Wildcats Have Fit In The CFL

James Terry: "We like him as much as anyone."

Ell Roberson: "He's the type of quarterback who fits our game."

The words were those of Fred Fatori, part owner of the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, who was at KSU Stadium Saturday to scout the Wildcats game with the Baylor Bears.
"We're looking at players here who we are pretty sure won't go in the National Football League Draft, but still players with professional potential," Fatori said. "We're looking for athletic guys with a lot of speed. Guys who if they miss the draft, or are cut as free agents, we will have taken a look at them."

Fatori thought Terry would be a mid-round NFL draft pick and that if Darren Sproles came out early, would likely be a low-round selection.

"Roberson is the type of guy who would be invited to an NFL free agent camp, but fits our game," Fatori said. "He's a more shifty kind of runner, which is what we like up here."

Mobility is a need in the CFL as the field is nearly 15 yards wider, 10 yards longer, plus with a pair of 20-yard end zones, instead of the 10-yarders in the United States.

The CFL draft follows the NFL draft by one week in late-April. The Canadian season then opens training camps in May, followed by a pair of exhibition games and an 18-game regular-season. The CFL playoffs just started with the Grey Cup set for Nov. 16.

CFL teams are allowed a 40-man roster, but 18 of those players must be Canadian-born.

In a country where hockey is king, Fatori admits, "It's a chess match to develop a roster with 18 Canadian-born players. High school football is not big at all here, and in the colleges, football is just so-so."

At the professional level, however, the game is very "fan-driven."

"We did not have a good year (five wins), but still had near sellouts for every game," said Fatori. "We averaged better than 33,000 and our stadium holds 36,000."

One of three Calgary all-CFL players this year was former Wildcat Darnell McDonald, who caught 67 passes for 1,002 yards and four touchdowns.

McDonald was a 7th-round draft selection by Tampa Bay in 1999, and since then has also been under contract with the Miami Dolphins in the NFL, the L.A. Xtreme in the Arena League, and the B.C. Lions in the CFL.

Also in the CFL this year, Michael Bishop served as a third-team quarterback of the Toronto Argonauts. Playing in four games, he completed 4 of 20 passes for 216 yards, with two interceptions and one touchdown.

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