Grant McDonald is more than ready for his first-ever CFL training camp.
The standout linebacker from Tsawwassen left on Canada Day for what he hopes will be an extended stay in the Alberta capital.
McDonald came to terms with the Edmonton Elks last week after he was the club’s second round pick (14th overall) in May’s CFL Draft.
“My agent was really happy. Edmonton was super transparent and weren’t trying to hide anything. It’s definitely going to be a new experience, in a new city and with a new group of guys. I’m excited and ready for the challenge,” he said.
McDonald returned home at Christmas after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 U Sport football season. He was expected to have a leading role with the defending Vanier Cup champion Calgary Dinosaurs. It did allow him to re-unite with his longtime personal trainer, putting in plenty of work leading up to the Elks’ camp, slated to open on July 10.
“For my training at least, (COVID) has been a huge blessing for me. I have been one-on-one with my trainer three times a week,” said McDonald. “I feel I am the strongest and fastest I have ever been in my life. I’m really excited and feel comfortable going into camp.”
McDonald had a dominant high school career with the South Delta Sun Devils, thriving on both sides of the ball for three straight years, highlighted by winning the school’s first-ever provincial championship at the 3A level in 2014. He earned a Division One NCAA scholarship to the University of Maine where he was recruited to play tight end.
After his freshman season, he decided to take his career north of the border to the Dinos where he was re-united with his older brother Jack and a number of other former SDSS teammates, including Charlie Moore, who was taken by the Calgary Stampeders in the 2021 draft. Both started at linebacker during the run to the national title.
McDonald still has two years of university eligibility remaining. If he returns to the Dinos, he would be teammates with his younger brother Ben who was recruited in 2020 to play quarterback after his own stellar career at SDSS.
“With still two years left, I’m not sure what’s going to happen or transpire but if Edmonton wants me back at school and I get to join my younger brother again and it would be awesome too. In my eyes it’s a win-win and I’m excited either way,” said McDonald.
Moore came to terms with the Stampeders back in May.