border don’t seem to bother him either.
“Just being a football player and an athlete, you’re going to be able to adjust pretty quickly […] For me, being a defensive end, a defensive lineman, I don’t have that one yard in the States,” Federico explained, referencing the distance between the offense and defence unique to Canadian football.
“For me, being a bit of a quicker, faster guy, that’s kind of to my advantage now […] I can just get off the ball and go.”
If the NFL is looking to draw closer to its northern counterpart, however, Federico has a few suggestions for rule changes.
“I think the rouge, […] that would be really cool to see in the States. It’s one of the classic historical rules in Canadian football and I think it’s an awesome thing to have, so it would be pretty cool.”
Federico also discussed his thoughts on the different draft process in Canadian football, which allows drafted players that don’t make the team’s professional roster to return to their university teams.
“A lot of those guys in the NCAA, they’ll go in their third year thinking they’re going to make it […] Once you declare for the NFL draft, you can’t go back to college.”
Wherever his football journey takes him next, Federico knows he will be prepared. The Gaels’ product sounded confident about his future career.
“I have a great team in place […] I’m getting ready for the next step into the football world.”
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