Five Bisons drafted to CFL
Five UM Bison football players were selected in the 2014 Canadian Football League (CFL) Draft on Tuesday, May 13.
Third year Anthony Coombs, third year Evan Gill, third year Thomas Miles, fifth year Andrew Smith, and fifth year Nick Boyd were selected. The 2013 Canada West finalist Manitoba Bisons were tied for third most players selected by any one school during the 2014 CFL Draft.
It was a historic draft as this was the first time in the CFL Draft that two Manitoba Bisons were selected in the first round. In addition, this was the highest place for a Bison running back and first time Manitoba has been selected in a first round since 2003 (5th overall by the Calgary Stampeders – Wes Lysack [DB]). There was only two other Bisons selected in the first round prior to 2014 and they were 2nd overall (1st round) by the Calgary Stampeders – Randy Ambroise in 1985 and 7th overall (1st round) by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Bob Kraemer in 1971.
The Toronto Argonauts selected Coombs in the 1st round (3rd overall). Coombs, 21, has impressed on both offence and special teams during his three playing seasons with the Bisons. He has been named Canada West All-Star for three consecutive seasons (2011-13) and also a two-time CIS First Team All-Canadian in 2011 and 2013 plus a CIS Second Team All-Canadian in 2012 campaign. In his three seasons (excluding red-shirt year in 2010), the Winnipeg named has rushed for 2,218 yards with 29 overall touchdown (17 rushing) with a 7.5 rushing average plus 51 receptions for 840 yards and 11 TDs.
The 5’9″, 190 lbs. versatile player also has scored a 98 yard punt return and added the longest conference run of 107 yards in 2013. His 2013 season was his best statistically as Coombs started in all eight conference regular season games and led CIS and Canada West in all-purpose yards with 1,696 (212.0 average per game) while second in CIS and conference rushing yards at 1,015. In addition, he was third in CIS (second in Canada West) with 11 overall touchdowns and added 509 receiving yards in 2013. The Science student-athlete was in his fourth year of studies and played at Sturgeon High School in Winnipeg prior to joining the Bisons.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats selected Gill in the 1st round (9th overall). Gill, 21, is a defensive tackle and finished his third season at Manitoba (red-shirted in 2010) in the 2013 season and completed his second season at defensive tackle after starting his university career at defensive end in 2011.
The Winnipeg native was a 2013 Canada West All-Star for the first time after finishing with 28.5 total tackles (fifth best on team) with 7.5 tackles for losses (tied for second in Canada West) along with 3.0 sacks (tied for seventh in conference) along with two break-ups with one forced fumble and one blocked kick while playing in all eight conference regular season games in the 2013 campaign. Gill was the West CIS representative at the 89th East-West Shrine Game in January 2014.
The 6’3″, 280 lbs. defensive tackle has accumulated 84.0 tackles (16.5 tackles for losses) with 7.5 sacks, five break-ups, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick in his three seasons at Manitoba and has not missed a game during the last 24 conference regular season games and three conference playoff contests. Gill was also part of the winning World Team at the 2012 International Bowl in Texas and participated on the winning West roster during the 2013 East West Bowl. The Arts student-athlete was in his fourth year of studies and played at Churchill High School in Winnipeg prior to joining the Bisons.
The Toronto Argonauts selected Miles in the 4th round (33rd overall). Miles, 21, is a linebacker and long snapper and has made an impact over his three playing seasons at Manitoba. In 2013, the Winnipeg native had his best statistical season as he was ninth in Canada West with 40.0 total tackles (33 solo) and added one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while playing in all eight conference regular season games. In 2012, the 6’1″, 220 lbs. player registered 30.5 tackles (22 solo), good for seventh on the team with one fumble recovery and did not miss a game in the regular season. He missed the 2011 season due to injury and his rookie campaign with Manitoba was in 2010 when he played in all eight regular season games and contributed 16. 5 total tackles (10 solo) with one fumble recovery. The Arts student-athlete was in his fourth year of studies and played at Churchill High School in Winnipeg prior to the Bisons.
The Montreal Alouettes selected Smith in the 4th round (35th overall). Smith, 25, was a slotback who had a breakout season with Manitoba in 2013. The 6’1″, 200 lbs. player was named a team captain in 2013 and finished seventh in Canada West in receiving yards with 604 and tied for ninth in conference receptions with 32 plus added four touchdowns while playing in all eight conference regular season games. In his rookie season with the Bisons in the 2012 season, the Nanaimo, BC native was third on the team with 352 receiving yards with 15 catches (23.5 avg.) with two TDs while playing in all eight conference regular season games. He played with the Vancouver Island Raiders in BC junior football before arriving at Manitoba.
The Montreal Alouettes selected Boyd in the 5th round (43rd overall). Boyd, 25, completed his two seasons at Manitoba at the place kicking and punter position. In the 2013 season, the Vancouver native was second in Canada West in punting average with 42.0 average plus fifth in conference field goal percentage at 69.2% (9/13) and ended up fourth I conference kick scoring at 65 points. In his first year at Manitoba in 2012, Boyd was third in field goal percentage in the conference at 61.5% (8/13) and second in Canada West kick scoring with 58 points. He played with the Langley Rams in BC junior football before arriving at Manitoba.
“Speaking for the whole staff, we are extremely proud of the five Bisons selected by CFL teams” Bison Football head coach Brian Dobie said. “They are all well deserved and each of them has worked hard for this moment. It speaks to the level of our team and program and the work they are putting in to receive this national recognition.”
The five Bisons selected in a CFL Draft are tied for the third most total in team history (2008), behind eight players picked in 1971 and seven players in 2002.