Saturday, May 02, 2009

Bleeding Tricolour: Gaels' Sterling first OUA player taken

He has the name, and although it took people a while to clue in, he's got the game: Queen's defensive lineman Dee Sterling was selected 12th overall by the Edmonton Eskimos in today's Canadian college draft, the first player from an Ontario school selected.*

Linemate Osie Ukwuoma, an end, was taken by the Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders in the fifth round (40th overall). Linebacker Thaine Carter went in the sixth round (45th overall) to Winnipeg. Ottawa Gee-Gees linebacker Mike Cornell, went undrafted and so did another OUA defensive player on the CFL scouting bureau's list, Toronto's Matt Morris (A look at how the scouting bureau's list jibed with the selections is up at

Gee-Gees lineman Ryan Mousseau went to Montreal with the penultimate pick, 47th overall.

McMaster coach Stefan Ptaszek, who was on TSN's panel, noted, as others have, that Sterling really improved in CFL teams' eyes at the league's evaluation camp. Up until then, it was assumed his linemate, end Osie Ukwuoma, would be the first Golden Gael taken.

Reaction to the three Gaels being drafted (Guelph defensive back Brad Crawford, brother of former Queen's star Bryan Crawford, was drafted by the Toronto Argonauts):
  • Sterling: TSN analyst Duane Forde noted that Sterling still has some filling out to do and when that happens, he should be able to play at the inside tackle spot in the CFL.

    (Seriously, how about Forde as the GM of the reconstituted Rough Riders? Let's start beating that drum.)

    Bruce Black, who coached and and taught for many years at Sterling's high school, Frontenac Secondary, should get credit for being way ahead of the game with Dee Sterling. During the CIS Final 8 men's basketball championship last season, Black was at Scotiabank Place very early on the Friday morning to watch two other one-time Frontenac Falcons, Stu Turnbull and Rob Saunders, during the Carleton Ravens' morning shootaround. He was talking up Sterling, telling a fellow Kingston type that some CFL team was likely to take him pretty high in the draft.

    Anyway, please keep in mind who said the Eskimos were pretty high on Sterling, although it is ultimately Whig-Standard's their story to tell.

  • Ukwuoma and Carter: Chalk it up as a bit of a win-win. Each has eligibility remaining with the Gaels, which raises the possibility of both returning for next season, along with defensive back/kick returner Jimmy Allin.

    They might face a scenario particular to players taken late in the draft, opting to return to school and get playing time rather than bide their time on a CFL practice roster. That move worked out for former Queen's receiver Rob Bagg. Windsor's Hec Crighton Trophy-winning running back, Daryl Stephenson, did the same (and ended up finishing the CFL season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers).

    The Stampeders typically do well by Canadian players, so that would seems to be a plus for Ukwuoma. However, their non-imports include four defensive ends, Mike Labinjo, Alain Kashama, Fernand Kashama and Justin Phillips, so a rookie is going to be in tough.

    For Carter, Forde's pre-draft look at the Blue Bombers noted "there are doubts as to how many of Winnipeg's depth players actually have the potential to step into the starting lineup." That might not specifically refer to its corp of Canadian linebackers, but with a new coach coming in, a sixth-round pick might have more of a chance to impress a new regime.
Incidentally, Forde, the former Western star, referred to Sterling as a "Golden Gael," which is sure to please his TSN colleague, Jock Climie. That was semi-amusing since it called to mind the post-game interview last fall when Sterling corrected The Score's D.J. Bennett for calling the team the "Queen's Gaels" during a post-game interview.

Anything else noteworthy about the draft will be at

(* But which team went to the Vanier Cup? Respect must be paid.)


Dennis Prouse said...

I find your suggestion of Duane Forde intriguing, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. :-) Seriously, it's not a bad idea at all, and it is sort of growing on me every time I think about it. I wonder if he would be interested...

sager said...

Forde as Rough Riders GM, Pierre McGuire to the Wild ... total exodus from TSN, creating some openings in the broadcast industry.