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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Flashback: Canadian Cougars

With two former Brigham Young Cougars starting careers in the Canadian Football League this week, it seems appropriate to look back on BYU’s Canadian Cougars—those who have played in the CFL and those who played prep ball in Canada before joining the BYU football team.

The Natives
BYU has had 11 native Canadians suit up, including current wide receiver Dalin Tollestrup. Bill Wylie, a tailback, was the first Canadian player back in 1963. All but two of these ten players have come from the Canadian providence of Alberta. Mohammed Elewonibi (Kamloops, British Colombia) was the most successful during his playing days as a Cougar. He was a consensus All-American in 1989; the same year he won the Outland Trophy. Todd Herget (1991-93) is the second most recognizable Canadian player. Ray Brock (1977-79) is the only Cougar from eastern Canada (Toronto).

The other Canadians are: Kent Bray (1964-65), Greg Peterson (1981-83), John McCorquindale (1974-76), Jadon Wagner (2007-10), Aaron Wagner (2004-06), and Lloyd Fairbanks (1972-74).

The Imports
BYU has made a mark on the CFL since Fairbanks returned home to play in 1975. Herget, both Wagners, Elewonibi, and Peterson also returned to help build the CFL brand.

The CFL has also imported several Cougars, and they are the ones who have had the biggest impact. Foremost among the imports is Ben Cahoon, who retired earlier this year as the all-time CFL leader in career receptions (1,017). Cahoon played 13 years in the CFL after being selected sixth overall in the 1998 draft. He spent all 13 seasons with the Montreal Alouettes and was a member of three Grey Cup championship teams. Cahoon amassed 13,301 yards receiving (6th all-time in the CFL), and 65 touchdowns. He was a division all-star ten times, and the CFL’s Outstanding Canadian twice (2002 and 2003).

Cornerback Omarr Morgan also appears to have finished his illustrious career earlier this year. Morgan played 10 of his 11 seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. During his playing career, Morgan made 609 tackles, 27 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), and recovered 11 fumbles (three returned for touchdowns). All of Morgan’s fumble return touchdowns were over 50 yards, including a 108 yard return in 2009.

Offensive lineman Ben Archibald is still going strong. He switched teams earlier this year going from the Calgary Stampeders to the the British Columbia Lions. Archibald was named the CFL’s most outstanding lineman in 2010.

Several other Cougars have played as imports in the CFL, including: Harland Ah You, Scott Collie, Steve Sarkisian, Kevin Feterik, Neal Fort, Shay Muirbrook, Jamal Willis, and James Dye.

Now, it is up to Jadon Wagner and Brian Logan to continue BYU’s tradition of CFL excellence.

To read other Flashbacks, visit the Flashbacks page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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