Jalen Philpot earned family bragging rights Thursday.
The University of Calgary receiver was ranked No. 2 on the CFL Scouting Bureau’s winter list of the top-20 prospects for the ‘22 draft. His twin brother, Tyson, also a Dinos receiver, was at No. 5.
Both made significant jumps as Jalen Philpot was seventh in the first rankings last fall while Tyson Philpot was 15th.
“I think I maybe have an upper edge just based on the ‘19 season and Tyson only playing two regular-season games due to injury, then coming in later in the playoffs,” Jalen Philpot told reporters during a video conference. “I think we’re interchangeable, for sure, and Tyson is (chomping) at the bit to show everyone at the (CFL) combine (March 24-27) there’s no real big difference between us”
Tyson Philpot was willing to give his brother props, at least this time.
“I appreciate the words from Jalen but he’s got the No. 2 position so I’ll give him his respect,” he said. “But I definitely think we’re pretty close in the position and in skills.
“I’d say there’s a few things that separate us, him being in the slot and me being at the wideout position. The year I did miss is definitely getting at me but I’ll show everyone, for sure.”
Ottawa’s Jesse Luketa, a linebacker at Penn State, was No. 1, up from No. 4 last fall. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Luketa recorded 53 tackles (30 solo), four tackles for a loss and an interception he returned for a TD this season.
Luketa has been selected to participate in both the ‘22 Senior Bowl and NFL combine.
Enock Makonzo of Lachine, Que., a defensive back at Coastal Carolina improved three positions to third overall while Syracuse linebacker Tyrell Richard, from Brampton, Ont., dropped two spots to fourth after not playing this year.
The remainder of the top-10 prospects, starting from No. 6, includes: Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford; Western defensive lineman Deionte Knight, Mustangs offensive lineman Zack Fry; Waterloo defensive back Tyrell Ford (Tre Ford’s twin brother); and Saskatchewan offensive lineman Noah Zerr.
The scouting bureau consists of CFL player-personnel directors, GMs and scouts. It annually releases its prospect rankings in fall, winter and spring editions.
Jalen Philpot had 35 catches for 715 yards (20.4-yard average) with three TDs in 2021, earning first-team All-Canadian honours for a second straight year. Over three seasons at Calgary, he has 113 catches for 1,889 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Tyson Philpot registered 41 catches for 746 yards and a U Sports-leading nine TDs en route to being named Canada West’s top player. He was also a first-team All-Canadian and has 77 receptions for 1,574 yards and 14 touchdowns in 16 career games at Calgary.
The Philpots, both 6-foot-1 natives of Delta, B.C., certainly come by their football acumen honestly. Their father, Cory, was a CFL running back with B.C. (1993-97) and Winnipeg (1999-2000), winning a Grey Cup with the Lions in ‘94.
Cory Philpot also coached his sons early in their football careers. In fact, the brothers have been teammates throughout their time on the field and while they’d relish playing together professionally, they’d also welcome blazing their own paths.
“I’d love to look across the field and see Tyson there and be like, ‘I’m going to outwork you this game,’ and just kind of have that friendly rivalry game,” Jalen Philpot said. “We’d love to play together but it also wouldn’t be bad if we separated.
“We’re super close ... if we were both in a training camp we’d definitely be facetiming and talking every day. We can talk about anything to each other.”
But make no mistake, the Philpots are very, very competitive. Always have been.
“I think I’m the best Madden player in western Canada,” Tyson Philpot said.
Added Jalen Philpot: “I think Tyson has had me a little bit in school, his grades have been a little better ... video games, for sure, we’re super competitive. I’ll give him Madden but I’ll beat him in NBA 2K so it’s interchangeable. But I also think that’s kind of what’s helped us get to where we’re at in our careers, just because we’re constantly pushing each other. If I see Tyson doing really well at something, I’m just going to look at myself and be like, ‘I want to do better than him.”’
Knight cracked the top-10 after not being listed last fall. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ajax, Ont., native had 52 tackles (17 solo), 13 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, two forced fumbles for Vanier Cup-champion Western.
“Obviously it would’ve been nice to be on the list the last time,” Knight said. “I just took that as a challenge for myself to get better and sure enough I was able to have a pretty good year and help my team with a national championship after a pandemic year.
“It definitely was the most memorable year of my life and I’m really happy I was able to share it with an incredible team and incredible coaching staff.”
But Knight’s season isn’t over. He’ll be the lone Canadian participating in the East-West Shrine Bowl on Feb. 3 in Las Vegas.
“The mental aspect is definitely the part of my game I’ve been focusing on the most this last month,” Knight said. “Obviously staying flexible and fast have also been my top priorities in preparation for this game because the type of athletes I’ll be going up against will be the best athletes in the world.”