03/25/2013 03:41 EDT | Updated 05/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Kris Robertson takes advantage of opportunity to shine at CFL combine

TORONTO - Kris Robertson is going back to having fun with his off-season training.

For weeks, the Concordia Stingers defensive back/kick returner concentrated specifically on improving his explosiveness, agility and 40-yard dash time in the hope of catching the eye of CFL coaches and GMs. After an impressive showing at the league's combine last weekend, Robertson plans to go back to more traditional football-specific workouts.

"This is the fun part now," said the native of Pickering, Ont. "Before I was training for 40s and things like that but now I get to train for football so my training style is going to change a little bit and it's going to be fun."

The five-foot-eight, 185-pound Robertson certainly look the path less travelled to the CFL combine.

He wasn't initially invited to the event and had to qualify for it at a regional competition in Quebec City on Wednesday. Two days later, he arrived in Toronto to test his mettle against 54 other draft-eligible prospects.

Unfazed, Robertson recorded the top vertical (43 inches) and broad jump (10 feet 5.5 inches) Saturday. The following day, he blazed to a top time of 4.423 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Those results exceeded what Robertson did in Quebec City, where he posted a 39-inch vertical, broad jump of 10 feet two inches and 40-yard dash time of 4.48 seconds.

Following the 40-yard event Sunday, Robertson donned his helmet and shoulder pads for the 1-on-1 drills. He lined up opposite four different receivers and didn't allow a completion in six pass attempts.

Robertson lost control of the ball for an interception, but more importantly showed both a willingness and ability to play physical and up close and personal with the bigger receivers he faced.

"I know what I have to do," Robertson said. "Being five foot eight, I've got to be physical.

"I've got to show (CFL scouts) I can play at the next level and I think I proved it. I came in thinking no one ball was going to get caught on me and it happened."

Robertson was a second-team All-Canadian last year after earning first-team honours in 2011. Last season, he finished tied for the Quebec conference lead in interceptions with four — returning two for TDs —while registering 31 tackles (24 solo).

The speedy Robertson was also a threat on special teams, registering 32 punt returns for 279 yards (8.7-yard average) and posting a 21.9-yard average on 29 kickoff returns.

However, after being originally snubbed for the CFL combine, Robertson admits he came to Toronto with something to prove against many of the top prospects for the league's draft May 6.

"I have a chip on my shoulder," he said. "Obviously I wasn't voted in so I had to prove myself.

"I think I showed I have pretty decent numbers, I did well on the 1-on-1s and drills . . . the rest is in (CFL officials') hands."

The Grey Cup-champion Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats took notice. Robertson said those were the two teams he spoke directly to during the combine.

"We do the regional combines because there are so many athletes out there," said Argos GM Jim Barker. "There is no questioning (Robertson's) athleticism, we knew that coming in.

"It's how is he going to be able to handle the big receivers in the CFL? He's a little on the small side but there's been a lot of great players that are a little on the small side in this league."

The good news for Robertson is Barker and the Argos put a lot of emphasis on the combine in their annual draft preparation.

"You want guys who you can tell this means everything in the world to," Barker said. "And you can tell when they start the drills.

"We put them through drills that will test their toughness and ability to fight through. At the end of the day it tells you a lot."

Kent Austin, Hamilton's head coach and GM, said while the combine results are important, they're just part of the process he uses in his overall evaluation of draft-eligible prospects.

"We want complete football players in every area and that's not just his ability on the field," Austin said. "His character, his level of commitment and how much he wants to be a pro. All of that.

"The testing is important and it's certainly a benchmark you can draw from to confirm or not what your other evaluations were. But at the end of the day we want complete football players."

Robertson won't be resting on the laurels of his impressive combine results. He expects to spend a lot of time in the gym leading up to the CFL draft.

"Train like an animal," he said. "Train, train train."

And Robertson has no doubts about what he can bring to a CFL team.

"An elusive, physical player with speed," he said. "Speed, speed, speed.

"They say size matters but speed kills."