CFL Combine 2023: Which Global Players stood out?

Edmonton, Canada played host to over 100 CFL prospects this past weekend all competing for a shot at their pro-football dreams hoping to catch the eyes of CFL scouts and improve their stock for the upcoming CFL Draft. Competing alongside the Canadian prep standouts with U Sports and NCAA experience, 21 global prospects made the long journey to the Edmonton Elks facility hungry for the same dream.

Let’s take a look at some of the Global prospects that likely improved their draft stock after an impressive CFL Combine showing both in shorts during testing, and in pads during drills. These players could hear their names called on May 2nd as all CFL teams will look to pick up international talent in the CFL Global Draft.

DT Hidetora Hanada (Japan) – 6’1 280

The former Sumo wrestling champion put up 26 reps on the bench press while showing good explosiveness on the vertical leap. In 1-on-1’s Hanada showed quick feet and excellent technique given his minimal football experience. He used his hands well and showed both power and quick twitch athleticism that certainly caught the eyes of scouts.

LB Lino Schröter (Germany) 6’1 236

Schröter, a former member of the Cologne Crocodiles showed rare athleticism putting together a impressive day running a 4.71-40 yard dash, 4.34 shuttle, while jumping a 34.5 inch vertical and putting up 23 reps on the bench press. The NFL IPP prospect could be a late round sleeper in the CFL Global Draft this year being one of the younger prospects of the group. Below are Schröter’s stats from the MPC combine held in Germany earlier this month.

WR Ryota Miyazawa (Japan) 5’9 177

The sure handed receiver was a standout for JF Oberlin University in Japan’s established college football scene, so much so, he earned himself a Hula Bowl Invite in 2021. This past week, Miyazawa put together a solid performance catching the ball well while showing good speed running a global best, 4.60 40-yard dash, along with a strong 4.33 shuttle and 32 inch vertical.

DL Max Parkinson (UK) 6’3 276

Parkinson is coming off of a national championship with the University of West England Bullets in the UK’s college football scene. The Brit was clearly the winner of the athletic testing portion of the combine running a blazing fast 4.74 40-yard dash. He coupled that speed with explosiveness logging a bouncy 31-inch vertical and 9’9 broad jump. Parkinson also ended up tied for first (with global DL Ta’ala Blessman) in the bench press notching 29 reps of 225.

LB Emmanuel Falola (UK) 6’1 223

Falola recently signed with the Prague Lions of the European League of Football but his athletic traits could see him taking his talents to Canada this summer. The former Bristol Aztec had the top vertical leap at the combine jumping 39.50 as well as running a 4.80 40-yard dash, 4.53 shuttle, and putting up 20 reps on the bench press.

DT Blessman Ta’ala (American Samoa) 6’1 291

The big man out of Hawaii brought his strength to Edmonton repping out 29-reps of 225 for the best number at the event. Ta’ala ran a solid shuttle at 4.69 and jumped a 30-inch vertical showing he has the athleticism to match his strength. In padded drills the college football vet looked savvy as he’s racked up 64 games with the Rainbow Warriors finishing his long NCAA career with a eye popping numbers for a defensive tackle, notching 142 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, four sacks, and two blocked kicks.

RB Atsumu Endo (Japan) 5’9 193

Endo showed elite quickness recording the fastest short shuttle at the 2023 CFL Combine with a time of 4.15 seconds. The speedy tail back is a recent X2 (D2 Japan) champion with the Dentsu Caterpillars of the Japanese X-League. He also recorded 13 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, a 4.81 forty-yard dash, 34-inch vertical jump, 7.08-second three-cone, and nine-foot, seven-inch broad jump.

LB Julian Baldi (Italy) 6’0 227
The lone Italian tweaked his hamstring during the 40-yard dash putting a blemish on his numbers. Baldi did jump 32 inches on the vertical leap as well as record a 4.48 shuttle. However, the Valdosta State (NCAA D2) product looked best in drills showing pass rushing prowess and the technique you’d expect from a college football veteran.

Honorable Mentions

RB Daisuke Kato (Japan) 5’10 193

Japanese running back Daisuke Kato put together a solid performance leaping a 30.50 inch vertical as well as a 4.73 40-yard dash. Kato is a veteran of the X-League playing for the IBM Big Blue.

DE Alejandro Fernandez (Spain) 6’1 233

Fernandez was probably hoping for better testing numbers, however the ELF-All Star looked good in drills, showing off a wicked spin move.

LB Ludvig Myren (Sweden) 6’0 208

The Swede ran a 4.79 40-yard dash as well as a 4.26 shuttle, one of the best linebacker times at the combine. Myren last played for the Berlin Thunder in the ELF putting up 93 tackles and 11 tackles for a loss.

Full Global Results Here


Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and