B.J. Monacelli said his efforts to continue playing football at the professional level met with positive results during a tryout with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League last weekend at Orchard Park High School.
The Cassadaga Valley Central School graduate and former defensive standout for the NCAA Division III Washington and Jefferson Presidents was one of about 80 players who showed their talents to representatives of the CFL team.
"There were a couple guys that were a couple years out of college. Four or five (University at Buffalo) players were there, and some other (Division I) players from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the northeastern area,'' he said Wednesday night. "There was even a kid all the way from New Mexico, and I know that the quarterback from (SUNY) Brockport was there. All divisions were represented, and ex-Arena League players, ex-CFL players (were there, too).''
OBSERVER?Photo by Lisa Monacelli
B.J. Monacelli, a CVCS alum, shown playing for Washington &?Jefferson University this past season, had a tryout with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats recently at Orchard Park High School.
The tryout came on the heels of an NFL regional combine that Monacelli attended months ago with the hope of latching on with a pro team in Canada or the U.S.
"The tryout was good,'' he said. "I measured in at (just over) 5-foot-10. We ran 40s, and did the shuttle run and broad jump. They said I was a little bit bigger than the safeties they would usually have, so they wanted to try me at both safety and linebacker.
"They said I was suited for one of their hybrid roles so they switched me over to linebacker for part of the day."
Despite Monacelli's stature, defensive backs in the CFL typically occupy different roles than in the NFL, while linebackers are more valued for their speed than their size. This means that he could be more of an asset in the middle of the field than covering receivers due to the different rules that are used in Canadian football.
"Then we did one-on-ones after they taught us the different rules of the CFL and stuff, because you can have six different people in motion at once and receivers can get a running start and cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. We also worked on some technique drills and footwork.''
Sometime this week Monacelli will receive the results of the drills that he ran at Orchard Park, at which point he will have a better idea of how his performance was and the possibility of playing in the CFL.
Meanwhile, the former W&J star has also been able to establish a rapport with a pair of NFL teams, sending the Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers his highlight tape to people in those organizations in hopes of earning consideration for next year's NFL season.
"I expected it to be a long road, and it's not going to be easy for a Division III kid,'' he said. "I expected that, and even if I don't get any offers this year I still plan on pursuing it for a year or two.
"I knew that it wasn't going to be an easy road, but I feel like I'm doing pretty well at the tryouts," Monacelli added. "Every team in the country could hate you, but if one doesn't, that could be your big shot."