When you look at this year’s CFL Draft class some names that pop out to the average fan would include Western defensive end Deionte Knight, Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford, Calgary Dino receiver brothers Jalen and Tyson Philpot, Coastal Carolina defensive back Enock Makonzo, Queens defensive end Anthony Federico and former Syracuse linebacker Tyrell Richards. Sure those are big names, and each one of those players are set to become stars in the CFL in the coming years, however there are a number of other players with similar potential that aren’t getting enough love.
One player that fits that description, and if things were to have gone differently over recent years for him he would be higher up on the rankings is defensive back Katley Jospeh.
Joseph is from Orleans, Ontario, Canada, just a short drive from the nation’s capital and will have his pro day at Maine University on Monday April 4th. The pro day will be a great opportunity for him to showcase himself to NFL and CFL scouts. He will participate in all combine activities and position drills to boost his draft stock, but it will also be the first time since 2019 that professional teams get a good look at him.
He came to Maine in 2018 where he made 34 tackles, 3 for loss, 12 pass breakups and had one interception, being named an FCS Freshman All-American as one of the Black Bears more prominent defensive players. In 2019 he then made 35 tackles, and seven pass deflections, keeping up as one of the University’s top players. At that point he had a total 69 tackles, 19 pass deflections, 3 tackles for loss and one interception to his name, and he still does. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic he and the Maine Black Bears missed out on a 2020 fall season in the CAA, instead Maine played a spring season in 2021 which Joseph didn’t play in, and when it came time to play, during training camp in August of 2021, leading up to the fall season Katley Joseph suffered a torn meniscus which would later keep him sidelined for six months following a surgery in September. He just caught his first football on Saturday March 12th since the training camp, and many could see that being an issue, but the Ottawa native isn’t worried about it at all. In an interview with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic who is set to cover his story for the long run, Joseph said, “I know what I’m capable of.” explaining, “every level I’ve played at, and everywhere I have been I have been underrated but I’ve always had success. As a kid in Ottawa, playing high school, playing against Americans in high school, and going to University, everywhere I have played I’ve done good, so when it comes to what’s next, I know what I can do.”
At 100% now, Joseph understands that his injury last year, along with the lack of recent film could affect his place in the CFL Draft or even the NFL but it doesn’t make any difference to Joseph himself. “I’m ready for the next step.” he said, “my journey isn’t very popular. Coming from Ottawa to play division one, only a few of us do that, and now having not played for two years it only gets more unpopular compared to other people’s journeys and backgrounds, but I’m blessed for every opportunity I’ve had. Everything that I’ve been through has happened to me for a reason and I wouldn’t be who I am without my journey. I put a lot of time and effort into everything I’ve done over my career on and off the field, it gets me excited for what’s next.”
Whats next for Joseph now is his April 4th pro day at Maine. At that pro day he will have the opportunity to not only showcase his talent on the field, but will also be able to talk with professional scouts and give them a look at who he is outside of football and that person, who Katley Joseph is off of the field is already a professional. He handles himself professionally and has taken on a number of responsibilities outside of football that makes him a top prospect in this year’s draft and should put him ahead of other prospects available.
One major part of that is how he took on his education at Maine University. Over the years at Maine, Joseph took advantage of the education and the academics he had at his disposal. Often times athletes forget about the importance of academics, and take it for granted the opportunity they have with school but Joseph is not one of those athletes. He has been on the honor roll at Maine, the dean’s list and the commissioner’s academic honor roll as well, being recognized for his academics by a number of different individuals, just like he’s recognized on the field.
Alongside his academics, putting him ahead of others in this year’s draft is also his mentality off of the field, and what he’s done in his hometown of Ottawa.
He was coached by Coach Jean Guillaume in high school at St Matthew in Ottawa who taught him a lot about being more than just a football player, and has helped him be more involved in the Ottawa football community as a role model and a coach for younger, up and coming athletes. “Its just who I’ve been brought up to be.” he said, “It is a blessing to be in the position I am in to have an impact, and with my work ethic, everything you see me doing on the field, working to be great, I’m the same off of it too, I want to be great at everything, and I’m excited about the next step. Being a pro football player is a dream come true.”
Sure, the journey isn’t a very popular one. There were a lot of speed bumps along the way, and as of recently Katley Joseph has faced a lot of adversity, but nothing has set him back. He’s always kept his focus, and his vision crystal clear. That, alongside all of the reasons on the field and the factors mentioned earlier is a major reason why he is a big time player available in this year’s draft, even despite the fact he isn’t being talked about.