THE Blue Bombers added three American offensive linemen to the mix on the weekend, including the biggest of the bunch in Jamar McGloster, a 6-7, 330-pound right tackle who wears size 15 shoes.

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THE Blue Bombers added three American offensive linemen to the mix on the weekend, including the biggest of the bunch in Jamar McGloster, a 6-7, 330-pound right tackle who wears size 15 shoes.

McGloster started 24 games over his junior and senior seasons at Syracuse, but came to the college game almost by accident.

While attending St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, N.J., and playing centre for basketball coaching legend Bob Hurley, he decided to try out for the school’s football team and had a brief, but ill-fated stint on the gridiron.

"I went to school to play basketball, but my junior year, I decided to try out for football and the fourth week I got hurt — torn MCL, fractured knee cap," McGloster said following Sunday’s workout at IGF.

"That kinda ended everything. Didn’t play my senior year and one day, I’m walking down the hallway of St. Anthony at the end of the year and I ran into the Syracuse (offensive line coach Pat Perles), and we talked.

"The next month, I had a scholarship with no highlight tape, nothing. I had to learn football."

McGloster, 23, went undrafted, but has had NFL tryouts with the Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders since graduating from Syracuse in the spring of 2018. Last week, he applied for a passport and travelled north of the border for the first time.

With his limited football resumé, McGloster believes he is far from a finished product.

"Definitely, I learn something every day," McGloster said. "At first it was hard, especially going to a D-1 school and trying to play tackle. And the ACC is known for fast ends... Eventually, I got it. The CFL is a chance for me to develop further."

O-linemen Tanner Farmer (Nebraska) and Israel Helms (Wayne State) were also added to the roster.

HERE’S JOHNNY: Johnny Augustine has some CFL seasoning now, but that hasn’t made the 25-year-old from Welland, Ont., complacent. In fact, the undrafted running back remains laser-focused on getting better.

"I would say now I’m more experienced with one year under my belt, just knowing the offence really helps," said Augustine, who rumbled for 81 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in Winnipeg’s pre-season win over Edmonton on June 1 last year. "At this point, it’s continue to contribute to the team anyway I can."

In 2018, Augustine dressed for nine regular-season games and didn’t rush the ball until week 21, when he carried seven times for 51 yards.

If Augustine wants to stick with the Blue Bombers, who added highly touted Canadian running back Brady Oliveira via the draft, he’ll need to solidify his role on special teams.

"That’s the biggest thing I learned from Day 1 coming into the league was how important special teams is," Augustine said. "My main focus starts off on specials because I know I can play running back and I know we have a special group at that position. I’ll continue to work on that craft, but at the end of the day, I want to contribute on specials and the rest will take care of itself."

DEVELOPMENT PLAN: Bombers special teams co-ordinator Paul Boudreau is eager to get a look at his personnel in Friday’s pre-season opener against Edmonton at IGF.

"You get to watch them run around (in training camp), but really, you can’t simulate the game with physical contact," Boudreau said. "Some guys, they look good out here, but when the lights go on, they take a back seat. Other guys bring their games up and you’re like, ‘I didn’t know he had that kind of physicality in him.’"

Boudreau is also hoping to establish a full-time return man in 2019. "We’re looking forward to having a guy who can be the man and be the guy we can rely on, game in, game out, and not have to keep switching," he said.

WALKING WOUNDED: Offensive linemen Jermarcus Hardrick and Patrick Neufeld; receivers Corey Washington and Chris Matthews; linebackers Thiadric Hansen, DJ Lalama and Thomas Miles; defensive backs Chris Hume, Winston Rose, Payton Hall, Jacob Firlotte and Marcus Rios; and fullback Mike Miller were all spectators at Sunday’s workout due to various ailments.

Neufeld, entering his ninth year, will not be rushed back.

"I don’t think Patty’s a guy that really needs the reps," head coach Mike O’Shea said. "We’re holding him out because we know he doesn’t need this yet and we know, as time goes on, it’s going to be beneficial for him."

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.