Unreal at football-U

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Move over receivers, the defensive linemen are taking over

Ed Kapp
Sports Writer

During a recent TSN telecast – on account of former Rams skill players Chris Bauman, Jason Clermont, Chris Getzlaf, and Jordan Sisco making the jump from the Canadian Interuniversity Sport to the Canadian Football League – the University of Regina was dubbed Receiver U.

But with the prospect of defensive linemen Logan Brooks, Stefan Charles, Benton Gieni, Akiem Hicks, and Ryan Wellman making the transition to the professional ranks over the course of the next few seasons, the U of R may someday be known as Defensive Lineman U.

According to Wellman, who spent two years with the Rams prior to playing one season of amateur football in British Columbia before ultimately returning to the U of R for the 2011 campaign, that sounds alright.

“I think that would be really sweet,” said Wellman, 21, a former quarterback with the Sheldon-Williams Collegiate Spartans. “We’ve got great coaching and great athletes. When it comes to the last two years – especially this year – I can’t imagine us not being the top d-line. There you go – it could be D-Line U … I like it a lot.”

Recently, Wellman – who has long aspired to make his living in the world of professional football – took one step closer to fulfilling his dream.

“I went to the National Invitational Combine,” Wellman said. “It’s for guys that are draft-eligible or free agents. It’s a chance to get noticed by some CFL teams … It’s a chance for guys that didn’t get invited to [the CFL’s annual evaluation camp] to still go and strut their stuff in front of CFL teams and hopefully get noticed.”

Although Wellman – who was interviewed by representatives from the Toronto Argonauts during his time in Ontario – was invited to the event on “short-notice,” he insisted that he feels he nevertheless put his best foot forward.

“I thought I did well, for sure,” Wellman offered. “I tested well, the on-field drills went really well … I definitely left there in a good mood.”

Despite the fact that Wellman emphasized that playing professional football would be a dream come true – and he has drawn interest from decision-makers in the CFL – he also insisted that he wouldn’t be upset if he doesn’t hear his name called during a CFL draft.

“Personally, I do not think that I will be drafted and I’m not dwelling on it, either,” admitted Wellman, who is eligible to play three more seasons with the Rams.

“I think if I’m going to make it to the next level, it would be a couple years later as a free agent … After this year, I’m going to be really focused on trying to make that jump to the next level.”

While it’s admittedly difficult to make it to the professional ranks – which is to say nothing of actually sticking around for any serious amount of time – Wellman, although currently a kinesiology student, insisted he feels he is on the right track. 

“I think [making it to the CFL] will just take more of what I’m doing,” Wellman noted. “Staying in the gym and lots of training – definitely putting on weight. I’ve gotta get stronger, because those are big guys in the CFL.”

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