The May 2 CFL draft selection of Huskies football players slotback Scott McHenry and defensive end Ivan Brown reiterates the effectiveness of the Green and White’s football program.
Despite a disappointing previous season for the Huskies, teammates of McHenry and Brown will surely find solace in the pair’s successful results at the annual CFL draft. Brown was selected 31st overall by the Montreal Alouettes and McHenry 32nd overall by the Calgary Stampeders, both in the fourth round.
McHenry, a 6-1, 200 pound Saskatoon and Holy Cross product, and Brown, a 6-2 and 240 pound Regina local, became the 46th and 47th Huskies since 1985 to be drafted into the CFL.
“It really doesn’t matter what number you go in the draft,” commented McHenry on his recent selection by Calgay. “We all have to go to the team’s camp and prove we deserve and can make the team. Calgary had talked to me before. I have a lot of family there, so I think it will be a good fit and a good transition for me.”
Each season since 2002, the Huskies football program has managed to produce at least one player to be drafted by professional teams in the CFL. In 2008, safety Dylan Barker set a Huskies milestone and became the only football player in the history of the program to be drafted first overall in the CFL when he signed with the Hamilton Tigercats.
It is clear coach Brian Towriss is doing something right with his athletes.
“Scotty has all the tools to play in the CFL,” Towriss said of the veteran McHenry. “He gets a little under-utilized in our offence; there’s some teams in this country where he could catch 50 balls a year, because he’s one of two guys. Here, he’s one of five. Scotty’s physically ready to make the move.”
McHenry is the epitome of a naturally gifted athlete. After turning down college offers to play baseball south of the border and a scholarship to play basketball with the McGill Redmen in Montreal, it is evident McHenry’s focus lies within the realm of football. He has an abundance of fans, too; someone even created a personalized Wikipedia page for the star defensive end.
Named a Canada West all-star in 2008 after concluding the season with 33 receptions on 407 yards and a single touchdown, McHenry has also amassed 105 receptions on 1,750 yards with 10 touchdowns over the span of his four-year CIS career. McHenry was also named the Canada West rookie of the year in 2005 and was a major piece of the puzzle when he helped lead the Huskies to two Hardy Cups (Canada West final) and two Mitchell Bowls (CIS semifinal).
McHenry’s counterpart, Brown, helped the Huskies to the best defence in the Canada West during the 2008 season. However, prior to the CFL draft Brown had not been getting the respect he deserved and was not invited to the recent CFL evaluation camp or last season’s East-West all-star game.
Brown’s 35.5 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two breakups and one forced fumble last season and his three-year career numbers of 86.5 tackles and 9.5 sacks are impressive enough but the Regina slotback had to get inventive in order to effectively put his name out there. To get noticed without a manager, Brown had to produce his own mock combine results and highlight reel tapes displaying his skill which he submitted to various CFL teams on his own.
“It’s an honour just to be selected to the CFL,” said Brown, who found out he was selected while on the field during Huskies spring camp at Griffiths Stadium. “I wasn’t selected to play in the East-West Bowl game and I wasn’t an all-star, so they must see something in me that I can bring to the team.”
With McHenry heading into his final year of CIS eligibility and two years of eligibility remaining for Brown, neither athlete knows whether he will immediately join his respective CFL team or return to the Huskies for finals stints with the Green and White.
“All I know is I’m going to go in there with my 100 per cent best and be satisfied with whatever the outcome is,” Brown asserted in regards to plans for next season. “If I do get sent back, I have a beautiful, great team to come back to and play with. It’s going to be a good year for the Huskies. If I do stay with the (CFL) team, they were Grey Cup finalists.”
photo Robby Davis