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CFL

Archambault shows off strength at record-setting combine

By Kirk Penton, Winnipeg Sun

Montreal Carabins linebacker Byron Archambault (right), seen in action against Sherbrooke last season, put on an impressive show of strength Saturday at the CFL combine. (JOEL LEMAY/QMI Agency)

Montreal Carabins linebacker Byron Archambault (right), seen in action against Sherbrooke last season, put on an impressive show of strength Saturday at the CFL combine. (JOEL LEMAY/QMI Agency)

This is one of the CFL’s best draft classes, so it was no surprise to see several records smashed during Saturday’s combine testing at the Park Hyatt hotel.

Montreal Carabins linebacker Byron Archambault bench pressed 225 pounds a whopping 41 times, which were the second most in history and the record for a linebacker. Meanwhile, Simon Fraser Clan receiver Lemar Durant (26) and Manitoba Bisons quarterback Jordan Yantz (21) set new standards for their respective positions.

Archambault, who is the CFL’s 17th-ranked prospect, said his personal best in the bench press was 45, but he was still pleased with the 41 he produced Saturday.

“I’ve done a bigger number in the past, but it’s definitely a different atmosphere here, having everyone with their eyes on you,” Archambault said. “I just wanted to make sure that I could prove to the coaches, with the spotlight on me, that I could still perform and put up some big numbers here.”

He had a few fellow Carabins, who are also participating in the combine, cheering him on in the deathly quiet hotel ballroom that was filled with dozens of CFL general managers, coaches and scouts.

“I got a little tired there at 38, and then I heard the guys shout and it gave me that extra boost,” Archambault said. “I knew I had to go over 40. I told the coaches that I had in interviews I was going to do over 40 reps, so I knew I had to get it.”

Wilfrid Laurier offensive lineman Michael Knill still has the bench press record of 47, which he set in 2011, but he never played in the league.

The reason this year’s class is so strong is because the league changed its eligibility rules last year, essentially rolling two years worth of prospects into one in 2015.

UNEASY FEELING

There can’t be much more nerve wracking than being late for a job interview, which is what happened to one of the top offensive line prospects at the combine. Calgary Dinos guard Sukh Chung was bumped from his flight to Toronto on Friday and missed several interviews with teams that night.

“It was very scary,” Chung said.

The 6-foot-4, 303-pound Port Coquitlam, B.C., product said he got to the airport on time but was left without a seat because the airline put its standby passengers on before him and Dinos linebacker Adam Konar.

The problem, however, is coaches don’t care why you’re not there. They only care that you’re not there.

“That was definitely in the back of my mind right away, and that I just gotta get that cleared up,” Chung said.

He did 25 repetitions on the bench press Saturday morning and had a solid broad jump (8-foot-11.25) that had a few personnel men impressed.

QUIET GOOD

One of the best players in this year’s class is Durant, who wasn’t among the top 20 prospects on the first two CFL Scouting Bureau lists because it hadn’t been determined that this is his draft year.

This is his year, and the Coquitlam, B.C., product can’t wait to prove his worth Sunday when the players will run the 40-yard dash and compete in one-on-ones against their opposing positions at the University of Toronto.

“From what I heard from a lot of people I feel that I should be a pretty high pick,” Durant said. “Out of my position group I think I’m the top. I want to just show that I can do the things that people think I can do and prove it this weekend.”

BOOM!

Wilfrid Laurier defensive back Chris Ackie was the most explosive player Saturday, winning both the vertical and broad jump categories. Even though more stock is put in Sunday’s on-field testing, he’s hoping his showing improves his worth.

“It shows how explosive you are as a player,” Ackie said. “Maybe it shows how fast you are, how strong you are, especially lower-body strength. Hopefully it transitions to (Sunday) as well in all the linebacker and DB drills I’ll be doing.”

Ackie will do one-on-one drills as both a linebacker and a defensive back.

LATE HITS

Some teams are thinking about converting star Western defensive tackle Daryl Waud to an offensive lineman. The Seattle Seahawks also envision him on that side of the ball if they decide to bring him in for a look. Waud said he would prefer to stay on the defensive line, but he’s up for anything ... Chung, who is the CFL’s seventh-ranked prospect, attended both a NFL regional combine and its super regional in Arizona last month, which indicates he could very well get a shot south of the border ... Michigan State fullback Matt Rea must be getting combined out. He did his pro day on March 18, took part in the CFL’s Toronto regional combine Thursday and is now doing the CFL’s national combine this weekend. That means he’s done nearly 100 bench presses in the last 11 days ... Some of the top prospects who decided not to attend this weekend’s combine, choosing instead to stand on their pro day numbers, were interviewed by a group of CFL brass on Saturday morning via Skype.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/PentonKirk


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