Ackie recognized nationally
Training camp hasn’t even begun, but the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s football team is receiving national attention.
On July 8, CFL analyst Justin Dunk posted his list of the top 10 prospects so far for the 2015 CFL draft.
Laurier defensive back Chris Ackie helped round out the list, coming in at number nine.
According to Laurier head coach Michael Faulds, this is particularly exceptional given the team’s record last season.
“I think it is really going to help us get more on the map,” he said.
Ackie was recognized as a second-team Ontario University Athletics all-star in 2013 and was chosen to play in the East West Bowl in May, which is reserved for top talent from across Canada. Ackie believes that is where he began gaining attention, and he was grateful to see his name on the list of players.
“I was honoured just to see it. Being at East West, there was a lot of great athletes there and I tried to put out my best performance, and I guess the scouts liked what they saw,” he said.
According to Faulds, the CFL has many reasons to be interested in Ackie.
“He’s got the size to play linebacker and the speed to play defensive back and I think that is a really rare combination,” he said. “The thing about the CFL is it is such a passing league, so to have a linebacker with such coverage skills as a defensive back is special.”
Ackie said he is proud of his achievement, but is confident he has not reached his ceiling.
“I’ll be working hard. I will stay on the list, and I’ll be getting higher on the list. Right now I’m okay with being number nine, but I know I have the potential to be higher,” he said.
Faulds explained that Ackie’s attitude and approach make him an ideal athlete.
“I take attendance at all of the offseason workouts and all of the practices, and no one is there more than Chris,” he said. “He’s physically ready, he’s mentally mature and he does well academically. He’s everything you look for in a student athlete.”
With all of the success Ackie has had so far, he is looking to step into a leadership role this season. While he is often described as a quiet personality off the field, he admitted he has no trouble leading by example on the field.
“I’m not one of the loud guys at practice, but I’ll be one of those one-on-one leaders. When I’m on the field I’m like a different person. I’m probably one of the loudest guys on the field,” he said.
Making this list ensures one thing; all eyes will be on Ackie this coming September.
“He’s not going to go under the radar anymore, he’s going to be fully out there,” Faulds said.