Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rookie Linebacker Herdman to Report to Argos with Chip on His Shoulder

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rookie Linebacker Herdman to Report to Argos with Chip on His Shoulder

Article excerpt

Herdman looks to make mark with Argos

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TORONTO - Justin Herdman will report to the Toronto Argonauts with a big chip on his shoulder.

Toronto selected the six-foot-one, 235-pound Simon Fraser linebacker in the seventh round, 54th overall, in Sunday's CFL draft. While very grateful for the opportunity to play professional football, Herdman felt he should've been called much earlier.

He was the fifth linebacker drafted and second by Toronto, which took Laurier's Nakas Onyeka in the fifth round. He was, however, selected six spots ahead of his twin brother Jordan, also an SFU linebacker who was drafted by the B.C. Lions.

But when rookie camp opens later this month, Justin Herdman will have something to prove.

"There were many linebackers picked ahead of me and that was frustrating," Herdman said during a telephone interview. "It definitely gives me more ammunition, it's added more fuel to the fire.

"I'm ready to compete and give 110 per cent and show why I should've been the first overall linebacker picked."

Herdman, a Winnipeg native, accumulated 220 tackles, 33 tackles for a loss, six sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries at Simon Fraser. A three-time GNAC All-Academic team selection, Herdman had 73 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries and an interception last season.

Herdman will have some adjustments to make with Toronto. There's the matter of playing three-down football on a wider, longer field as Simon Fraser competes at the NCAA Division II level.

Herdman won't have much time to impress as CFL teams only play two exhibition games before starting the regular season. But Herdman's biggest challenge could be adjusting to life without his brother.

Teammates on the field, the Herdmans are often inseparable off it. They were workout partners in the gym and biomedical physiology majors in the classroom and many times were seen together working at the campus library.

"It's going to be a new challenge . . . we haven't been apart for very long," Herdman said. "But it's something I feel we can handle and we're both comfortable with because we're always going to be in touch as we follow each other's careers. …

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