the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, May 9, 2011

CFL Draft 2011: Specialists

Yesterday's CFL Draft saw three kickers selected and one traded, although not necessarily in that order.

The Als and the Lions were the primary participants.

Brody McKnight (University of Montana) drafted by Montreal Alouettes, round 1, 8th pick

During the off-season the Als did not to re-sign veteran kicker Damon Duval, who had been with the team for six years. Still under contract is import kicker Colt David, whom they signed last year when Duval was injured. The drafting of McKnight won't come into play for another year, as he still has one more year to play at Montana. McKnight commented on the draft and his upcoming senior season:
"It is a very humbling experience and just sort of a reflection of what football at The University of Montana is all about. We work hard here at Montana and we send a lot of guys to the pros. I am very humbled and very grateful, and I owe everything to my teammates, my mom and dad, my coaches, and my family and friends....
Its always been a dream of mine to play football for the rest of my life, just like any other kid who grows up playing football. I am just kind of taking everything in stride and step-by-step; and just taking everything one day at a time, and one play at a time.
Yeah, it's a dream come true, but you know I am just going to focus on what I need to in the present, and that's helping the Griz win a Big Sky Conference championship and a national championship. Those are my main goals right now. But, I am obviously very appreciative to the Montreal Alouettes organization who selected me in the first round today. I have heard nothing by great things about their program, and look forward to the future."
Sean Whyte, traded from B.C. Lions to Montreal Alouettes

News of the trade broke during the draft when Whyte tweeted:
"Just got traded to Montreal. Fly out tonight for a press conference. Sooooo pumped to finally get a chance to play."
Coach/GM Buono had been working on trading either Whyte or veteran Paul McCallum for the past year. Whyte commented on his old employer and his new employer:
"Wally used to pull me into his office and asked me about my frustrations and he told me there has to be some loyalty between us; that he would do the right thing. I never really understood him, until now.... There's no better situation for me. It's flattering to know what Montreal gave up to get me."
Hugh O'Neill (Alberta) drafted by B.C. Lions, 2nd round, 3rd pick
Having traded away Whyte, the Lions drafted a new  understudy to Paul McCallum. O’Neill discussed his new role:
“It’s a good opportunity to ease in to my new environment. I’m just going to try and adapt as much as I can. It’s definitely not a bad idea to groom me.”
O'Neill also commented on when and where he went in the draft:
“But I’ve always considered the rankings as projections at best. You never know exactly what teams are going to be thinking or what they’re looking for. Seeing that guy in the NCAA, working down there in a different environment, they might have been looking for something in that sort of category....
It was definitely kind of out of left field there. I had no idea B.C. was really in the hunt there because they had a pretty good kicking situation, so I hadn’t really talked to them too much over the course of the process here....
I’m just sort of excited to get a chance to head out there and learn from some guys who have been around the league for a little while now. I want to do whatever I can to get ready for the new kind of environment that I’m going to be coming to.”
Christopher Milo (Laval) drafted by Saskatchewan Roughriders, 4th round, 7th pick

With starting kicker Luca Congi recovering from torn MCL and ACL ligaments, his readiness for the start of the season is hopeful but not a certainty. The Riders consequently drafted Milo as "insurance". Head coach Greg Marshall commented:
“We had debated if we should take [Milo] earlier or not. He may be the guy to kick, given our injury situation come the opening game.”

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