© Ken Dearborn
Jay Dearborn, left, and Jeff Hillier competed at the recent CFL regional combine.
Dearborn, Hillier turn in good showing at CFL combine
Jeff Hillier achieved a goal by recently attending a CFL regional combine.
The receiver and his Holland College Hurricanes teammate Jay Dearborn went to Montreal to show their skills to CFL scouts.
"I can proudly say I have checked that off my list," said Hillier, a Charlottetown resident. "Not many football players get an opportunity to compete in this setting, so I tried my best and competed as if it was the only chance I would get."
Only Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) players were eligible to advance to the national combine, as those players must go through the draft. College players, like Hillier and Dearborn, are free agents.
"Both Jeff and Jay performed exceptionally well at the Montreal regional combine, proving they can compete with the top CIS players," said Ryan Janzen, the CFL's director of football operations. "In the matter of a day, they went from being completely unknown to being on our teams' radars. It's a great story."
During the morning testing period, Dearborn led the way in both the broad jump at 11 feet and 2.75 inches as well as the vertical jump at 40.5 inches. He also finished second in the 40-yard dash in 4.58.
Hillier recorded a nine-foot-6.5-inch broad jump, a 32.5-inch vertical and a 4.68 in the 40.
Dearborn, a defensive halfback, placekicker and punter from Sydenham, Ont., called it an unbelievable experience.
"We got to test and compete against the top CIS players from Eastern Canada in front of CFL team representatives," he said.
Hillier added: "Many players at the combine did not know where Holland College was or who we played against. I believe Jay and I put Holland College on the map and will not be forgotten."
Both are graduating from their programs this year.
In previous seasons, Hurricanes Owen MacWilliams, Demetrius Ferguson, Dave Clark and Marcus Dunphy attended regional combines. Dunphy also attended a pre-season camp with the Toronto Argonauts.