In spite of taking the red-eye flight from Toronto, which saw him arrive in Saskatoon at 3:00 a.m., Ben Heenan joined his Huskie teammates for the third morning workout of 2012 earlier today at the SaskTel Sports Centre.
Heenan was one of four Huskies in Toronto over the weekend for the CFL Evaluation Camp, where defensive backs Bryce McCall and Keenan MacDougall joined him, and the Canadian Football Scouting National Invitational Combine, where defensive tackle David Rybinski was tested. Both events were held at Lamport Stadium and the University of Toronto’s Varsity Center Bubble.
“All in all, I think I did pretty well there,” said Heenan of his weekend of testing in front of CFL scouts, coaches and executives. “I did all the drills pretty decent, finishing near the top for my group. It was good to see the three of us (including McCall and MacDougall) representing the Huskies very well.”
The evaluation camp is an opportunity to test out the physical attributes of prospects, while also being a venue where teams can interview prospects and get to know them better. Being the top-ranked prospect for May’s draft, Heenan was kept busy by the teams after physical testing concluded. “Yeah, Friday and Saturday I met with all the team, four Friday night and four Saturday night,” he said. “Different teams ask different questions, but more than anything they were looking to see your football IQ and get to know you as a person.”
Unfortunately for Heenan, his weekend was cut short prior to one-on-one and on-field drills thanks to a minor hip injury. “It was just a small tweak on my hip flexor and groin area,” he explained. “It was bothering me the night before and I knew there was a possibility I might not be doing the on-field drills if I didn’t feel up to it. By the time I finished doing the shuttle and three-cone drills, it was aggravated. So if I pushed it I would risk a tear, so I had to tell the teams I wouldn’t be doing the one-on-ones.”
Training in Los Angeles with top NCAA players since the new year benefited Heenan and allowed him to boost his testing numbers. “I definitely improved across the board from where I was in fall camp,” he said. “I was happy with the numbers, but more than anything the training in LA was good because I was around other guys who want to play pro football. It was good getting to know what it takes to be a professional athlete.”
Since his appearance in the East-West Shrine Game in late January, Heenan has received significant interest from NFL teams. This may factor into his draft position when it comes to the CFL, but Heenan isn’t worried about it and is taking a wait-and-see approach. “It’s something we will have to gauge later on,” he says. “In all likelihood, it’s something I will know before the CFL draft. In that case, teams will know beforehand, before they drafted me, and that will definitely be a part of their decision.”
The 2012 NFL Draft will be held from April 26 to 28, while the CFL Canadian Draft will be May 3. The name Ben Heenan will be called, maybe more than once, and the Huskies will add another in a long line of offensive lineman to the pro-ranks.