Carter O’Donnell is ready for the big time.
After four years with the University of Alberta Golden Bears football team, O’Donnell could be drafted twice in the next week-and-a-half.
The NFL draft runs from Thursday to Saturday and the 6-6, 315-pound offensive lineman could be a late round selection. He’s been interviewed by 18 NFL teams
“The majority of the questions focus on getting to know me and who I am as a person. They want to see how I grew up, what kind of home life I had, what I’m taking in school, my hobbies,” said O’Donnell, who was born in Calgary and went to high school in Red Deer.
“They can see how I play on film, so they’re not too interested in that. I’ve had a few go over protections to see how well I can pick it up.”
“They talk about his character, what he’s all about, what sort of young man he is. Carter is a 10/10 in all those categories,” said Golden Bears head coach Chris Morris.
“I think down there, they deal with a lot of kids who get into trouble and have concerns off the field. You never have to worry about that with Carter.”
O’Donnell was a Canada West all-star in 2018 and 2019. After being a second team all-Canadian in 2018, he was named to the first team in 2019. In January, he was one of just two USports players to play in the East-West Shrine Bowl, an annual college football all-star game.
If O’Donnell isn’t picked by an NFL club, it’s a guarantee he’ll hear his name called in the CFL draft next Thursday, April 30. O’Donnell is projected to go in the top three.
“I’ve put in a lot of work to show what I can do. I’d love to go first overall. I think I compare really well to the other guys,” said O’Donnell.
“He’s big. He’s physical. He’s violent. Plays very, very hard,” said Morris. “Some kids play the game the right way, an old school way of football, but they’re not quite physical enough to dominate. Carter has the athleticism, the quickness, the strength, and all those things.
“Then you put the mentality to really play the game with an edge with a lot of physicality, then you got something.”
O’Donnell is a few credits short of his education degree. He could return to the U of A next season to complete those classes and play a final season for the Bears.
“We’re not getting him back,” laughed Morris. “We’re cheering him and hoping for the best for him. If he comes back, my foot will be up his butt to get him out the door. He’s not coming back to us. He has bigger and better things ahead of him right now.”
The Calgary Stampeders have the first pick in the CFL draft. Toronto picks second, B.C. third, and the Edmonton Eskimos fourth.