The final stop on the CFL Global Combine tour in Europe kicks off Sunday, January 26 in Frankfurt, Germany as the Canadian Football League and German Football League collaborate on the biggest of the combines to date.
A total of 44 athletes will be on hand at the Landessportbund Hessen complex in Frankfurt to be scrutinized by CFL Director of Global Scouting Greg Quick, CFL COO and Director of Football Operations, Greg Dick, Senior Director of Football Operations Ryan Janzen, Lawrence Hopper from Football Operations along with a cast of football coaches and scouts from Germany.
This will be by far the largest contingent of athletes which will make the work of Quick and his crew that much more difficult.
Four quarterbacks will be taking part, including Austrian national team quarterback Alexander Thury.
Among the prime candidates for a spot on a CFL roster is Austrian linebacker Dustin Illetschko, one of the top defensive players in Europe. The 6′, 230 lb native of Vienna, Austria, was the fifth leading tackler in the German Football League this past season while playing for the Frankfurt Universe tallying 144 tackles, averaging 10.5 a game. Another linebacker who could be a long shot is Cologne Crocodiles Marius Kensy, 6’1″, 240 pounds, the second-leading tackler on the team. A defensive back to keep an eye on is Till Janssen from the Potsdam Royals.
With so many players competing at each position, the one on one drills will have some added spice.
With the CFL scouts assessing factors such as special teams abilities, coachability and confidence as well as athletic and football skills, there will be no easy choices:
“We know that the skill players will stand out some in the testing,” said Greg Quick. “But we are trying to make sure we find athletes who will impact the success of a team on and off the field. Thiadric Hansen is a perfect example. He could do more than jump 38″ . He was also a great teammate and understood his role. In other words, we want to make the intangibles, tangible.”
So far, five players have been chosen from the CFL Global Combines held in Finland, Sweden, and France. From the Finnish combine, Micky Kyei and Sebastien Sagne were selected and from the combine in Sweden, defensive back William James.
The French combine produced receiver Anthony Mahoungou and defensive back Tony Anderson, both who have attended NFL camps. From the camp in Italy, linebacker Lorenzo Dalle Piagge has emerged with an invitation to Toronto.
The top players will be invited to Toronto from March 26-28 for the 2020 CFL Combine which will feature international prospects competing alongside their young Canadian counterparts from U SPORTS, the NCAA and junior football. The league’s biggest scouting event will be followed by two separate drafts in the spring – one for global players and one for Canadians. These combines represent a tremendous opportunity for these players who would otherwise never had a chance to showcase their skills in front of professional scouts.
In 2019, the CFL featured designated ‘global players’ from countries outside the U.S. and Canada on its nine member clubs – a first for the league. Next season, the number of global players per team (on game and practice rosters) will grow from three to five with two allowed on the gameday roster and three on practice roster.
As the CFL continues to deepen its international footprint and introduce new pathways for Canadians to play, it has also partnered with the leading gridiron football federations and leagues in Austria, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, and Sweden, and is in discussions with others.