TORONTO (U Sports) – Antony Auclair, a tight end from Laval University, is the top-ranked U Sports player on the second prospect list released by the CFL's Scouting Bureau in advance of the league's 2017 Canadian Draft.
In total, 13 U Sports standouts cracked the second rankings of the season – one less than on Sept. 15 - including six in the Top 10.
Auclair, who recently wrapped up his stellar four-year career on the Quebec City campus, made a spectacular eight-position jump in the new rankings after he was named a unanimous RSEQ conference all-star for the second straight campaign and helped the Rouge et Or capture their record ninth national title, the second of his career. The six-foot-six, 254-pound sport intervention student caught six passes for 70 yards and one touchdown in last month's 31-26 Vanier Cup triumph against Calgary. Earlier this week, the native of Notre-Dame-des-Pins, Que., was one of two players selected to represent Canadian university football at the prestigious East-West Shrine Game in Florida, in January.
"It's flattering to see that my value has increased in the eyes of the league's decision makers," said Auclair. "However, this is only a subjective ranking, and it doesn't guarantee a selection in the draft, let alone a professional contract. I'll continue to train and work hard to get a chance to show what I can do."
The only player ranked higher than Auclair on the Scouting Bureau's December list is Montreal native Justin Senior, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive lineman from Mississippi State in the NCAA who also topped the initial rankings earlier this fall.
The other U Sports stars named to the new Top 20 are former Calgary receiver Rashaun Simonise (No. 4 / up three positions), Manitoba offensive lineman Geoff Gray (No. 5 / up six), Wilfrid Laurier defensive lineman Kwaku Boateng (No. 6 / down four), McMaster receiver Danny Vandervoort (No. 7 / down three), Montreal defensive lineman Junior Luke (No. 9 / up four), Carleton receiver Nate Behar (No. 12 / down four), McGill offensive lineman Qadr Spooner (No. 13 / down four), Laval offensive lineman Jean-Simon Roy (No. 14 / up four), Calgary defensive back Robert Woodson (No. 17 / down five), Laurier linebacker Nakas Onyeka (No. 18 / down two), St. Francis Xavier defensive lineman Kay Okafor (No. 19 / down two), as well as previously-unranked receiver Mitchell Picton of Regina (No. 20).
Boateng was the highest-ranked U Sports player back in September, trailing only Senior on the overall list, while Gray's stock rose after he was selected along with Auclair to play in the upcoming Shrine Game.
Last May, Laval offensive lineman Philippe Gagnon was the first U Sports player selected in the CFL Canadian Draft when the Montreal Alouettes called his name at No. 2. Gagnon had been ranked 15th, 13th and ninth, respectively, on the three prospect lists released over the course of the season.
Fifty-three U Sports players were selected in the 2016 CFL Draft (out of 70 total picks), including four in the first round.
NOTE: The CFL Scouting Bureau releases its rankings three times each year: in September, December and April. The Bureau is comprised of CFL scouts, player personnel directors and general managers from the league's nine teams.
CFL SCOUTING BUREAU DECEMBER 8, 2016 LIST:
Rank Name Pos. University Hometown Ht. Wt. Sept 15
1. Justin Senior OL Mississippi St. Montreal, Que. 6-5 310 1
2. Antony Auclair TE Laval Notre-Dame-des-Pins, Que. 6-6 254 10
3. Eli Ankou DL UCLA Ottawa, Ont. 6-3 325 5
4. Rashaun Simonise REC Calgary Vancouver, B.C. 6-5 190 7
5. Geoff Gray OL Manitoba Winnipeg, Man. 6-6 310 11
6. Kwaku Boateng DL Laurier Milton, Ont. 6-2 250 2
7. Danny Vandervoort REC McMaster Barrie, Ont. 6-2 204 4
8. Christophe Mulumba LB Maine Laval, Que. 6-1 245 6
9. Junior Luke DL Montreal Montreal, Que. 6-3 288 13
10. Mason Woods OL Idaho Port Coquitlam, B.C. 6-9 320 15
11. Faith Ekakitie DL Iowa Brampton, Ont. 6-3 290 14
12. Nate Behar REC Carleton London, Ont. 6-0 195 8
13. Qadr Spooner OL McGill Brossard, Que. 6-4 314 9
14. Jean-Simon Roy OL Laval Quebec City, Que. 6-3 285 18
15. Dariusz Bladek OL Bethune-Cookman Kissimmee, Fl. 6-4 308 NR
16. Jordan Herdman LB Simon Fraser Winnipeg, Man. 6-2 235 NR
17. Robert Woodson DB Calgary Calgary, Alta. 5-11 197 12
18. Nakas Onyeka LB Laurier Brampton, Ont. 6-0 210 16
19. Kay Okafor DL StFX Enugu, Nigeria 6-4 275 17
20. Mitchell Picton REC Regina Regina, Sask. 6-2 205 NR
* Simonise played for the University of Calgary from 2013-2015 but was not on the Dinos' 2016 roster