TORONTO – Calgary Dinos All-Star, weak side linebacker Mike Edem was not particularly satisfied with his performance at the 2013 CFL Combine. Despite posting strong results in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump drills, the 2012 Canada West Defensive Player of the Year left the combine searching for further improvement upon his results.
“There were things I could have done better,” commented Edem, reflecting on his performance at the CFL Combine. The one-on-one drills weren’t perfect for me so there’s room for improvement. You can always get better. As a player and competitor you are never satisfied with what you do. There’s always things you can change to bring your game to a higher level.”
Edem, a Brampton, Ontario native, has spent the past four years traveling throughout Canada pursuing a career in professional football. The St. Edmund Campion Secondary School graduate says it was comforting to finally return home and spend some quality time with friends and family at the CFL Combine in Toronto.
“It’s nice because I felt comfortable. I didn’t feel like I was out of place. Toronto is where I grew up so it’s like coming home to see my friends and family”, stated Edem. “A lot of guys I started out with back in high school were here so it was really a homecoming for me.”
In 2012, Edem made the transition from defensive halfback to linebacker and displayed tremendous explosiveness as he anchored the University of Calgary defence to an appearance in the Mitchell Bowl against the McMaster Marauders. The six-foot one-inch 200-pound linebacker led the conference with 55 total tackles and 9.5 tackles for a loss.
Edem’s impressive 2012 campaign generated significant interest from CFL scouts and also increased his draft value. In the CFL Scouting Bureau’s season-end rankings, Edem was listed as the 14th best prospect in the upcoming Canadian Football League draft. Despite being recognized as one of the elite linebackers in the CIS, Edem credits his teammates for his personal on-field success in Calgary.
“The biggest thing for my training is that I want to have guys that are going to push me and compete with me,” said Edem. “Having guys like Steven Lumbala, Chris Dobko, Michael Klassen – these guys are competitors, they have a high motor and for two months we’ve been at each other’s throats pushing each other because no one wants to slack. Klassen and Gaydosh, those were two guys eating up double teams all season for me to run free. So by having those guys there to pump me up gave me a great deal of confidence. Having a guy like Thomas Spoletini – we played opposite sides so we look at each other and we can communicate without even speaking. Having that kind of presence around makes me feel comfortable.”
Edem’s main objective entering the CFL Combine was to demonstrate his versatility, allowing CFL scouts, general managers, and coaches to assess where he may fit into their defensive schemes.
“I just wanted to come out and show my versatility and how I can do multiple things. I didn’t want to be a linebacker or DB, I just wanted coaches to know wherever they see me fitting is where I will play.”
While Edem was not personally satisfied with his performance at the combine, CFL scouts certainly took notice of his incredible athletic ability. Edem’s 4.566 40-yard dash ranked fourth at the combine while his vertical (38.50”) and broad jump (9’11.50”) results ranked first amongst fellow linebackers.
Edem’s passion for the game and desire to succeed comes as a result of his personal initiative to exceed all expectations. For Edem, football is his life and he will go to any extent in order to have a successful career in the CFL.
“I love playing football. I just want to get a chance to play and show everybody that I can perform in this league.”