TORONTO—Sukh Chungh is fast becoming a veteran of football combines.
The Calgary Dinos offensive lineman will be among 50 top prospects participating at the CFL combine this weekend. It will be Chungh’s third audition this off-season after attending two separate NFL combines earlier this month—an NFL regional event in Chicago on March 8 and a super-regional competition in Tempe, Ariz., last weekend.
But even with the NFL workouts under his belt, the six-foot-four, 300-pound native of Port Coquitlam, B.C., admits he’s anxious heading into the weekend.
“I thought I’d be more comfortable but I’m still getting the same feelings I did when I went down south,” Chungh said. “It’s mixed emotions. It’s a feeling of anxiousness, nerves and excitement to get it started and to get it done. It’s been a long process.
“I just want to present myself in a great manner to the teams and hope to strike some interest.”
Chungh said at the very least he’s going in with an idea of what to expect and how to perform under pressure.
“Just having competed against players from the south will help,” he said. “So too will having been on that stage where you can get the feel of everyone watching you when you do your event.”
Chungh and the other participants were scheduled to report for the medicals Friday. Interviews with representatives from all nine CFL teams are scheduled for later in the evening.
The players’ strength, athleticism and flexibility will be measured Saturday with the bench press, vertical jump and broad jump. Speed and agility testing goes Sunday as well as 40-yard dash. The combine will conclude with players donning pads for one-on-one competitions.
“It’s a very unique job interview,” Chungh said. “I’m probably looking forward to Sunday a bit more because it’s a busier schedule where you can really show your athleticism with all the speed drills and field work.”
As important as the combine is to the participants, it’s also a big deal for CFL officials. Toronto Argonauts GM Jim Barker said the weekend presents teams a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the young players.
“It’s vital because (CFL) teams are built on Canadian content,” Barker said. “The combine is a time were we get to watch guys actually move around, we get to take what we’ve seen in off-season in terms of their film and how does it translate to the kinds of things they’re going to have to do in the CFL.
“It also gives us a chance to get to know them. That’s one of the things with free agency, when you go sign somebody that you or nobody on your staff has coached you don’t know what that guy is like. At least here we get to spend 15 minutes with them and find out what they’re like, how they’re going to handle different pressures and what’s important to them?”
But Barker and other GMs won’t get to see all the top prospects.
Saskatoon native Brett Boyko, an offensive lineman at UNLV who is the CFL’s scouting bureau top-ranked prospect, is bypassing the event to prepare for his NFL pro day. Same with UConn offensive lineman Alex Mateas (ranked No. 2) and Yale running back Tyler Varga (No. 4).
That will make Western defensive lineman Daryl Waud, at No. 3, the highest-ranked prospect at the combine. The absence of Boyko and Mateas should mean more attention being paid to the seven-ranked Chungh and fellow Calgary offensive lineman Sean McEwen (ranked No. 6).
But that’s of little solace to Chungh.
“I’m just worried about what I can control and how I can prepare myself,” Chungh said. “I’m not worried about any other things, I’m just keeping it simple.”