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Boatmen feel good about new additions to crew

April 28, 2005 - Canadian Football League (CFL) Toronto Argonauts

Mississauga, ON – The Toronto Argonauts Football Club is excited to announce that the club, in addition to drafting OL Nick Kaczur (KAY-zer) in the first round, has also selected LB Raymond Fontaine, DL Philippe Audet, OT Jeff Keeping, OL Tye Smith, RB Bryan Crawford and RB Ian Forde in the 2005 CFL Canadian Draft. Fontaine, Audet and Keeping were all taken in the second round at 11th overall, 14th overall and 18th overall respectively. Smith was picked in the 4th round (35th overall), Crawford was taken in the 5th round (44th overall) and Forde was selected with last pick in the draft, 6th round (53rd overall).

Director, Player Personnel Greg Mohns was very happy with the Argos draft: “Overall, we felt really good about the way things fell into place. We drafted two of the top three players on our draft board in Kaczur and Fontaine, and came within one pick of getting three of our top five players. Nick Kaczur was by far the best player in this year’s draft. He’s a tremendous talent and we hope that he might one day return to Canada with an even better skill-set than he already possess.”

Fontaine, an Ottawa native, is currently a junior at the University of Kentucky. The 25 year old was listed as the Wildcats’ starting outside linebacker as a sophomore and again as a junior. The scouting report shows that Fontaine is a tremendous athlete with good size and speed. The Argonauts originally acquired the 11th overall pick from Calgary in exchange for the negotiation rights to RB Ronney Jenkins.

Mohns was excited to get a player of Fontaine’s caliber: “We are extremely excited to have Raymond Fontaine. We’ve spent a lot of time scouting him and we truly believe that with his natural athletic ability, talent, size and speed he’ll be an impact player in this league when he’s finished at Kentucky. He’s got sideline to sideline ability and an incredible amount of range.”

Fontaine was also enthused to be selected by Toronto: “I am very excited to be an Argo. I grew up watching the Argonauts…mostly beat Ottawa. Toronto is a great place, I was coached by former Argos safety Dan Murphy and I learned a lot from him. It’s a beautiful city and I still have a lot of friends there.”

A standout at Laval University, Philippe Audet is a two-time Vanier Cup Champion with the Rouge et Or. He was an integral part of both championship squads and played with current Argonauts receiver, and 2004 1st round draft pick, Jean-Frederic Tremblay. Toronto acquired the 14th overall selection (along with OL Mike Mihelic) from Hamilton in exchange for QB Marcus Brady and LB Tawambi Settles.

Mohns needed only a day to confirm his enthusiasm for Audet: “Adam Rita and I spent a day at Laval during the week of the 2004 East Division Championship. We watched Philippe at practice and we were really excited with what we saw. He’s aggressive from the edge and has a great rh-factor (run & hit).”

Though he played inside receiver for most of his college career, Jeff Keeping will arrive at the Argonauts training camp as an offensive tackle. In 2003, Jeff was named an OUA second team all-star, and in 2004 he was invited to play in the East West All-Star game. Keeping is a former member of the Toronto Thunder football team from the Ontario Varsity Football League and was an offensive team captain while at the University of Western Ontario.

Commented Mohns on bringing Keeping in as a future non-import tackle: “Although Jeff Keeping played a majority of his college career as a receiver, we’re bringing him to camp as an offensive tackle. He’s embraced the switch and he worked out with the Western Ontario team this fall as an O-Lineman. We think we found a true diamond in the rough, and see him as a possible future Canadian star.”

Tye Smith played on the offensive line at tackle throughout his four-year career with the Bisons. He played in all eight games in 2004 and holds four Bison offensive linemen team testing and lifting records: vertical jump, 225 bench, timed crunch and tied in squats.

Smith’s body type reminds Mohns of some of the CFL Greats: “Tye Smith was coached well at Manitoba and his frame reminds us of Chris Walby or Miles Gorrell. He experienced some off-season hardships during his senior year at Manitoba but he’s got lots of potential and we expect him to bounce back.”

Bryan Crawford is considered to be one of the top players to emerge from the OUA. His blazing speed, once clocked at 4.28 in the 40-yard dash, gained him the starting running back job at Queen’s University. While at Queen’s, he set numerous school records in both football and track & field.

Ian Forde might be the sleeper of this year’s draft. In spite of his small size he often put up big numbers for Waterloo. The all-star kick returner led the Warriors in 2003 and 2004 being named to the annual East West Bowl Game.

Mohns can see that both Crawford and Forde are exceptional athletes: “Bryan Crawford and Ian Forde are both great athletes with a lot of upside. We were surprised that Crawford was still available as late as he was, but we’re very happy to get him. Forde was a great late round bargain. He’s small but you can’t ignore what he did at Waterloo.”

Raymond Fontaine

Kentucky

Linebacker

6’4”, 235 pounds Born: January 9, 1980

Ottawa, ON

2004: Played in 11 games starting three at linebacker…recorded 33 defensive tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss and 1 QB Sack…2003: Played in 11 games, started in 6 as a junior…Recorded 33 defensive tackles…recorded a career high 6 tackles at Louisville and Ohio…2002: Played in 12 games as a redshirt freshman…saw spot duty at defensive end…made 9 defensive tackles…earned a varsity letter…2001: Redshirted.

Junior Football: Played eight years for the Myers Raiders in Ottawa (same club as Jesse Palmer and Pat Woodcock).

Personal: Son of Karl and Raymonde Michel…majors in Marketing Communications and Agricultural Economics and is bilingual…expecting a child with his fiancé in July… High School: Attended Sir Robert Borden and was a star on the basketball court and the track team …named high school athlete of the year twice.

Philippe Audet

Laval

Defensive Lineman

6’2”, 227 lbs

Born: September 17, 1981

Sainte-Justine, PQ

2004: Vanier Cup Champion…2003: Vanier Cup Champion.

Jeff Keeping

Western Ontario

Offensive Tackle

6’5”, 268 lbs

Born: July 19, 1982

Uxbridge, ON

Notes: Will arrive at training camp in May as an Offensive Tackle.

College: Recorded 47 catches for 700 yards while at Western…2004: Finished his senior year with 12 catches for 134 yards and 1 TD…Invited to East West All-Star game…2003: Named OUA All-Star...Pulled in 26 receptions for 376 yards and 1 TD…2002: Had 16 receptions for 297 yards.

Junior: Played primarily at Tight End and described by his coach as “a man among boys”…led the Thunder to a Provincial Championship in 2001…Helped Thunder to a combined regular season record of 13-4-0 from 2001-02.

Personal: Son of Berick and Lois…has two sisters…Works at his father’s Sign Installation & Service business… High School: Attended Uxbridge Secondary School where was team captain and MVP…Also participated in rugby, baseball and swimming…Named high school athlete of the year.

Tye Smith

Manitoba

Offensive Lineman

6’5”, 325 lbs

Born: March 9, 1979

Maple Ridge, BC

College: Was a four year starter at tackle with the Bisons…Personal: Majored in Arts.

Junior: Played with the Tri-City Bulldogs before joining Manitoba.

Bryan Crawford

Queen’s

Running Back

5’10”, 225 lbs

Born: February 18, 1982

Hamilton, ON

College: Collected 1,591 yards on 266 rushes (Avg. 6.0) and 862 yards on 75 receptions and 17 touchdowns during his career with the Golden Gaels…He also tallied 1,163 kickoff return yards on 60 returns and 827 punt return yards on 73 returns…2004: Named CIS Game MVP at CIS East West All-Star game…2002: Named Queen’s Special teams Player of the Year…2001: Named Queen’s Rookie of the Year.

Personal: Son of Glen Crawford who played football at Acadia and McMaster and was drafted into the CFL…Won two bronze medals in 04-05 OUA track championship…majored in Political Science…High School: Named game MVP of Hamilton Steel City Bowl…Attended Barton Secondary School where he was team MVP.

Ian Forde

Waterloo

Running Back

5’9”, 180 lbs

Born: July 15, 1982

Cambridge, ON

2004: Invited to attend the East West All-Star game…2003: Named OUA 1st Team All-Star at kick returner…Named 2nd Team OUA All-Star at receiver.

Personal: Majored in History…High School: Attended Galt Secondary School.

The 2004 Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts are North America's oldest professional football club, having celebrated their 130th anniversary in 2003. The Toronto Argonauts have 15 Grey Cup championships to their credit. To purchase 2005 season tickets or to get more information about season ticket packages, please contact the sales team at (416) 341-ARGO. Full roster details are available at www.argonauts.ca.

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Canadian Football League Stories from April 28, 2005


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