A call up to the pros

Summer camp kicks off for four Gaels snagged by CFL clubs

Andrew Lue was taken 10th overall by the Montreal Alouettes in this month’s CFL Draft.
Andrew Lue was taken 10th overall by the Montreal Alouettes in this month’s CFL Draft.
Scott Macdonell joins the Ottawa RedBlacks after hauling in four touchdowns for the Gaels last season.
Scott Macdonell joins the Ottawa RedBlacks after hauling in four touchdowns for the Gaels last season.

A year after no Queen’s players were taken in the CFL Draft, four Gaels are on their way to the big show.

Receiver Scott Macdonell, defensive lineman Derek Wiggan and defensive backs Andrew Lue and Matt Webster were all drafted on May 13 and will report to their respective professional training camps in the coming weeks.

The quartet of selections marks a large turnaround, after the 2013 draft snapped a seven-year stretch in which at least one Queen’s product had been taken each year.

Lue was the first Gael off the board this year, when the Montreal Alouettes chose him with the 10th overall pick. The four-year starter at cornerback said he began preparing for the draft immediately after the Gaels’ Yates Cup loss to Western last fall.

His training focused on events tracked at the annual CFL combine — held in late March — as opposed to coverage drills and position-specific scenarios.

Lue’s efforts were evident, as he registered the highest broad jump, the fourth-fastest cone drill and the fifth-highest vertical leap at 36.5 inches.

The lead-up to the draft included filming a promo video for the league’s website and meeting with the coaching staff from every CFL team.

“It’s essentially a job interview,” Lue said. “It was very humbling to be surrounded by that level of coaching staff.”

With Alouettes training camp set to begin this week, Lue has to mature from student-athlete to pro athlete as quickly as possible.

“Approaching it as a professional is going to be a big change. Getting my head in the playbook and getting healthy are going to be big things,” he said.

Although there hasn’t yet been much time for reflection, Lue is thankful for his time in Kingston.

“Thanks to Queen’s coaching staff, athletic staff and fans,” he said. “I’m sad that it’s over but glad to be starting a new chapter.”

Three picks after Lue, Macdonell was snagged by the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks.

The receiver registered four touchdowns and 441 yards on 40 receptions during a breakout 2013 season.

Wiggan was selected by the Calgary Stampeders in the fourth round, 34th overall.

A three-time OUA All-Star, Wiggan recorded four sacks, 19 tackles and two forced fumbles in his fourth year with the Gaels.

Wiggan’s combine strategy was to demonstrate his football prowess as opposed to his physical attributes.

“I can pick up schemes quickly and I’m focused in the film room,” he said.

Going into summer camp, Wiggan will be limited to special teams play, a role he intends to excel in.

“I’ve got to kill special teams, every rep,” he said. “Show the coaches I’m competitive and get things quickly.”

Wiggan was in Kingston for the draft along with several other Gaels. Back home in Scarborough, his mother and father were watching closely.

“Parents are pretty excited,” he said. “They’re excited for what’s coming up next.” Webster was taken 39th overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he’ll join former Gaels standouts Shomari Williams and Rob Bagg.

The Calgary native registered a 4.59-second run in the 40-yard dash at the Toronto regional combine.

Due to a collarbone injury, he played in only four regular season games this year, but still recorded 16.5 tackles and two interceptions.

One Gael who appeared in early draft projections but wasn’t selected was linebacker Sam Sabourin. He had been pegged back in the fall as a likely first- or second-round pick, but due to concussion issues, he decided to end his football career with the Gaels.

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