Receiver opts to stay with Roughriders

Alex Anthony still has one more year of eligibility if he wanted to come back to Laurier. (File photo by Kate Turner)

Alex Anthony still has one more year of eligibility if he wanted to come back to Laurier. (File photo by Kate Turner)

Despite being drafted 39th overall to the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, former Wilfrid Laurier University receiver Alex Anthony still has a place in his heart for Waterloo.

“I flew back from Saskatchewan just to watch the first football game of the year so it definitely means a lot to me being in Waterloo,” he said. “I’ll always come back to this place for sure.”

Anthony was the Golden Hawks’ top receiver last season, making 21 catches for 300 yards and two touchdowns before he was drafted to the Roughriders, where he currently sits on their practice roster.

“It’s awesome here, definitely the best place in the CFL to play,” he said. “The fans love everything about the organization and it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”

Although he’s just on the practice roster, it’s not a walk in the park.

“Everyone’s ginormous and everyone’s fast,” Anthony joked. “I think I’m the youngest guy on the team so I felt like I had a lot to prove and thought I worked really hard during camp.

“They narrowed down the roster from over 100 guys to about 55, so I’m happy to get the practice roster spot as it’s a huge opportunity and chance to get better.”

The CFL camp was a big step up from Laurier, as Anthony found out.

“It was good, although a little bit different as I came from a university that had a fairly small system to one that was bigger, it was a little crazy,” he reminisced. “The camps at WLU are like five to ten days and the Saskatchewan one was about 23 days. It was long, but being able to play with childhood heroes like Geroy Simon, Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf, and playing with them every day was an absolute honour and a great experience. I just thought that if I stayed out [in Saskatchewan] I could learn from them personally and try to make myself better that way.”

So what is Anthony looking towards for the future?

“As of right now I’m just trying to pursue this,” he said. “I know football can’t last forever but I’m just trying to give everything I have right now to it as I know this opportunity doesn’t come around too often, so I’m trying to make the most of it every day.”

The decision to stay in Saskatchewan isn’t all that’s on his mind, however.

“I’m definitely looking to come back to Laurier sometime, I’ve made Waterloo my home and I have a lot of close friends out there now too,” he said. “I’m close to finishing my degree, but I’m just worrying about football right now.”

“It’d be amazing to come back to play for Laurier for one more year,” he added. “But I had to do what was best for my career and to stay here and keep practicing.”

Anthony also feels confident the re-vamped Laurier team will be able to deliver a good season.

“They’re really young, but it wasn’t that bad at all,” he said of Laurier’s game against Guelph on Aug. 25. “The offence didn’t manage to get anything going, but they have everyone in a brand new system with a new coach so they just have to feel it out and push forward.”

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