Football stars take their game to the next level

McAuley, Kordic attempt to crack CFL roster positions

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Randy McAuley and Nick Kordic

Joyce Wang and Cole Yates

COMING AT YOU FASTER THAN A MIKE O'SHEA BLITZ. Former Mustangs Randy McAuley and Nick Kordic are in the midst of tryouts with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, respectively.

May is often cited as the ultimate month in the sporting year. The boys of summer are in full swing on the diamond, the NBA and NHL playoffs are winding down, and the CFL draft starts the month off with a bang.

Alright, so the draft isn’t in the same category as the aforementioned events. That’s not to say the month didn’t start well for Mustangs defensive back Nick Kordic. Kordic was drafted thirty-sixth overall by the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The news came as a surprise to the star defender, who converted from running back after entering university.

“It was something I dreamed of accomplishing in my football career, but I can’t say that I was 100 per cent sure it was going to happen,” Kordic said.

“After I got the news that I wasn’t invited to the evaluation camp, I was a little more skeptical that my draft status was dropping,” he added.

Even though the selection was somewhat unexpected, Kordic still has high expectations of himself.

“I feel that making the team is a realistic goal,” he said. “Anything short of making the team would be disappointing for me.”

Randy McAuley, running back and reigning male athlete of the year at Western, is taking a different approach to his training camp. McAuley was signed as a free agent by the Toronto Argonauts.

“My expectations are to play my best and to go out and work my butt off,” he said. “I’m not really expecting anything.”

McAuley said he is content wherever the Argos use him.

“If they decide they want me to run down on some special teams, I’ll do that,” he said. “[If] there is something else that they want me to do, I’ll do that, too.”

McAuley described his experience at training camp.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far, but a lot of hard work,” he said. “Everyone is pretty supportive and helps everyone out, but it is extremely competitive. The first day you get out there can be intimidating.”

Intimidation seems natural when two of your prospective teammates include Damon Allen, pro football’s all-time passing leader and former Heisman trophy winner Eric Crouch.

“I’ve taken a few snaps with [Crouch],” McAuley said. “It’s a really cool experience.”

McAuley was recruited by Division-I NCAA schools Penn State and Michigan State, before deciding to remain at home in London. Even though he’s not at the NFL level, he has no regrets remaining north of the border.

“I’d like to think that maybe [the NFL] would have been an option but that’s one of those ‘if’ situations,” McAuley said.

Former Mustangs head coach Larry Haylor chimed in with another ‘if’ situation for the star running back.

“Had Randy stayed healthy, I think [he] would have broken every rushing record at our university,” Haylor said. McAuley finished fifth on the ’Stangs all-time rushing list, averaging over six yards per carry in his career.

Haylor also had kind words for Kordic, who amassed 89 tackles while at Western.

“Nick is growing and has huge upside,” Haylor said. “[He] is another guy that could knock your socks off physically.”

The now retired coach offered the guys advice before they went off to camp.

“Try to impress with each opportunity you get,” Haylor said. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

“Take it day by day, moment by moment, and practice by practice.”

Kordic also shared advice for others aspiring to play professionally.

“Never stop believing,” Kordic said. “If you dream, dream big and work hard for that dream, and it will happen.”

Kordic and McAuley aren’t the only Mustangs attempting to make a CFL squad. Defensive lineman Glen Larocque is on the gridiron in Saskatchewan, trying out for the Roughriders.

The CFL regular season begins June 28 when the Argos host the B.C. Lions.

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