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Fagnan prepares for once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

“It’s a job interview, that’s what it is. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime job interview.”

That’s how Bonnyville’s Jeremy Fagnan described being invited to the CFL Combine taking place Wednesday, March 13.

“I don’t think anybody has had the opportunity out of the Bonnyville area, so it was exciting… There’s nothing guaranteed, but it’s a shot,” Fagnan expressed.

The three-day program brings university-level athletes together to run through a series of tests and drills, which allows nine CFL teams to narrow down their choices ahead of the draft in May.

Athletes must be invited in order to participate, and have to be in their last year of eligibility, which is 25-years-old for U Sports football.

The chance to participate in the CFL Combine alone is an accomplishment for Fagnan, while the prospect of being drafted leaves him speechless.

“Somebody wants you enough that they use a draft pick on you, I can’t even verbalize how much that would mean, and the opportunity coming from such a small town. (I didn’t) get involved (in the sport) until I was 14-years-old, and some kids here have been playing ball since they were kids,” he detailed.

It wasn’t until midway through his last season that Fagnan realized it was a possibility he could try out for a professional team.

“I didn’t think it would be an option until I started talking to a couple of scouts who said ‘finish the season strong, and you might be able to go to the Combine,’” he recalled.

Since learning about the invitation, Fagnan has been “training each and every day for hours upon hours” ahead of the big event to ensure he’s in top physical condition.

This past season, Fagnan’s university team, St. Francis Xavier (STFX), won the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) final and headed to Quebec to play Laval University in the national semi-finals U Sports UTeck Bowl.

Unfortunately, they lost 63-0.

Although the season didn’t end the way he would have hoped, Fagnan noted being recruited by STFX gave him the chance to continue with football.

“It’s a bigger platform for teams to see you on, especially when you’re playing games on the AUS final in the Loney Bowl and you play Laval on national television,” he said.

Fagnan grew up involved in the sport in Bonnyville, and spent a couple of years developing in the junior football leagues before being recruited by STFX.

Brian Walsh, Fagnan’s former high school coach, noted his biggest asset is his ‘never say die’ attitude.

“He has a lot to be proud of. It has a lot to do with his work ethic, his attitude, and just his general persona. He’s a real great guy with a real strong work ethic. There’s probably a lot of guys that are going to be more athletic, faster, and everything else, but, there’s something about him that catches a coach’s eye.”

Fagnan encouraged young aspiring athletes not to give up.

“Even if you’re from a small town and work hard, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s how hard you want to work for it, and go after it.”