Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. and defensive lineman Robbie Smith are among the top prospects for the 2019 Canadian Football League (CFL) Draft as the league announced its Fall Scouting Bureau rankings on Thursday.
Gittens Jr., a native of Ottawa, comes in ranked as the fourth-best U SPORTS prospect and 13th overall on the list of Top 20 draft eligible players while Smith, from Brampton, Ont., is the sixth-best U SPORTS prospect and 15th overall.
"Internally we are not surprised one bit to see both Kurleigh and Robbie in the top twenty," commented Golden Hawks head coach Michael Faulds. "Both players are not only really gifted, but they both have work ethics that are hard to surpass."
Gittens Jr., a 6-0, 191 lbs receiver, is coming off a 2017 campaign in which he was named the OUA MVP and a finalist for the Hec Crighton Trophy after setting a U SPORTS record for receptions in a season with 75 and finishing with 1,665 all-purpose yards, the most in the country. This season, he’s picked up right where he left off a year ago, finishing with 129 receiving yards and 188 all-purpose yards.
"Kurleigh is the most dynamic offensive player I have ever been around,” added Faulds on his All-Canadian wide out. “He is one of those receivers that can literally run every single route. Then once he has made the catch he is fun to watch and electric with the ball. At the next level, he obviously has the ability to not only play receiver, but he could be a very rare Canadian that is asked to be a returner."
As for Smith, the 6-2, 245 lbs defensive end is also coming off a record-setting 2017 campaign when he broke Laurier’s school record for sacks in a season with 10.5, a number that tied him for tops in the country. He’s carried his strong play into 2018 as he had 3.5 tackles and a sack in the Hawks’ season-opening win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
"Robbie has a very impressive pro ready body," says Faulds of his star defensive end. "He has an unbelievable combination of strength, speed, power and length. All fantastic qualities that make him special and tough to block. Not only will he play defensive line at the next level, but he is athletic enough to play on special teams, which not many lineman can say."
Laurier was one of two Canadian schools to have multiple players listed in the Top 20 joining Laval who had three.
This marks the third consecutive season that at least one member of the Golden Hawks has cracked the initial Top 20 rankings following in the footsteps of Godfrey Onyeka (4th overall) last season and Kwaku Boateng (2nd overall) and Nakas Onyeka (16th overall) in 2016.