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May 7, 2017

Emotion Hits Vandervoort On Day He Joins Den

Although he has yet to set foot in his new home province, we get the sense Danny Vandervoort will not have trouble fitting in. Not only has the third overall pick in Sunday’s CFL Draft drawn comparisons to fellow receiver Jason Clermont, he has recently added a little west coast flavour into his training regimen.

“I’ve been doing Yoga,” said the McMaster product on a conference call Sunday night.

“The (CFL) season is longer so I have been working out twice a day. The goal is to show the BC Lions what I have done in the CIS and transfer that to the pros.”

It is almost mandatory to own your own Yoga mat on the west coast so Vandervoort should feel right at home when he reports in just a couple of weeks.

He was beaming with excitement when he received the phone call from Neil Mcevoy saying the Lions were taking him at number three.

“As soon as I saw my parents I couldn’t hold it (emotion) in, “ explained Vandervoort about getting the news.

“They started seeing it in my face that I was getting emotional. My Mom started crying. I told them all they can come see me in BC now.”

VANDERVOORT

Indeed there may have been some family and friends hoping the Barrie, Ontario native would slip one more spot to the Hamilton Tiger-cats. But the Lions had zeroed in on Vandervoort as their guy, assuming the first two picks went as planned. Once the Blue Bombers and Roughriders called Faith Ekikitie and Cameron Judge respectively, McEvoy wasted no time submitting Vandervoort’s name to the league office.

With Shawn Gore making his retirement official last week, it was the perfect time to stock up on Canadian depth at the receiver position. The third overall pick should fit right in and make it an interesting competition in training camp.

“I’m incredibly excited to join BC,” added Vandervoort. “I knew they were interested in me at the combine. Wally and Geroy said they were interested in drafting a receiver and with Gore retiring it kind of motivated them to pick one early. It’s going to be awesome having Geroy around to mentor from and along with other receivers like Williams and Arceneaux. They’re great players so I can’t wait.”

As for those Clermont comparisons, he seems to relish them as opposed to feeling extra pressure ahead of his first pro training camp.

“That’s awesome. I had heard a couple of comparisons about him before this. He’s been a great receiver who made great plays and I think that’s what I try and model my game after too. It’s cool hearing that.”

Big plays were something he was no stranger to in his time at McMaster. He finished in the top five in the OUA in both touchdown receptions and receiving yards per game in his senior season. He also led the Muradors to the Vanier Cup in 2014 where they lost to the University of Montreal. Ironically, the winning Carabins had fellow 2016 Lions draft picks Junior Luke and Frederic Gagnon on their squad.

The brass feels they got the exact two players they wanted with their two first round picks. In Vandervoort they have another option to fill Gore’s spot, while Luke will provide depth in a solid rotation of David Menard and Maxx Forde.

“Vandervoot is a big play guy,” said Wally Buono. “He was very explosive at the combine and when you watch his tape all year long he gets behind the defender. Where he reminds me of Clermont is how fast he gets out of his break. Junior is also a very explosive player. At 6’2, 290 he is a good pass rusher and not just a run stopper. That’s what you want is to be able to get after the quarterback.”

And if Vandervoort indeed starts reminding fans of what Clermont, the ultimate warrior, did for this franchise then you can certainly say the Lions struck gold when they dealt Vernon Adams’ negotiating rights to Montreal almost one year ago. Buckle up. The receiving corps and Canadian content just got a little more intriguing. Perhaps a team Yoga session should so be in order as well.

Matt Baker: mbaker@bclions.com