Ravens football players prepared for CFL draft

The Canadian Football League (CFL) Combine is the signature event leading up to the CFL Draft for the nation’s best prospects to show what they can bring to any of the league’s nine teams.

Five Carleton Ravens football players were invited to compete at this year’s CFL Combine held from March 23-25 in Regina, Sask., while the 2017 CFL Draft will be held on May 7.

The competing Ravens were wide receivers Nate Behar and Malcolm Carter, offensive lineman Kwabena Asare, and defensive backs Nathaniel Hamlin and Tunde Adeleke.

Behar is widely viewed as the top prospect at Carleton, based on the previous CFL Draft rankings, and could become the first Raven drafted into the CFL since 1995.

“I am so proud of the guys and I think we did a lot for the school. I think we put it on the map,” Behar said.

Behar, made famous by his game-winning Hail Mary catch in the 2014 Panda Game, performed strongly at the combine.

Despite topping all competing wide receivers in both the bench press, with 22 repetitions of 225 pounds, and the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.61 seconds, Behar said he performed below his personal standards.

With the combine behind him, he said he will continue to train in preparation for the start of his professional career.

“You can make it on work ethic and you can have a chance to make it off talent, but the guys you see that have their names remembered 20 years later usually have a combination of both,” Behar said. “I am not saying I am there yet but that is where I want to be.”

In addition to the CFL Combine, Asare also competed at a National Football League (NFL) Regional Combine in Minnesota earlier this year. He said the CFL Combine was a bigger deal for him because of the sense of camaraderie he felt there.

“It was good to see where I stack up against some of the nation’s best and have a fun time doing it,” Asare said.

Hamlin said he felt that camaraderie as well and was happy with what he was able to show the nine CFL coaching staffs.

“I was pretty nervous for the coach interviews, but once you get into the workout, the nervousness kind of goes away,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin previously went to St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School, along with Adeleke, and described their journey together as both fun and difficult.

The two have been described as having contrasting skillsets at the cornerback position, with Adeleke possessing blazing speed and Hamlin being labeled as an all-around shutdown corner type. Adeleke posted the overall fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine, finishing in a time of 4.58 seconds.

“He is a really talented guy,” Hamlin said. “It has been kind of crazy to go through this whole process with him.”

The lead up to any professional league draft always involves experts’ takes on the incoming prospects, including draft rankings and mock drafts. Behar previously tweeted an extended “hahaha” in reaction to his fall from eighth to twelfth in December’s CFL Draft rankings.

“I have been told to pay less attention,” Behar said with a laugh. “I know what I am able to do and that is what I am focusing on now.”

As far as Hamlin goes, he said he doesn’t worry about where other people say he stacks up.

“Good to know that scouts and coaches are talking about you, but other than that, I just try to tune it out,” Hamlin said.

In anticipation of the draft, Asare described it as nerve-wracking.

“All you can do is just train, but I am looking forward to that day when my name is called. It is going to be a happy day,” Asare said.

– File photo