Justin Palardy can’t deny it would be pretty cool to be listed as the greatest place kicker in Canadian Interuniversity Sport history.
But he could be on the verge of something he considers a heck of a lot cooler: A spot on a season-opening Canadian Football League roster.
The Saint Mary’s Huskies kicker/punter is being talked about as a potential top-three-round pick in Sunday’s Canadian Football League draft in Toronto. If that happens, there is a good chance he won’t be back at school in the fall, ending his realistic bid to smash all-time CIS records for scoring and field goals.
“Records are cool and all, but I’m not playing to break records — I’m playing to get a paycheque,” Palardy said. “I want to go to the CFL and if I can go this year, I’m gonna go. That’s my whole dream and goal. It’s what I’ve been working toward.”
Palardy, a three-time Atlantic University Sport all-star, is 90 points away from catching Jesse Lumsden’s CIS scoring record of 410 and five field goals away from catching Frank Jagas’s mark of 70. He already has AUS records in both categories.
The Murray Siding, N.S., native spent last week working out with four CFL clubs — the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos — and described his performance as “fairly average” while doing an abnormal amount of kicking.
Palardy said he usually kicks 10 field goals per day. Last week, he estimates he averaged more than 50.
“It takes its toll on the leg,” he said. “It’s constant leg extension and you can only handle so much.”
Rob Maver of the Guelph Gryphons is the top-ranked kicker/punter according to CFL scouting and TSN analyst Duane Ford. But some scouts consider Palardy the best pure field-goal kicker available.
The Stampeders are one team reportedly looking for exactly what Palardy has to offer.
“Calgary really needs a field-goal kicker and they’re not looking to wait the whole draft to pick one up … Whether it will be me, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m just going to wait until Sunday and see what happens.”
A number of local university standouts will earn consideration on Canadian Football League draft day.
TSN analyst Duane Ford’s position-by-position draft rankings single out numerous Nova Scotians and Saint Mary’s Huskies who could be selected on Sunday.
Following is a rundown of some prominently-ranked players, listed with height, weight, local connection, Ford’s positional ranking and scouting comments.
• ADAM BABOULAS, 6-4, 292, Saint Mary’s (seventh offensive tackle): “Good feet and technique. He’ll need to get stronger to play at next level.”
• DAN SCHUTTE, 5-11, 269, Saint Mary’s (third defensive tackle): “His size isn’t ideal but he can be a mismatch with speed and exceptional skills.”
• REED ANDERSON, 6-1, 241, Saint Mary’s (ninth fullback): “Strictly a banger.”
• LEROY FONTAINE, 5-11, 209, Saint Mary’s (12th linebacker): “Tough as nails but a little undersized for the next level.”
• KARL McCARTNEY, 6-0, 224, Saint Mary’s (15th linebacker): “Once a prized recruit, he is now done with football.”
• SALEEM BORHOT, 6-3, 195, Saint Mary’s (second safety): “His combination of height and speed give him perhaps the best range in this group.”
• MARK HOLDEN, 6-2, 175, Saint Mary’s/Halifax (12th safety): “Durability is one of the questions.”