The Canadian Press
Canadian Chuba Hubbard has secured some high-powered representation to negotiate his first NFL contract.
The former Oklahoma State running back has joined forces with Athletes First, a California-based firm that represents Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Pittsburgh Steelers rookie receiver Chase Claypool, of Abbotsford, B.C.
Last year it had eight players taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft — the most of any sports agency — including quarterback Justin Herbert (sixth overall to the L.A. Chargers) and linebacker Isaiah Simmons (No. 8 to Arizona Cardinals).
On Saturday, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy announced prior to the Cowboys’ game versus Baylor that Hubbard had opted out of the remainder of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft. Hubbard confirmed that via Twitter on Sunday.
The six-foot, 208-pound Hubbard, of Sherwood Park, Alta., hadn’t played since OSU’s 41-13 loss to Oklahoma on Nov, 21 due to an ankle injury.
Last year, Hubbard ran for an FBS-high 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns but opted to remain at school rather than declare for the 2020 NFL draft. In seven games this year, Hubbard had 625 yards on 133 carries (4.7-yard average) with five TDs.
The burning question remains whether Hubbard’s declaration comes a year too late considering he averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2019. NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has Hubbard fourth on his running back list behind Najee Harris (Alabama), Travis Etienne (Clemson) and Javonte Williams (North Carolina).
TOP HONOURS: Alaric Jackson, Iowa’s towering six-foot-six, 315-pound senior left tackle, was named a first-team All Big-10 selection.
The Hawkeyes (6-2) were scheduled to complete their regular season Saturday against Michigan (2-4) but that game was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa will now await a potential bowl selection.
In October, Jackson, of Windsor, Ont., was ranked No. 1 in the CFL Scouting Bureau’s top-20 list for the 2021 CFL draft.
Four Canadians were named to the second All-Big 12 squad.
Hubbard and OSU teammate Amen Ogbongbemiga of Calgary got the nod. Ogbongbemiga, a six-foot-one, 235-pound redshirt senior linebacker, has 76 tackles (47 solo, five for a loss) with 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries this season.
Also selected were West Virginia teammates Alonzo Addae and Akheem Mesidor. Addae, a five-foot-11, 195-pound redshirt senior cornerback from Pickering, Ont., had 61 tackles (33 solo, 0.5 for a loss) with a forced fumble and two interceptions while Mesidor, a six-foot-two, 268-pound freshman defensive lineman from Ottawa, registered a team-high five sacks with 29 tackles (17 solo, 6.5 for a loss).
Chase Brown, a five-foot-11, 195-pound junior running back at Illinois (2-5), was named a third-team All-Big 10 selection, Brown, of London, Ont., is the Illini’s rushing leader with 510 yards on 93 carries (5.5-yard average) with two TDs while adding five receptions for 30 yards.
Brown ran for 70 yards on 14 carries in Illinois’ 28-10 loss to No., 14 Northwestern last weekend. The Illini are scheduled to visit Penn State (3-5) on Saturday.
Toronto’s Mohamed Diallo, a defensive lineman with the Central Michigan Chippewas, captured All-MAC first-team honours. The six-foot-four, 305-pound Diallo had 19 tackles (nine solo, 9.5 for a loss), three sacks, a forced fumble in five games.
Sidy Sow, a six-foot-five, 336-pound junior offensive lineman at Eastern Michigan (2-4), was named to the All-MAC third team. The Bromont, Que., native started all six games at left guard for the Eagles, who accumulated 776 yards rushing this season and scored 11 of their 23 TDs on the ground.
CHAMPIONSHIP QUEST: For the second time in three years, the Buffalo Bulls came up short in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
The Ball State Cardinals defeated Buffalo 38-28 in the final Friday night in Detroit. The loss was the first of the season for the Bulls, who finished atop the East Division with a 5-0 record.
The Bulls were making their third conference championship appearance overall, winning in 2008.
Buffalo lost the ’18 final 30-29 to Northern Illinois as the Huskies (7-5) outscored the Bulls (10-2) 13-0 in the fourth quarter to register the upset win. On Friday night, Ball State outscored Buffalo 28-7 in the second quarter for a 35-21 half-time advantage
Dominic Johnson, a six-foot-five, 220-pound redshirt senior from Windsor, Ont., was a starting receiver with the Bulls who also experienced the team’s 2018 heart-breaking loss. He had five catches for 43 yards this season — his second as a receiver after initially coming to Buffalo as a quarterback.
He’s one of four Canadians on Buffalo’s roster. The others include: sophomore tight Cole Burniston of Grimsby, Ont., and offensive linemen Deondre Doiron (freshman) and Gabe Wallace (sophomore) from London, Ont., and Salmon Arm, B.C., respectively.
SUN BELT CO-WINNERS: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the Sun Belt championship game between No. 9 Coastal Carolina (11-0) and No. 17 Louisiana (9-1).
The contest was slated for Saturday but the cancellation came following a positive COVID-19 test within Coastal Carolina’s program. Due to contact tracing, it was determined an entire position group would be unable to play due to possible exposure.
So the determination was made that the two schools would share the 2020 championship. Coastal Carolina was preparing to make its first appearance in the conference final since coming aboard in 2017.
Enock Makonzo, a five-foot-11, 195-pound redshirt junior linebacker/defensive back from Lachine., Que., has enjoyed a stellar campaign with the Chanticleers. He’s accumulated 66 tackles (team-high 41 solo, nine for a loss) with two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery.
Also on Coastal Carolina’s roster is Montreal’s Wilt Gabe II, a six-foot-three, 240-pound sophomore defensive lineman.
OTHER FINALS: The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0) faces Florida (8-2) in the SEC championship game Saturday night in Atlanta.
Alabama comes in off a 52-3 victory over Arkansas last week while Florida suffered a stunning 37-34 loss to LSU (4-5). Tide coach Nick Saban is chasing a sixth SEC title in nine seasons.
John Metchie III, a six-foot, 195-pound sophomore receiver from Brampton, Ont., had five catches for 72 yards against Arkansas. This season, Metchie has 40 receptions for 720 yards (18-yard average) with six TDs.
There’ll also be an interesting matchup Saturday in the ACC final between No. 2 Notre Dame (10-0) and No. 3 Clemson (9-1). The Irish won the earlier meeting this season 47-40 in double overtime but the Tigers were minus quarterback Trevor Lawrence due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Receiver Ajou Ajou, a six-foot-three, 215-pound freshman from Brooks, Alta., is on Clemson’s roster.
And No. 6 Cincinnati (8-0) hosts the No. 20 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-1) in the American Athletic Conference championship Saturday. Bruno Labelle, a six-foot-four, 248-pound senior tight end from Montreal, will suit up for the Bearcats.
HULA BOWL INVITE: Canadian defensive back Benjamin St-Juste has been invited to the 2021 Hula Bowl.
The six-foot-three, 205-pound Montreal native had 10 tackles (three solo) in four games this season for the Minnesota Gophers (3-3).
St-Juste transferred to Minnesota in the summer of 2019 after graduating from Michigan. He played his freshman season in 2017 before redshirting in 2018 with the Wolverines.
The Hula Bowl is slated for Jan. 31, 2021 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
EARLY SIGNING DAY: The NCAA early signing period began Wednesday, with a number of Canadians committing south of the border.
Among the early commits was Logan Taylor, a six-foot-seven, 295-pound defensive lineman from Bridgewater, N.S., who’ll attend Virginia after playing high-school football in Alexandria, Va.
Albert Reese IV, a six-foot-seven, 315-pound offensive lineman from Edmonton, committed to Mississippi State. Reese attended high school in Clearwater, Fla.
Toronto native Brendon Barrow, a five-foot-eight, 180-pound running back at Clearwater Academy, opted for Stanford while Malcolm Bell, a six-foot-two, 170-pound defensive back from Lachine, Que., decided upon UConn.
Tristan Michaud, a six-foot-six, 200-pound receiver from Mississauga, Ont., is off to Iowa State while Phil Jeffs, a six-foot-six, 280-pound offensive lineman also from Mississauga, will attend UMass.
Other commitments (according to canadafootballchat.com) include: Receiver Nickolas Tshivuadi of Edmonton (University of South Florida); Edmonton defensive back Cyrus McGarrell (Northern Illinois); tight end Antonio Corsi of Ottawa (Maine); Winnipeg defensive end Zachary Lytle (Dartmouth); linebacker Darius McKenzie of Ottawa (Maine); Winnipeg defensive lineman Nathan Carabatsakis (Robert Morris); defensive back Ethan Yip of Surrey, B.C. (William & Mary); receiver Nathan Demontagnac of Burlington, Ont., (North Dakota); defensive back Shakespeare Louis of Ottawa (Robert Morris); defensive lineman Tristan Marois of Saint-Bruno, Que., (Robert Morris); and defensive lineman Ebenezer Dibula of Ottawa (Bethune Cookman).
SEASON FINALE: Canadian receiver Josh Palmer and the Tennessee Volunteers (3-6) will cap their season hosting No. 5 Texas A&M (7-1) on Saturday. The game was rescheduled from Nov. 14.
Tennessee is coming off a 42-17 win over Vanderbilt last weekend. Palmer, a six-foot-two, 210-pound senior from Brampton, registered four catches for 53 yards for the Volunteers.
Palmer, who has been invited to the Senior Bowl, has 30 catches (tied for the team lead) for 420 yards and four TDs (both tops among Vols receivers).
POINT AFTER: Isaiah Bagnah, a six-foot-four, 244-pound redshirt freshman defensive end from Lethbridge, Alta., had four tackles (two solo, two for a loss) and two sacks in Boise State’s 17-9 win over Wyoming last weekend. The Broncos (5-1) face No. 24 San Jose State (6-0) on Saturday . . . Jared Wayne had five receptions for 60 yards as Pitt (6-5) registered a season-ending 34-20 win over Georgia Tech. Wayne, a six-foot-three, 195-pound sophomore receiver from Peterborough, Ont., recorded 21 catches for 326 yards and a TD in eight games . . . Jesse Luketa, a six-foot-three, 242-pound junior linebacker from Ottawa, had seven tackles, 0.5 for a loss, in Penn State’s 39-24 win last weekend over Michigan State. Jonathan Sutherland, five-foot-11, 202-pound redshirt junior safety also from Ottawa had three tackles, 1.5 for a loss and half a sack.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2020.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated Hubbard didn’t declare for the 2019 draft. In fact, he didn’t declare for the 2020 draft.
Diamond Resorts A Great Start To 2021 – LPGA
That’s what I’m talking about. The star power at the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America was simply off the charts – and so was the golf. Twenty-five LPGA Tour winners were joined by 53 celebrities and even the name “Sorenstam” popped up on a leaderboard for the first time in a dozen years.
But ultimately, it was the quality of play that stole the show at the Four Seasons Golf & Sports Club Orlando. For the second consecutive year, it took extra holes to decide a winner – although this time the action didn’t spill over until Monday as it did in 2020 when Gaby Lopez needed seven playoff holes to better first Inbee Park and then Nasa Hataoka.
This time, Jessica Korda rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole of bonus golf to edge Danielle Kang for her sixth LPGA Tour victory after a Sunday shootout that was simply sensational. It was the fourth time Korda won her season debut and it sets hopes high for the season ahead – both for Korda and the LPGA Tour.
“Amazing,” Korda said, glancing down at the trophy. “It was obviously a huge grind. Danielle was playing so solid, and then Nelly started to make a bunch of birdies. I was like, Oh, my gosh. What’s happening? I knew that I was going to have to go low today.”
The final round began with the spotlight on the glam group of Kang, Korda and her sister Nelly and it stayed there all day. Kang began Sunday with a two-stroke lead over Jessica with Nelly a seemingly insurmountable six strokes behind. But then things got interesting.
Kang, who tied the LPGA Tour 54-hole record of 192, closed with a 68 while Jessica Korda finished with a 66 as they ended regulation tied at 24-under-par 260. Nelly Korda made a brilliant charge with a bogey-free 64 to finish two strokes back.
After going 84 holes without a bogey dating back to last season, Kang finally slipped up with a three-putt on No. 15. Meanwhile, both Kordas were making a run, Nelly reeling off six birdies in seven holes beginning on No. 7 and Jessica making four in seven holes beginning on No. 6.
As they stepped to the drivable par-4 16th hole, Kang was 23 under par, Jessica 22 under and Nelly 21 under. When Kang drove into the right trees, it appeared to be anyone’s ball game – at least anyone named Kang or Korda.
A birdie by Jessica and pars by Kang and Nelly sent the trio to the par-5 17th hole with Danielle and Jessica tied for the lead and Nelly two strokes behind. All three birdied No. 17 and parred No. 18, pushing the outcome to a playoff, which Jessica made sure would not need an extra day.
“It was just a crazy, crazy day,” Korda said. “Crazy two days. Shooting 60 yesterday, getting myself back into contention after bogeying three holes in a row to finish my second round. Crazy week.”
The weekend fireworks at Diamond Resorts were a fitting finish to a powerful week that kicked off 2021, a year in which the Tour visits Olympic Club, Atlanta Athletic Club, Carnoustie Golf Links and Inverness Club in a 34-event, $75 million bounce-back from the pandemic pause of 2020. If Diamond Resorts was the rousing overture, let the show begin.
Saturday alone was a day for the history books. Kang shot 63 to maintain the two-stroke lead she had going into the weekend but lost three strokes to Jessica Korda’s 60, a score beaten only once in the 71-year history of the LPGA, that by Annika Sorenstam, who played in the celebrity field.
“Days like today don’t come often, so you really cherish them when they do,” said Korda, whose previous best round was a 62 in the 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand, which she also won.
The 60 was just the fifth in LPGA Tour history and first since Paula Creamer in 2008. The only 59 in Tour history was by Sorenstam in 2001. Larry Fitzgerald, the sure-handed receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, played with Korda during her magical round and had a ringside seat to witness greatness.
“The shot she hit on 18 was unbelievable,” Fitzgerald said about the birdie that capped Korda’s 60. “She played the contour of the greens, she hit it exactly where she wanted, and left herself below the hole. It was mastery at its finest. She had complete command of her ball today.”
In all, 10 major champions were in the field at Diamond Resorts and they were joined by Hall of Famers from other sports, Grammy-winning musicians, stage performers and media personalities. The celebrity division, played under the Stableford format, was won by U.S. Davis Cup tennis captain Mardy Fish, with 158 points.
Chad Pfiefer, who lost his left leg above the knee in an IED explosion in Iraq and is a past winner of the National Amputee Championship, was second with 147 points. Sorenstam, playing the event for the first time, was ninth with 134 points.
The show put on Sunday by a couple of Kordas and Kang at Diamond Resorts set the bar extremely high for the new season. There’s only one thing to do now: Start gathering names to play in next year’s Tournament of Champions.
Saskatchewan-raised WHL player Kyrell Sopotyk paralyzed in snowboarding accident – CBC.ca
A Saskatchewan-raised hockey player has been paralyzed by a snowboarding accident.
Kamloops Blazers forward Kyrell Sopotyk, 19, was injured in a snowboarding accident over the weekend, according to the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Sopotyk is from Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. He was drafted to B.C.’s Blazers in 2016.
“Everyone associated with the Western Hockey League is deeply saddened by the devastating news,” the WHL said in a statement.
“The WHL and our member clubs extend our thoughts and prayers to Kyrell, the entire Sopotyk family, Kyrell’s teammates with the Kamloops Blazers, and all his friends during this challenging time.”
A GoFundMe campaign set up on Sunday to raise money for Sopotyk’s needs, including possible renovations to his home and health-care costs, has surpassed its goal of $50,000. As of Monday morning, it had raised more than $76,000.
“I think any parent that has to go to the hospital after an accident knows what they would be experiencing right now. It’s a shock. And I think as a parent, you go through those emotions of … ‘Why my child’?” said Kathleen Zary, organizer of the GoFundMe campaign.
“Kyrell is an amazing soul. The family’s amazing … I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now.”
Zary said the success of the GoFundMe campaign is not surprising.
“They’re very well-loved family in [Saskatchewan] and in Kamloops as well. And I know if the roles were reversed, the Sopotyk family would do the same for anybody. They’re one of those families that you meet and you just are instantly drawn to them because there’s just so lovely and caring to everybody.”
The cause and type of injury has not been made public at this time.
Milanovich resigns as Edmonton's head coach – CFL.ca
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Football Team is now without a head coach.
Scott Milanovich has resigned to pursue NFL opportunities, the team announced on Monday.
Milanovich was hired as the club’s 22nd head coach on Dec 12, 2019. Prior to his appointment, he was the quarterbacks coach for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars from 2017-2019 with a brief stint as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2018.
“Scott informed me this morning that he was resigning as the head coach of the Edmonton Football Team to accept a position in the NFL,” GM/VP of football operations Brock Sunderland said. “It’s disappointing that he was never able to coach a game for our organization due to the pandemic. We wish Scott and his family all the best in his future endeavors.”
The team also stated in the announcement that the search for the club’s next head coach will begin immediately.
Milanovich began his CFL coaching career in 2003, when he joined the Calgary Stampeders as a QB coach. After spending some time in Europe, he returned to Canada in 2007, this time as a QB coach in Montreal.
He moved quickly up the coaching ranks while with the Alouettes. Ahead of the 2008 campaign, he was promoted to the team’s offensive coordinator on top of fulfilling his other duties. In 2009, he also picked up an assistant head coach title.
He’d stay with the Als until the conclusion of the 2011 season, when he was named the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts. In his first season as a head coach, Milanovich led the Argos to a 9-9 record, finishing second in the East Division. They’d make it to they 100th Grey Cup and beat the Calgary Stampeders to take home the title.
Alongside his first championship in the CFL, Milanovich also earned 2012 Coach of the Year honours.
He’d spend another four seasons at the helm in Toronto. Over that span, the team made the playoffs twice and missed out on another two occasions.
Following the 2016 season, Milanovich would step down as the head coach of the Argos and joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as their QB coach, a position he held until he joined Edmonton in 2019.
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