Bahamian collegiate gridiron star Eugene McMinns is looking to make the transition to professional football with an upcoming trial next month.
McMinns will participate in the “Diamond In The Rough” Football Combine, hosted by Bradley’s Sports Performance, March 17th in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Four Canadian Football League franchises will be in attendance, including the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Toronto Argonauts.
“This is pretty much my last resort, my last chance to make an impression and hopefully have a CFL team see how much of an asset I can be to their franchise. It is a great opportunity for me to get noticed and an honor to get noticed in this way. I think I have a had a pretty good college career and I’m eager to take that next step, hopefully with one of these clubs,” he said.
The combine testing will include two 40 yard dashes, short shuttle, one on one’s, individual drills and special teams drills.
McMinns ended the regular season ranked third in all-purpose yards in the AUS with a total of 1,232 yards and 154 per game. He was also the second leading punt returner in the division with an average of 14.3 yards per return and one 94 yard touchdown. He also returned 19 kicks for 437 yards and an average of 23 yards per return.
Due to CFL changes to the “Game Rule Ratio” McMinns has faced challenges in his recruitment.
According to the CFL, each team may have a maximum of 44 players, including 20 international players. Of those 20 internationals, four must be identified as designated internationals. The four designated international players are players who can play on special teams or replace an international starter cannot be starters. Of the 24 starters on a team, a minimum of seven starters will be nationals players.
National Players (formerly non-import) are either – Canadian citizens at the time of signing of the Player’s first contract; a player classified as a non-import prior to May 31st, 2014; or a player who was physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of five years prior to attaining the age of 18.
“I was expecting to be classified as a national after being here for about five years but. Most of the scouts and coaches thought that too and my recruitment was going very well. When I was classified as an international everything slowed down because the odds are so much greater when the already limited spots become even more limited,” he said, “I already come from very humble beginnings so it’s challenging when you have to fly from place to place for a tryout and to train, so I’m at a spot right now where this combine in Hamilton is a crossroads in my career. Even as simple as getting to Hamilton for this combine presents a challenge in itself, but all I can do is continue to work hard and prepare myself for each opportunity as it comes my way.”
This season, McMinns finished second on the Acadia Axemen in receptions and yardage with 28 catches for 322 yards and three touchdowns.
In his final collegiate season, McMinns said he was thrilled to be a part of the Bahamian connection that helped the Acadia Axemen win the 2017 Atlantic University Sports (AUS) championship title on Tuesday night.
The Axemen, which included McMinns, defensive back Arrien McDonald and offensive lineman Shelton Williams, clinched the title with a 45-38 decision over the Saint Mary’s Huskies.
“My plans after the season is to finish school and get my degree and if it’s in God’s plans, then maybe I can be scouted to play professional football,” McMinns stated following the win, “I just want to encourage the young 242 players to always chase after their dreams and trust in God to pull them through.”