SPORTS

Canadian Tyler Varga enhances NFL stock with solid Senior Bowl showing

01/27/2015 01:02 EST | Updated 03/29/2015 05:59 EDT
He's the fourth-ranked prospect for this year's CFL draft but Jim Barker firmly believes Tyler Varga's football future lies south of the border.

Varga, from Kitchener, Ont., ran for 31 yards and two TDs on four carries and added three catches for 39 yards in leading the North to a 34-13 win over the South in last weekend's Senior Bowl at Mobile, Ala. That performance, combined with Varga's solid showing during the week of practice, further solidified Barker's belief the Yale running back will draw serious NFL consideration during its draft in April.

"He certainly didn't hurt himself (for the NFL draft)," Barker said. "The thing about Varga is he's a very good running back but he can do so many more things like catch, block and play special teams.

"He's got a lot of versatility and I certainly think that's something people down there will notice and like about him."

Varga practised at both fullback and tailback in Mobile. Bleacher Report, an American digital media company, listed the five-foot-11 224-pound Varga as one of its big winners from the Senior Bowl.

"He is one player who certainly made the most of every opportunity by showing he could deliver key blocks, catch the football and break tackles against NFL prospects," it said. "In short, this kid flashed the versatility and toughness that generally will make an NFL roster as member of the special teams."

Varga enjoyed a stellar senior season at Yale (8-2) with 1,423 yards rushing and a school-record 26 TDs. Twice he had five touchdowns in a game — including the winning three-yard score in a 49-43 overtime win over Army — and ran for a season-high 204 yards and two TDs in a 45-42 victory over Brown.

That secured Varga the Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League's offensive player of the year and a first-team all-star nod. He also received second- and third-team All-American honours from The Sports Network and Beyond Sports Network respectively.

Also of note, Varga had no fumbles among his 245 touches this season.

Varga is also coveted by the CFL. The league's scouting bureau ranked Varga fourth among the top 15 prospects for this year's draft and the first skill-position player after offensive linemen Brett Boyko (UNLV) and Alex Mateas (UConn) and defensive lineman Daryl Waud (Western).

That would make Varga a bona fide first-round prospect in Canada. However, if he's taken in the NFL draft or signed as an undrafted free agent, he'd almost certainly fall from the first round as CFL officials looked at him as more of a future selection who'd come north after an NFL tryout or tenure.

Varga's NFL odyssey continues next month when he participates in the league's annual combine in Indianapolis, which will attract over 300 of the top U.S. college prospects.

Notes: Receiver John Chiles, who was scheduled to become a free agent Feb. 10, was released Tuesday by the Argos. Shortly afterwards, the Chicago Bears announced they'd signed Chiles. He spent two seasons with Toronto, registering 73 receptions for 1,200 yards and nine TDs.

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