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23 Dinos have earned roster spots for CFL opening week

By Rodrigo Verney, June 23 2022

The Dinos have a long tradition in football. Their admired and respectful history shines both on and off the college scenery. As the CFL season’s first week starts, we take a look at the former Dinos that will kick off their professional careers, as making it to the league is an incredible achievement in and of itself. These young players are destined for incredible moments and an even more impressive professional career. Every Dinos fan knows that their road to greatness is only starting.

This year the Dinos honored their name as they have been the apex leader in college representation in the CFL’s opening week. An outstanding 23 former Dinos have earned spots in the CFL‘s rosters — leading the board in preparing players for the CFL as the University of Calgary has done time and time again. This year this amazing number puts them as the largest contingent from a single institution in North America.

Many have struggled to understand where this maintained excellence came from. When asked about how the U of C achieved this status, Dino’s football head coach Wayne Harris had the answer.

“It is a result of the hard work they have put in along with the great coaching they receive from our assistant coaches in their development as players,” said Harris.

The CFL opening game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Montreal Alouettes will count on the participation of nine former Dinos. This can serve as a window to their future in the league, as this great density of players will help us understand how they will operate in uncharted waters. Not only that, this game will be the CFL’s debut for the 2022 first round draft picks Jalen Philpott and Tyson Philpott — the twin brothers that due to their talent, chemistry and speed got to play three seasons for the Dinos before receiving this prestigious opportunity.

The Calgary Stampeders have been and will continue to be a second home for our beloved Dinos. This year will be no different since six more Dinos will play alongside Jalen Philpott. Although their style of play and the era that they played differ, the alumni factor is great to build solid chemistry. This is a huge factor going in for them given how concrete a team can become when their pieces are focused on winning together.

Out of the 23 former Dinos that got roster spots, two won’t be able to play as they have reported injuries. These players are Treshuan Abrahams-Webster, the defensive backer, and Micah Teitz, the linebacker — both of which would be playing outside of Alberta, for the Ottawa Redblacks and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, respectively.

The strong history of building effective offensive linemen can be seen while analyzing the number of athletes selected that played this role. Out of the 23, six of them were offensive linemen. Following a close second place, both linebacker and wide receiver were coveted positions by the CFL, as Calgary has blessed the league with eight total players operating in these two positions in the opening week. Defensive backer appears with three selections as a close third on the opening week’s 23.

This is congruent with the U of C’s history of building a great defensive team. This is one of the many reasons they won the Vanier Cup in 2019. The right pieces were certainly present on our turf offensively, but every team knows that championships are won through the defense, and being one of the top rated defenses in the college scenario left coaches scratching their heads to figure out a play to push through the Dinos’ pocket.

Just in the last 10 years, the Dinos presented the league with 50 of its players. This level of greatness is hard to sustain with so many roster changes. The secret to this achievement is to maintain a relatively constant coaching staff. This way the teachings that brought so many U of C alumni to the league can be cultivated and taught to new generations.

These CFL apparitions are simply a reflection of what is taught as a Dino football player. What brings the Dinos to the league isn’t the U of C name behind them — it’s the drive to win games and better yourself as a person and as a player. This amount of sheer will and determination is the heart of the Dinos football program and they deserve, more so than ever before, to harvest the accolades and prestige of more than 50 years of history.

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