Hawks prep for CFL test

(File photo by Tommy Griffiths)

(File photo by Tommy Griffiths)

The road to becoming a professional football player is one that is both rigorous and demanding.

Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk defensive football standouts Thomas Griffiths and Felix Odum are well aware of the many challenges that are presented along the way to becoming a Canadian Football League (CFL) player. They will aim to head down this road and fulfill their dreams of becoming a professional CFL player when they compete in the 2014 CFL regional combine on Mar. 20th.

If they are asked back, they could go to the national combine on Mar. 21-23 in Toronto.

“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” said the third-year lineman Griffiths. “I’ve been in a few combines before which helps, but none bigger than this one, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”

“I’m very excited for an opportunity to showcase my talents in front of CFL scouts,” said the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) second team all-star defensive back, Odum. “There’s always a bit of nerves but I think that’s to be expected before an event like this.”

Both Griffiths and Odum have been training rigorously for the event, and feel confident about their performances going into next week’s combine.

“I’ll train in the morning with the guys, then head over to [strength specific training] later in the day and work out with trainers there,” said Griffiths on his extensive twice-a-day training. “It’s hard work, but it is worth it to becoming stronger and physically ready for this.”

As for Odum, he has been training hard for the combine too. “I’ve been training and going over everything, just working on the little things that will produce the confidence and technique that I need to be successful in the combine,” he explained. “I’m just waiting to get out there and do it.”

(File photo by Heather Davidson)

(File photo by Heather Davidson)

However, there are consequences to balancing both school and training, as it becomes demanding in both of these areas.

Griffiths comes from a family of athletes who are familiar with these hardships and provide him with positive support and encouragement during his training, including his cousin Richard Clune who plays for the Nashville Predators in the NHL.

“Seeing what Rich has gone through and his tough path to where he is now helps me just to see his progression,” said Griffiths. “Between him and the rest of my family, even if its just a message or two asking how training is going, it helps a lot knowing there is support and communication between us.”

The facet of familiarity with events similar to the combine will also be beneficial for the Hawks.        “I participated in the East vs. West [all-star game] bowl in my third year,” said Odum. “It was a great learning experience for me.”

“I’ve been working on certain events such as the shuttle run a lot during my time training,” said Griffiths. “I’ve clocked in a fast time during training, and feel confident in my performance during these events during the combine.”

Both Griffiths and Odum are prepared both mentally and physically and remain hopeful that their CFL dreams will be one step closer to being fulfilled at the regional combine.

“Well with all things you have to take it one step at a time,” Odum said on his future in football. “The first goal is making a team, getting a starting spot, and then, winning the championship.”

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