Volume 93, Issue 1
Friday, May 14, 1999
Three Mustangs selected in CFL draft
By Wes Brown
Full back Craig Higgins, wide receiver Dan Disley and offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek had great careers for the Western Mustang football team and their efforts have not gone unnoticed by the Canadian Football League.
Last Friday Abou-Mechrek, Disley and Higgins were chosen by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Calgary Stampeders and the B.C. Lions respectively.
For Abou-Mechrek, who went in the fifth round, the experience left him feeling like an excited school girl. "I was really nervous. I thought I had a chance with the season that myself and the team had," he said. "Me and Disley kept calling each other every few minutes asking for any news from the draft. I talked to Winnipeg who were very excited about me coming down."
He added he does not know what to expect going into training camp but hopes to make the team. "It reminds me of the situation I was in when I came to Western to play football out of high school. What was the calibre going to be? What were the guys on the team going to be like? It's a whole new game," Abou-Mechrek said.
Western football head coach Larry Haylor cited Abou-Mechrek's commitment as the reason he achieved such success. "Mike made the commitment to play at a higher level," Haylor said. "He went from 315 pounds to 285, becoming quicker and aggressive. He made great progress and worked hard to be successful."
Disley was studying when he got the call from his agent and Calgary's general manager with the news he had been taken in the fifth round.
"The Stampeders were champions last year and they're my favourite team so needless to say it was a very good place for me to go to," he said.
Personal statistics and good training aided Disley in the draft but he gives credit to the great season the Mustangs' had. "I really got a lot out of the Mustang program including my work ethic and knowledge about the game. I think I have a good chance to make the Stampeders," he said. "There's a number of good receivers, older veterans and a couple of young guys, but Calgary has indicated they want me at slot back."
Disley's former coach sees him as being on the brink of stardom. "Dan was our go-to guy this year," Haylor said. "This year he was healthy and played great. He is a very talented player."
Higgins said he had a friend call him with the news he had been taken in the fifth round by the B.C. Lions. "The draft is live over the internet teams call in their picks to Toronto, so I didn't want to tie up the phone lines in case a team called me," he said.
Higgins, a captain on the Western team, said he did not think he was going to be drafted. "When the Lions called it was pretty exciting. They were very enthusiastic and interested in what I was doing and were calling all day. B.C. is definitely one of the teams I wanted to be on," he said.
Predominantly a blocker this season for the Mustangs, Higgins attributed the role he played on this year's team as why a CFL team would be interested in him.
"I'm going out to the Lions as a fullback and I really want to make the team. There's a new head coach for the team and anyone can come and make a name for themselves," Higgins said.
Haylor said he viewed Higgins as a player who will do anything to help the team be successful. "Craig has a committed work ethic," he said. "He played an important role on the team this year as a blocking back. He did a great job at the little things that allows a team to be successful and he got the recognition he deserved."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999