On Sunday December 12th, at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario, the biggest game in Canadian football will be played between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. After a full 2020 calendar year without football, the 108th Grey Cup will finally be played, and will be played with a hint of Ottawa football. Set to suit up in Black and Yellow is Jackson Bennett and Tunde Adeleke, representing the city of Ottawa on the big stage for the second consecutive CFL season.
Tiger-Cats running back Jackson Bennett was born and raised on the east side of Ottawa, having went to Sir Wilfred Laurier Secondary School, and played Cumberland Panthers Football while training with Joey Kwasniewski and Titan Performance. He stayed local, played for the University of Ottawa where he lined up as a defensive back and linebacker for 3 of the 4 seasons he spent with the program. Over 23 games played for the Garnet and Grey, Bennett made 89 solo tackles, 1 sack, intercepted three passes, including one pick six and returned kicks, 2 for touchdowns. The NFL’s New York Giants had him try out in the spring of 2018 after he was drafted by the Tiger-Cats in the 2nd round of the 2018 CFL Draft. Unfortunately he did not make it into the NFL, but has been showcasing his athleticism in every opportunity in the CFL since. Bennett was drafted as a defensive back and linebacker for the Tiger-Cats, where he made 3 defensive tackles, 8 special teams tackles, and a sack in his rookie year in the CFL but slowly transitioned into an offensive role, returning 7 kicks for 155 yards in the 2018 CFL season, then getting 37 offensive touches in 2019 which he turned into 219 yards and a score. The same year, Bennett still made 10 tackles and forced a fumble on special teams, and now for the 2021 CFL season as a running back and contributor on special teams he had 102 yards of offence on 22 touches and made 4 special teams tackles.
Defensive back Tunde Adeleke, who almost put the game on ice on Sunday against the Argonauts with his interception which was later called back as an incompletion, also lived in the Ottawa area growing up. He was born in Nigeria, and moved to Canada during his childhood where he went on to attend St Francis Xavier High School in the nation’s capital, then made his way to Carleton University in Ottawa. As a Carleton Raven, Adeleke made a splash on both the defensive side of the ball and on special teams as a returner, returning a 129 yard missed field goal for a score in his time with the Ravens. He was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in the third round of the 2017 CFL Draft and played two seasons with the Stampeders. In 30 games with Calgary, Adeleke made 45 tackles on defence, 2 sacks, forced two fumbles, scored one touchdown and then made an additional 24 special teams tackles. Adeleke was then signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he has been a star for back to back seasons. A part of the 2019 defence which went to the Grey Cup he made 52 tackles and 2 interceptions, being named a CFL All-Star, and this season he made 44 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions in just 14 games, being named an All-Star once again. In the playoff run, thus far Adeleke has made 14 tackles over the two games and is ready to perform at home for the Grey Cup against Winnipeg.
The Grey Cup will be played at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton at 6:00 on Sunday December 12th. Watch both Adeleke and Bennett represent their home town in the big game on TSN.