Three football Gaels scouted at CFL camp in Toronto

Former captain Ryan Freeman signs deal with Saskatchewan Roughriders, financial terms not disclosed

Robb Bagg was one of Queen’s top receivers this season.
Robb Bagg was one of Queen’s top receivers this season.

Two weeks ago, three Queen’s football players participated in an invite-only evaluation camp for the Canadian Football League (CFL). Gaels Robb Bagg, Brad Smith and Sean O’Donnell were three of the 52 CFL prospects at the camp, held in Toronto over three days.

Each player had to take an IQ test in addition to physical and position-specific tests. The three players were generally satisfied with their performances, but O’Donnell and Smith were disappointed with a few of their results.

“I screwed up a bit on the one-on-ones,” Smith said. “I pretty much beat myself. I would literally trip over my own feet. It was a bit embarrassing.”

O’Donnell said he was competitive but didn’t play as well as he could have.

“I held my own, but I didn’t feel that I held up to my standards.”

The evaluation gives players a chance to showcase their physical abilities as well as the opportunity to interact with coaching staff and scouts before the CFL draft on May 2.

“You’ll have a hard time getting drafted if you didn’t get invited to the [evaluation camp],” Bagg said.

O’Donnell said a player’s draft chance depend not only on skill, but on what specific teams need.

“A lot of the teams I talked to at the combine said it was about how we could fit into their program and how we interacted with the coaches.”

Smith said the evaluation camp has a big impact on a player’s draft position, but that its importance varies from coach to coach.

“Some guys do really well in testing but just aren’t natural football players,” he said. “Hopefully the fact that I’ve had a pretty decent career and decent credentials will help me.”

All three players hope to be drafted, but O’Donnell and Bagg have also thought about teaching as a backup or post-football career. Smith has experience with the Montreal Alouettes working in public relations and would pursue a similar career if football fell through.

All three Gaels have another year of eligibility, but none plan on returning to Queen’s next year.

“Academically, to come back next year wouldn’t really be the smartest thing to do,” Bagg said. “Trying to get to the next level of football is something I really want to try and accomplish.”

During the same week, Gael Ryan Freeman made to the next level. The former Queen’s captain signed a deal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Freeman came back to the team for his fifth year after he wasn’t selected at the 2006 CFL draft.

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