With talent at each and every position, the Manitoba Elite Combine never fails to produce some outstanding individual performances and great metrics. This year was no exception with DB Samuel Hezekiah the name on everyone’s lips after jumping a 9’8” broad and a 40” vertical. The 2019 River East prospect who played on either side of the ball put himself squarely in the conversation for a positional MVP at the end of the day but came up just short in highly contested position group. The following are the players that did the little bit extra to set themselves apart from testing through competition drills and earned themselves MVP.
Dayton Black, QB
The 2018 QB from Brandon, MB stands out from the crowd, both literally and figuratively. Standing 6’5”, the Neelin HS product was part of Manitoba’s provincial team as an underclassman last summer and trained with Big Air Academy during the winter. The work has definitely paid off as he paced a solid group of QBs all day. Dayton was able to throw with zip and displayed surprising touch and anticipation for a windy day on an open field. With a prototypical frame, strong arm and a massive up side, Dayton has a great future ahead of him.
Eryk Bujalski, LB
Bujalski is Vincent Massey’s heartbeat in the middle of their vaunted defense. He is an old school, no-nonsense thumper that loves to punish ball carriers. Buljalski is yet another 2018 grad that was a Team Manitoba player at last year’s Football Canada Cup. Training with Recruit Ready this offseason, he looks poised to further build on his growing reputation as one of the nation’s top MLB prospects entering his senior year. On the day, he displayed good mobility and change of direction, giving the RBs hell in the competition period.
Bryan Kwak, RB
Kwak is a versatile athlete that lined up at RB and DB for Brandon’s Crocus Plains Regional SS. He’s a strong, 1-cut runner that can break tackles and does a nice job catching out of the backfield. Bryan stood out amongst the RBs, putting in a gritty effort and making defenders miss with some nice moves during comp drills to earn his MVP. After this combine display, we’re eager to see what Bryan can do during his senior season with the Plainsmen and we anticipate a breakout season.
Kieran Cummings, DL
A true nose tackle capable of clogging run lanes but nimble enough to collapse the pocket and get after the QB. Cummings is a handful for offensive linemen and is quickly garnering attention across Canada. The Recruit Ready trainee was a Team Manitoba member last year and is expected to be a stalwart across their line again this summer. The 2018 grad from Garden City also doubles on the OL for the Gophers. At the combine, some of the best action of the day was his one on ones versus OL Rain Slater that got everyone hyped as the two big men went after it each and every time.
Josh Forde, WR
The Dakota Lancers wideout is a class of 2019 playmaker. Sure handed and agile, Forde put up some solid numbers in testing, measuring out as one of the more explosive players in attendance. He further impressed by running smooth routes and making some tough catches, both in traffic and as balls got away from QBs with the wind. His ability to separate from defenders allows him to find space to be a constant threat for the opposition. He’ll be one of the underclassmen to watch in Manitoba as the football season nears.
Nick Conway, DB
Forde’s Lancer teammate, Nick Conway, took home the DB MVP in what turned out to be the deepest position group at the combine. The 2018 grad is a sure tackling cover man that breaks well on the ball and does well to disrupt it away from his receiver. A Recruit Ready 7v7 travel player, Conway is set to have a big senior year. He had a solid day of testing, including an impressive 4.2 shuttle which was tops amongst participants, and was lockdown in his 1 on 1’s.
Rain Slater, OL
The pride of St. John’s HS, Slater was probably the belle of the ball at Manitoba’s Elite Combine. The highly rated 2018 lineman came in with some lofty expectations to live up to and did not disappoint. Rain was dominant throughout his 1 on 1’s where his brute strength and size (6’4, 300) smothered many of the opposing defensive linemen. However, it was his agility technique to be able to stay with smaller more athletic linemen that stood out the most. His combine performance on the day surely justified his many accolades and demonstrated why he’s being highly sought after on either side of the border.