MONTREAL — On the eve of the Canadian Football League draw, the Montreal Alouettes’ plan is clear: Equal talent favors local talent.
And for general manager Danny Maciocia, the Montreal organization has nothing to be ashamed of.
“People say we prioritize local players. We are prioritizing them because we think they are very good, he said during a video conference held last week. Since 2009, except for two seasons, an RSEQ team has always reached the final of the Vanier Cup. Our philosophy is always to choose the best player available. But with just as much talent, we prefer ‘buying locally’.
“There are great talents here,” Maciocia continued. More and more players from Quebec are getting scholarships to study in the United States. For the past two or three years, several players have even left high school to join American prep schools.
Maciocia points out that the first evaluation criterion will, of course, be talent. He won’t leave a player from elsewhere in the country to make way for a less talented Quebecer. However, he said he was surprised that the Alouettes’ philosophy of betting on local players is not the norm in all markets on the Ambrosie circuit.
“I don’t see why it shouldn’t be applicable in all markets to buy locally. The pride of wearing your favorite team’s jersey is indescribable, he added. If I take our example here, everyone has seen Anthony Calvillo play. So once these (local) players have completed their first contract, our chances of keeping them here are greater than, say, a player from the west of the country.
“And I hope the reality is the same for all markets in the competition. So I think that has to be taken into account. I repeat myself: for equal talent, we buy locally, but when we make our lists for next Tuesday, talent will come and this aspect is addressed’, he recalls.
Maciocia also talked about a very specific case where the geographical aspect was the deciding factor in the recruitment.
“I won’t name it, but there was a young player from the west of the country that we were very interested in. An engineer by training like his father, he dreamed of working with him. We wondered, ‘are we fishing this young man?’ Why should he stay with us long-term, if after his first contract he could find a club in the West and work as an engineer at the same time? You have to think about it when it comes time to choose this type of player,” explains Maciocia.
Maciocia came to the head of the Alouettes’ football business after years of directing the Université de Montréal Carabins program, which he believes gives him an advantage over his CFL peers when it comes time to recruit Quebec-born players. network to evaluate.
“It’s quite an advantage, which I may have for a few more years,” he said. Even when they weren’t coming to play at the University of Montreal, I was in their living room, around their dining table, chatting with their parents, so I know them. That way I can see how they’ve progressed. It was also an advantage during the pandemic, when we couldn’t watch them play. I knew them.”
The aim of Maciocia and his group is, of course, to select the best players available on Tuesday from 8 p.m. The Alouettes are fourth in this first round. They will also select by rank 13, 24, 33, 42, 51, 60 and 69.
Three Quebecers are among the top 20 prospects identified by the CFL for this draft: defensive defender Enock Makonzo (8th rank, Coastal Carolina University), wide receiver Samuel Émilius (11th, Louisiana Tech University), as well as offensive lineman Cyrille Hogan- Saidon (18th, University Laval).
Here is the list of the top 20 prospects compiled by the Canadian League recruiting agency:
1. John Metchie III | RE | University of Alabama | Brampton, ON
2. Jesse Luketa | DRY | Penn State University | Ottawa, ON
3. Tyrell Richards | DRY | University of Syracuse | Brampton, ON
4.Tre Ford | QA | University of Waterloo | Niagara Falls, ON
5. Jalen Philpot | RE | University of Calgary | Delta, BC
6. Tyson Philpot | RE | University of Calgary | Delta, BC
7. Deionte Knight | LD | Western University | Ajax, ON
8. Enock Makonzo | DD | Coastal Carolina University | Lachine, QC
9. Tyrell Ford | DD | University of Waterloo | Niagara Falls, ON
10.) Noah Zerr | LO | University of Saskatchewan | Langenburg, SK
11.Samuel Emilus | RE | Louisiana Tech University | Montreal, QC
12. Daniel Adeboboye | THU | Bryant University | Toronto, ON
13. Rodeem Brown | LO | University of Alberta | Halifax, NS
14. Zack Fry | LO | Western University | London, ON
15. Zach Pelehos | LO | University of Ottawa | Gananoque, ON
16. Peter Kozushka | LO | University of Alberta | Yorkton, Scotland
17. Anthony Federico | LD | Queen’s University | Niagara Falls, ON
18. Cyrille Hogan-Saindon | LO | University of Laval | Quebec, QC
19. Gregor MacKellar | LO | St. Francis Xavier University | Timberlea, NS
20. Nathan Cherry | LD | University of Saskatchewan | Saskatoon, SK