Run, Jump, Lift and Dream

Jamal Henry and the Stingers Go Through the CFL Regional Combine

Concordia Stingers slotback Jamal Henry (right) participates in the Montreal Regional Canadian Football League Combine on March 25 at the Concordia Stinger Dome. Screenshot Brandon Johnston

50 athletes made their way to Concordia on March 25 to show off their skills and impress Canadian Football League scouts, bringing them one step closer to their dreams of playing professional football.

For the second year in a row, Concordia hosted the Montreal Regional Canadian Football League combine. Athletes were measured for their height, weight, vertical leap, speed and strength, all to get an invite to the national combine in Toronto.

“My brother Pat has done a great job of organizing it all, getting the guys to come out and help and be a part of something that’s pretty special,” said Stingers football head coach Mickey Donovan. “To get our guys out here, getting the pro scouts out here to evaluate them, it means a lot to the kids, and that’s who this is all about.”

Four Concordia Stingers players were present: slotback Jamal Henry, wide receiver Shayne Stinson, defensive back Jovan Deschenes-Cober and kicker Keegan Treloar. Considering the combine was on Stingers territory, it was natural for Henry to feel good about his chances.

“I think it’s a good thing, especially because I’m a Stinger so it’s on my home turf, so I’m more comfortable a little. It gives us a little more exposure as well,” Henry said.

For Henry, the expectations were high, as he tried following in the footsteps of past Stingers. Kris Robertson was invited to the national combine in 2013, followed by linebacker Travis Bent in 2014.

In his tests, Henry registered a 33.5” in the vertical jump test, 16 reps on the 225 lbs. bench press, and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds. In his broad jump, Henry went as far as 9’3”, ran the cone drill in 7.35 seconds, and did the shuttle run in 4.23 seconds.

And he still didn’t make it to Toronto. None of his teammates did, either.

Instead, three UdeM Carabins players—defensive back Anthony Coady, receiver Mikhaïl Davidson, defensive lineman Jean-Samuel Blanc—and Sherbrooke Vert et Or offensive lineman William Langlais were chosen as the best players from the combine.

Following the announcement, Henry was disappointed.

“I think I did alright. I’m not happy, I’m not mad, I think just OK,” Henry said about his performance. “My results weren’t great, neither were they good.”

Henry may not have been invited to the combine, but he doesn’t believe his future is as bleak as the lighting in the Stinger Dome.

“I still have one more year of eligibility, but this doesn’t change anything. I didn’t get invited to Toronto but I’m sure I’ll still get drafted,” Henry said. “I’m sure there’s going to be a team that’s looking at me right now so I’m looking at the future. I think it’s a bright future.”

“Jamal tested really well, he did a lot of great things. He caught the ball well, his routes were crisp, they were very smooth,” Donovan said. “I think he opened up some eyes.”

The Stingers had support from their coaches and former teammate and current Saskatchewan Roughrider Kris Robertson.

“I think this is really good for our school,” said Robertson. “They get in front of the scouts and they see what it takes to get to the next level.”

The national combine took place on March 27 to 29, but Henry and the rest of the Stingers are looking forward to the next season, which will open against the Vert et Or from Sherbrooke in September.