TORONTO – New Iberia, Louisiana has a population of just 30, 797 people and is a long way away from Toronto, Ontario. The two cities couldn’t be any more different. New Iberia is only the 10th largest city in the State of Louisiana, whereas Toronto is the largest city in Canada. But for a city that would barely fill a little more than half the Rogers Centre, it definitely has one citizen making a quick and immediate impact with the Toronto Argonauts.
In only two games with the Argos, rookie wide receiver Diontae Spencer is loving life in the “Big Smoke”, a term he had never heard of before today.
“I didn’t know a thing about Toronto or the CFL, but now that I’m here I’ve loved my time and the city. Just walking around downtown with all the people, the different shops and restaurants, is amazing. The only issue I’ve had is that the money is plastic and sticks together. But other than thatm it’s been all good.”
It’s an experience he has a fellow alumni and former 2007 CFL Player of the Year Kerry Joseph to thank.
“Kerry Joseph obviously played up here for a long time and told me playing in the CFL should be something for me to take a look at. Right now, I’m glad I took his advice.”
While the McNeese State University graduate is enjoying life in Toronto, it’s his play on the football field that is going to dictate how long he remains a member of the Double Blue. Since being activated from the team’s practice roster due to an injury to fellow slotback Chad Owens, Spencer has electrified both the fans and his teammates with his play on the field. He’s tallied 10 receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns since being inserted into the Argos’ starting lineup. His most exciting play was a game-winning 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the team’s 30-26 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Argos’ home opener.
“I see myself as a dangerous player no matter how or where I get the ball but I’m learning that this league, with the wider field along with the waggle, really allows me to make plays in the open field and use my speed and agility.”
The five-foot-eight, 163-pound receiver is the latest rookie thrown into the fire on the Argo offence. Alongside fellow rookie receivers Vidal Hazelton, Tori Gurley and Kevin Elliott, Spencer says that it’s the team’s overall competitive nature forcing him, or anyone for that matter, to adjust quickly.
“We’re deep into the season and the guys are just so competitive. As much as I might be getting advice and direction, I’m also just getting pushed and pushed to catch up and keep up to the other guys. Every week more and more of the playbook is being thrown at me and I just got to learn it. No excuses.”
It’s an environment Spencer believes he thrives in.
“Football is a competition. Every day you’re competing, whether they be your teammates or your opponent. Thankfully, I’ve got enough confidence in my game that I know I can be successful no matter where they put me on the football field.”
If the last two games are any indication, the Argonauts like him exactly where he is.
Written By: Anthony Ciardulli