On Tuesday night, Jean-Paul Cimankinda was drafted into the CFL by the Edmonton Elks, and with that draft pick, in the 7th round, Cimankinda not only joined his brother in the CFL who got drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders last year but a number of athletes from Ottawa as well. Jean-Paul grew up playing football in a football family in Ottawa, and has a true Ottawa story, having had success at all levels from NCAFA through U-Sports, even playing at the University of Ottawa with the Gee Gees in 2021.
With the Gee Gees in 2021, Cimankinda made a name for himself as one of the country’s top running backs. Of course the OUA had Western’s Keon Edwards, and Trey Humes as well as Queen’s Rasheed Tucker who each showcased their talents extremely well over the 2021 season and did so with their versatility, but what J.P was able to do at University of Ottawa as a power back really separated himself from the competition in Canada. In just 6 regular season games with the Gee Gees, Cimankinda, on 76 carries ran for 426 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry on the season and 99.5 yards per game with over 10 offensive touches. In addition to his regular season totals, in the two post season games, J.P Cimankinda, who could be the best power back in Canada ran for 221 yards and a score on 44 carries while also catching one pass for two yards over the two games. He averaged 5 yards per carry, and helped lead the University of Ottawa to their first playoff victory since the 2014 season.
Getting drafted by the Elks, he enters a running back room filled with talent, which includes long time CFL back James Wilder Jr. With this opportunity in front of him to join Wilder Jr and play in the CFL, Cimankinda shows a lot of excitement and is ready to prove himself at the next level. “I’m really excited.” he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “I have been working to get to this point for a long time, and it has been a great process. Recently I’ve been training with Iseah (Montgiraud) at Limitless Era where I have gotten a lot of speed training. He is a track coach so he knows a lot about speed and techniques. He has helped me get faster, and really change the way I run which was amazing, and then I also do the strength workouts with Joey (Kwasniewski) with Titan. It’s been a great preparation. I’ve been working out like 5 or 6 days of the week, with school and some work shifts on top of that it has been crazy recently for sure. Happy that I have done all of this though, I feel ready to take the next step.”
That next step for Cimankinda will be next week in Edmonton as he begins his mini camp with the Elks and even though he may say he is excited, excited is definitely an understatement to say the least. “It’ll be amazing to be there.” he said.