Yesterday, Jock Sanders entered his first rookie camp as a Canadian professional football player. Followers of this site know Sanders signed with the B.C. Lions of the CFL near the end of last season. After the CFL’s season ended, Sanders had a chance to re-sign with the Lions, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders swooped in with a better offer.
Training camps for the CFL begin in earnest next week throughout the league. Many teams hold their rookie camps the week before full training camp begins.
The Roughriders hold their camps on the University of Regina campus, and that is where Sanders provided watchers the first glimpse of what he is capable of when he slipped past reporters after camp ended, almost unnoticed.
Greg Harder of the Montreal Leader-Post was able to catch up to Sanders and ask him about his size and playmaking abilities.
“At the end of the day (teams) don’t care how tall you are as long as you make plays,” Sanders said of his 5’7″ frame. “My stats speak for themselves. My resume does too. That’s all I’ve done in my career is make plays and that’s what I’m going to continue to try to do.”
While at WVU, Sanders played wide receiver although he was more comfortable at running back. Sanders switched to wideout when a fellow named Noel Devine arrived on campus.
“I played receiver in college but I was a natural running back,” said Sanders, adding that his instincts as a runner are more suited to the tailback position. “I’m elusive. I’m going to do what it takes to make that first guy miss. I probably won’t go down from the first guy.”
“I really want to get my shot and play running back but I’m going to do whatever it takes to make this team,” he added. “Last year when I went to B.C., I was playing running back. Here I’m playing more receiver and then they say they’ll move me into running back. I’m trying to do both and learn everything. The more you can learn, the more possibilities you have of getting on the field.
“That’s what is going to open doors for me despite my height. I don’t let it discourage me at all. I just continue to do what God blessed me to do, that’s make plays.”
Sanders is not a sure shot to make the team.
We asked Harder what he thought of Sanders and he said we wouldn’t know until we get “further into camp and the preseason when the coaches get a better read on him and the big picture in terms of where he might fit (is he a receiver, is he a running back, is he a returner, is he all of the above?). At this point, he’s just another guy in the mix with some heavy competition. He could make the team or be cut tomorrow. It’s too soon to say either way.”
As Sanders progresses through camp with the Roughriders, we will be sure to tell how he fares.