Three Laurier all-stars play with the best in the nation

(File photo by Heather Davidson)

(File photo by Heather Davidson)

This past weekend, three of Wilfrid Laurier University’s finest athletes shared the field with the best post-secondary football talent from across the nation.

On May 10, Western University hosted the East/West Bowl, an all-star game with players from all over Canada. Chris Ackie, Dillon Campbell and Ese Mrabure-Ajufo represented Laurier at the game.

The festivities started early in the week with a combine designed for the players to show their skills to scouts, many of whom are from the CFL. Laurier’s all-stars made a statement early in the week, which warranted praise from their coach, Michael Faulds.

“Well it’s great… all three of our coaches who were down at the combine walked around really proud of how our guys tested,” he said.

All three players shined at the combine, particularly Mrabure-Ajufo, who posted the fastest 40-yard dash of any other defensive end at the event. According to Faulds, he also impressed scouts in the one-on-one drills.

Another player, Chris Ackie, stressed that while the week is fun, it cannot be taken lightly.

“It’s a good experience, it’s an honour to be picked too … It was a tough week though. You can’t go in thinking that an all-star game is going to be easy. Everyone is working hard, trying to get the CFL scouts’ attention,” said Ackie.

Laurier’s players had bright spots throughout the week, but Dillon Campbell grabbed the most attention from scouts.

Campbell led the OUA in rushing this past season, and felt deserving of being in London.

“I feel like there is always more you can improve on, but I feel like I definitely belong here,” Campbell said.

Ackie, Mrabure-Ajufo and Campbell are not only teammates, but roommates as well.

“It’s great being here with them … all week we kind of pushed each other to do our best,” Campbell said.

While Ackie also enjoyed being there with his friends, he took the opportunity to meet new people during the event.

“We made some good friends throughout the week from other teams. Throughout the year they are your rivals, but when you meet them they are actually really cool guys,” he said.

At game time on Saturday, Laurier’s all-stars continued to prove themselves. Campbell had more yards per carry than any other running back at 7.0, Ackie posted an impressive four tackles and Mrabure-Ajufo made a tackle in the backfield for a loss of six yards.

Coach Faulds felt as though these three impressive athletes carry an immense amount of responsibility for this upcoming season.

“Yeah, I’m expecting them to really lead our team … All of these players were third year starters this year, and this upcoming season … all of the sudden, they are the oldest guys in the league,” he said.

If last year’s 1-7 record was anything, it was a learning experience for these players and a coming of age for them. Each one is determined and driven to not repeat last year’s events.

“It’s going to be a big year for Laurier. We aren’t a young team anymore, we’re a veteran squad so I expect big things,” Ackie said.

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