Two Gryphons selected three picks apart in the annual Canadian Football League draft are looking forward to taking the next step in their football careers.
Wide receiver Jacob Scarfone was the third pick of the sixth round, 47th overall, by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made defensive lineman Ian Marouf the 50th overall pick later in the round.
The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Scarfone was unsure if he’d be selected after he missed last year’s OUA season due to a knee injury suffered during off-season workouts last spring.
“There’s always that uncertainty with an injury like an ACL,” he said. “You don’t really know what teams are thinking.”
The London native had been second in the OUA with 10 receiving touchdowns in a breakout season in 2015. He was also third in the league with an average of 117.5 yards per game in catches as he played in all eight regular-season games for the Gryphons.
To make sure he was OK, last month four CFL teams asked Scarfone to test for them.
“Some of them had a couple of indy drills, but most of them were running a lot of routes and catching balls,” he said.
Those workouts came after Scarfone was cleared to return to contact drills during off-season sessions.
“My plan all along was to try to be ready for a situation like this in case it did happen,” he said. “I didn’t want to burn any bridges by just planning to be back in September.”
In three seasons with the Gryphons, Scarfone appeared in 19 regular-season games and caught 65 passes for 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also played on special teams, making 11 tackles and recovering a fumble on an onside kick.
Now he’ll continue his workouts as he prepares for his first pro training camp.
“I’m just going to get ready for camp,” Scarfone said. “I’m going to try to get in the best shape I can in the next three weeks.”
Marouf had a single season with the Gryphons and was the team’s rookie of the year in 2013 when he finished fourth in the league with 6.5 sacks for a loss of 48 yards. He made a total of 31 tackles, 11.5 for losses, and recovered two fumbles for 22 yards. After that season, he concentrated on his schoolwork.
As the 6-foot-1, 300-pound defensive lineman from Fort Erie hadn’t played any football since a season of junior football with the Hamilton Hurricanes in 2015, he was a little surprised to be selected in the draft.
“I feel excited, extremely excited,” Marouf said. “I can’t wait to get to training camp.”
In his year of junior football, Marouf made 25 tackles and had three sacks as a defensive tackle for the Hurricanes.
However, he kept doing the football workouts with a lot of weight training and running and he also worked with Gryphon strength and conditioning coach Jordan Foley.
“He helped me out a lot for the combine,” Marouf said.
As he did his workouts six days a week, his routine was similar to what it was when he was on the Gryphon roster.
“I just wasn’t getting any playing time,” Marouf said.
While he hasn’t played in a game for a little while, Marouf figures he’ll get his game legs back in a hurry.
“I was a little nervous about it, but I’ve been training every single day,” he said. “I think I’m going to come into training camp ready.”
Marouf watched the draft on television and then online when the broadcast finished after the second round.
“I thought maybe I’d get picked up in the later rounds,” he said. “I had my fingers crossed and it happened.”