On Sunday, in the middle of the first quarter of the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings game, Sherwood Park, Alberta native Chuba Hubbard scored his first career NFL touchdown. A two yard score marks the first NFL touchdown from a Canadian running back since Tim Biakabutuka, and adds to Hubbards’ season totals: 281 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards and a score on 85 offensive touches.
Chuba Hubbard isn’t the only Canadian making waves south of the border, though. There are a number of Canadians turning heads early on in the NFL season, and as we reach the back half of the 2021 NCAA Football season, we’re only going to see more of that in the NFL next season. In the NFL, Hubbard’s University teammate from the other side of Alberta Amen Ogbongbemiga racked up 8 tackles from his linebacker spot with the Los Angeles Chargers on the weekend against the Baltimore Ravens. In just 2 games played, he has 9 tackles in his early NFL career. Also with the Chargers, defensive tackle Christian Covington had 4 tackles on the weekend, contributing in his 19 tackles and one sack on the season and rookie wide receiver Joshua Palmer out of Brampton, Ontario made one catch for 8 yards which adds to the 5 for 50 he had going into the weekend. Canadian superstar wide receiver Chase Claypool made two catches for 17 yards, giving him 358 receiving yards and a score on the season with the Steelers while up and coming Canadian defensive back Jevon Holland made 6 tackles and broke up a pass against the Jaguars in London, he has 21 tackles in 6 games this season as a rookie with the Dolphins.
As for the NCAA, the stars of the weekend were John Metchie, and Jared Wayne. Metchie had 7 catches for 117 yards and a score in a Crimson Tide win and Jared Wayne caught 6 passes for 94 yards and a score in a 28-7 Pittsburgh win over Virginia Tech. The two receivers combine for 795 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns on the season and will look to make a similar impact in the NFL soon as they approach the end of their junior seasons, both coming from Ontario.
On the season, Syracuse defensive playmaker Geoff Cantin-Arku has made 28 tackles and a sack, making his name known across the country as well as Boise State’s Isaiah Bagnah from Lethbridge, Alberta who has 5 sacks, a forced fumble and 21 tackles at defensive end, Bryant running back Fabrice Mukendi out of Ottawa, Ontario with 423 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns in 7 games, Enock Makonzo from Coastal Carolina University with 30 tackles from his safety position, Luiji Vilain of Wake Forest, among the ACC lead with 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble, Penn State linebacker Jesse Luketa with 27 tackles and a one handed pick six, both Alonzo Addae who has 39 tackles, a sack and three pass deflections and Akeem Mesidor who has 1.5 sacks and 18 tackles on the season from West Virginia continue to make names for themselves and so do twins Chase and Sydney Brown at Illinois. Sydney Brown, from his safety position has 36 tackles, 2 pass deflections and a forced fumble while running back Chase Brown has 60 carries for 414 yards and 3 scores on the ground, pairing with 104 yards receiving thus far this season. Other names creating buzz would be Deane Leonard and Tavius Robinson of Ole Miss, Jett Elad of Ohio, Ludovic Choquette of Western Illinois, Nick Mardner from Hawaii and young Syracuse receiver Damien Alford as well. They each, along with a number of other Canadians have been making plays across the NCAA this season and are paving the way for more athletes to make their way into the NCAA and even the NFL in the near future.
This upcoming week, Canadians to watch would include Enock Makonzo on Wednesday night as he and Coastal Carolina kick-off the week against Appalachian State, Jesse Luketa, Jonathan Sutherland, Sydney Brown and Chase Brown as they all play against each other in the Penn State vs Illinois matchup on Saturday, high school teammates Ajou Ajou and Jared Wayne on Saturday in Clemson vs Pitt, and Canadian trio Deshawn Stevens, Alonzo Addae and Akeem Mesidor against TCU on Saturday. Be on the lookout for them in the NCAA this weekend and continue to watch the Canadians in the NFL, its only a matter of time before they take over the league.