Last year saw four Queen’s players taken in the CFL Draft, but only one is on his way to the pros this time around.
Defensive back Brendan Morgan was drafted 15th overall by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the second round of the 2015 CFL Draft in Toronto. His selection represents a silver lining in what was otherwise a disappointing season for Morgan.
After recording 16 tackles through his first two games, the third-year student was deemed academically ineligible by the CIS for failure to enrol in the minimum number of classes. The decision resulted in the forfeiture of Queens’ first win against Windsor and his suspension for the rest of the 2014 season.
“I didn’t play [much] in my draft season, so I obviously thought that might have lowered my stock and my value,” Morgan said. “I didn’t expect to get picked in the second round, so I’m just grateful.”
Despite playing just two games for Queen’s in 2014, Morgan was the second defensive back taken in the draft, with nine out of the first 14 picks being used on offensive or defensive linemen.
The defensive back’s athleticism was enough to impress the Blue Bombers as his football prowess showed during the CFL Combine. Morgan ran an impressive 4.57 second 40-yard dash. He also registered a 10 feet, 2.5 inch broad jump and a 36-inch vertical jump.
Morgan trained heavily for the combine, working with the head strength and conditioning coordinator at Queen’s, and training with former Gaels Matt Webster, Scott Macdonnell and Rob Bagg on weekends. His training focused on all aspects of the drills, but one area that received extra attention was his 40-yard dash. Morgan looked to improve on his previous performance at the East-West Bowl last season, where he ran a 4.73.
“I wasn’t upset with it [the 4.57 40-yard dash],” he said, “it was a long way from the 4.73 I ran.”
Following the combine, the draft process continued with interviews involving the coaching staff and front office of every CFL team.
“The coaches try to get you with some tough questions and put you on the spot,” Morgan said, “but all in all they went well.”
He credited Gaels’ coaching staff, notably head coach Pat Sheahan, for guiding him in the process and helping him deal with his lost season.
“After I found out I wasn’t going to be able to play, he made an effort to get my name out there,” Morgan said. “He made sure I could pursue an opportunity to play in the CFL.”
With training camp set to begin May 30, the transition from student-athlete to professional is underway. Morgan has already begun preparing for the move to Winnipeg in his attempt to crack the opening-day roster. If he doesn’t make the lineup in training camp, Morgan has plans to return to Queen’s under a season of full eligibility.
“I’m happy and looking forward to what’s in Winnipeg,” Morgan said. “It’s going to be fun.”
The Blue Bombers kick off their season June 26th.
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