Parker to play in Shrine Game

By Rhiannon Kirkland

The last month proved to be very good for several Dinos football players. With the season wrapped up, it might seem that all would be quiet, but this was not so. Four players found themselves receiving good news and special honours.

Three Dinos players featured on a list of top CFL draft prospects released in September have remained on the list. The new list published in December by the Canadian Football League’s scouting bureau ranks the top 15 prospects of players eligible for the 2011 CFL Draft.

“That list, I wouldn’t say it’s written in stone,” said Dinos football head coach Blake Nill. “That’s the opinion of different people. Those three guys are top candidates to play professionally and are amongst the best in the CIS and consequently they’re gonna remain on that list. It doesn’t really matter where they’re at because each team has its own opinion.”

All three players maintained their original positions on the list. Slotback Anthony Parker was the top player on the list from a Canadian university at number three– behind two players from American schools. Wide receiver Nathan Coehoorn sits at number seven and running back Matt Walter is number 14 on the list.

“They deserve to be on that and they’re going to be high draft picks when the draft occurs,” said Nill. “They’ve had a lot of success through their entire careers and they’re quality athletes.”

The top three remained the same with Baylor centre Philip Blake, originally from Toronto, at number one and Scott Mitchell from Rice at number two.

Two new players made their way onto the list ­­­­­­­– offensive lineman Anthony Barrette of Concordia was ranked 13 and receiver Jade Etienne of Saskatchewan squeezed in as number 15.

Two more lists of the top 15 prospects will be released before the 2011 draft. One after the CFL evaluation camp and another in April, just before the draft. The CFL evaluation camp for the class of 2011 takes place from Mar. 4-6 in Toronto and the draft takes place at the end of April or in early May.

Parker heads to the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida on Jan. 22. Parker and Queen’s offensive lineman Matthew O’Donnell are the only two Canadians invited to the game.

The Shrine game began in 1925 to raise funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Over 80 top NCAA all-star football players participate. Players from Canadian schools have been invited every year since former Dino Tom Spoltetini was invited in 1985.

“The Shrine game is for the top senior class football players in the U.S. and around the early ’80s they started inviting a Canadian every now and then to participate in the game,” said Nill. “It’s moved forward. A gentleman named Ken Smith has been the individual who really pushed for the Canadian kids to be part of that game. It’s to the point now where there’s one nominee out of the east and the west every year and it’s quite an event.”

Parker is the tenth Dino to be invited to the game. Defensive lineman Dan Federkell was the last to be invited in 2006. Parker will play for the west team under coaching legend Wade Phillips, who coached several NFL teams including Dallas, New Orleans and Denver between 1985 and 2010.

“It’s an opportunity for Anthony to further showcase his skills and he’s lucky that he gets to play in front of a lot of pro people, not only in the CFL, but in the NFL,” said Nill. “It’s quite an honour and something that he’s deserving of.”

Running back Steven Lumbala will play in the second annual International Federation of American Football USA vs. the World game. Forty players from eight countries selected by the IFAF will play against the U.S. under 19 national team selected by USA Football in Austin Texas on Feb. 2. The world team will be coached by Canadian Greg Marshall. Seven players, including Lumbala, will be returning to the world team from the 2010 game.

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