Four years ago, Atlee Simon chose football instead of basketball when deciding which sport he would focus all his time and energy on.
Now on Thursday night, the running back finds out if that choice will give him an opportunity in the CFL.
Simon, who had basketball scholarship offers, decided he would join the University of Regina Rams.
“I wanted to specialize in one sport and put everything I had into one specific sport so that I could be the best that I could be.”
Now after a career that saw him become the school’s all-time leading rusher with a year of eligibility left, and named the team’s most outstanding player in 2017, Simon’s attention turns to the CFL Draft.
He said with everything going on during the off-season, the draft snuck up on him.
“Really excited for the opportunity just to be in the conversation to be drafted.”
He was an invite to the national combine in Winnipeg earlier this year and was named seventh best Canada West prospect in the draft.
All 2️⃣0️⃣ players are hoping to hear their name called during Thursday night’s #CFLDraft
— Canada West (@CanadaWest) May 1, 2018
A recent mock draft done by TSN’s Marshall Ferguson has Simon going to the Riders in the fifth round, something Simon, who went to high school at Regina’s Thom Collegiate, said would be a pretty cool experience.
“Growing up as a kid in Regina, you grow up as a super-fan of the Riders and to be able to say that I get to throw on the green and white and run out of the tunnel at Mosaic Stadium would be a dream come true,” Simon said.
But he knows it might not be the Riders who want him on their team.
“I just want to be able to play football at the professional level and if that means playing for another team, I’m going to do the best I can for that organization.”
He said he has no idea where he could get drafted to in this year’s draft.
“I’m kind of going in blind at this point but I think that’s the thing that makes it fun.”
Whether he is drafted by a CFL team or returns to the Rams for his final year of University football, he’s just focused on having a good showing at training camp.
“I’m just going to put my best foot forward and be the best football player and person I can be.”
Simon’s teammate Noah Picton is also hopeful teams will give him a shot to become the next Canadian quarterback in the league.
While Picton wasn’t selected during the draft, Simon was picked up in the sixth round by Calgary.