Former Vernon Panthers football standout Ben Hladik of the UBC Thunderbirds (top, in a game against the Manitoba Bisons, making one of his 38 Canada West solo tackles in 2019), is a top-20 prospect for the 2021 CFL draft. (Rich Lam - UBC Thunderbirds photo)

Vernon football standout ranks CFL coverage

Ben Hladik of UBC Thunderbirds ranked No. 16 in top-20 CFL scouting bureau list for 2021 entry draft

Vernon Panthers alumnus Ben Hladik is one of six players with Canada West U SPORTS Conference connections to crack the latest Canadian Football League Scouting Bureau rankings.

Hladik, who suits up with Vancouver’s UBC Thunderbirds at linebacker, is ranked at No. 16, four spots ahead of teammate and fellow linebacker Nick Cross of Regina, for the 2021 CFL Draft.

Current Calgary Dinos Logan Bandy (OL – No. 12) and Grant McDonald (LB – No. 19) were joined by former Dino Deane Leonard (DB – No. 13), and Saskatchewan Huskie Nelson Lokombo (DB – No. 14) round out the Canada West crew.

Hladik, the Most Valuable Player in B.C. AA football for VSS in 2016, Canada West Defensive Player of the Year and U SPORTS All-Canadian in 2018, was fourth in Canada West in tackles in 2019.

Hladik had 39 solo tackles and assisted on 19 others for 58 tackles. Cross led Canada West with 58 solo and 17 assists for 75 tackles.

Canada West was the lone U SPORTS conference to land multiple players on the list, with the only other U SPORTS player being Montreal’s Pier-Olivier Lestage (OL – No. 11).

The rankings are released three times each season (fall, winter, spring) ahead of the CFL Draft, and are selected by CFL scouts, as well as, player personnel directors and general managers from the CFL’s nine-member clubs.

While action across Canada was halted this season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one CW name on the list is suiting up for games this fall.

Leonard, who transferred in the offseason to Ole Miss, an NCAA Div. 1 college in Mississippi, has seen action in both of the Rebels’ Southeastern Conference games this season. The Calgary native was a key part of the Dinos’ Vanier Cup championship in 2019, and was a CW all-star and first-team All-Canadian in both 2018 and 2019.

Iowa offensive linemen Alaric Jackson tops this year’s list, followed by Oklahoma State’s Amen Ogbongbemiga and Virginia’s Terrell Jana to round out the top three.

READ MORE: Ben Hladik of Vernon named U-SPORTS All-Canadian

READ MORE: Thunderbirds high on Hladik

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