CFL draft: No rivalry

One is the top-ranked player heading into the CFL’s Canadian college draft, the other regarded as the best defensive prospect.

One is the top-ranked player heading into the CFL’s Canadian college draft, the other regarded as the best defensive prospect.

But there is no intense rivalry between Alberta offensive lineman Simeon Rottier and Laval defensive lineman Etienne Legare for the honour of going first overall in Saturday’s draft. Instead, the two have become good friends after meeting initially in Bradenton, Fla., at Athletic Edge Sports, a facility owned by Toronto native Mike Gough that specializes in combine training.

“Etienne is a great guy to hang out and train with,” Rottier said. “I had a great time.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete and it’s cool to train with guys like that who are going places.”

The six-foot-five, 295-pound Rottier, a native of Westlock, Alta., remained the top-ranked CIS prospect heading into Saturday’s CFL Canadian college draft as per the top-15 released Tuesday by the league.

Legare, of Saint-Raymond, Que., moved from fourth into third overall, behind Bishop’s running back Jamall Lee, the CIS’s leading rusher for the second straight year with 1,202 yards and 10 touchdowns. The six-foot-four, 265-pound Legare recorded 6.5 sacks this season and captured the J.P. Metras Trophy as Canadian university football’s top lineman in helping the Rouge et Or capture the Vanier Cup.

Already highly considered, Legare’s draft prospects certainly improved this week when Lee signed as a free agent with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. That means any team drafting Lee will have to wait for him whereas Legare can be counted upon to be at training camp when it opens in June.

Legare wasn’t immediately available for comment Tuesday. He was in transit after being a finalist for CIS male athlete of the year, which was presented Monday night in Toronto.

Rottier said the passion for football he and Legare both share was the biggest reason why they hit it off so quickly.

“We both have that desire to work hard and get stronger,” he said. “The rankings are similar for him as they are to me in that it’s just a number and we’re both trying to look beyond that.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very exciting and an honour. But our competitiveness is more in the weight room and on the field. The rankings and that stuff, they take care of themselves.”

Acadia slotback Matt Carter moved from No. 8 to fourth in the rankings. Also making a big jump was Calgary offensive lineman Dylan Steenbergen from No. 9 to fifth overall.

Rounding out the top-10 in order are Windsor offensive lineman Matt Morencie, Queen’s defensive lineman Dee Sterling, Regina defensive back Tamon George, Toronto defensive back Matt Morris and Bishop’s linebacker James Yurichuk.

Central Michigan Eric Fraser is ranked No. 1 among Canadians attending an NCAA school.

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