Laval Rouge et Or standout Mathieu Betts tops CFL draft rankings

Laval University Rouge et Or's Mathieu Betts raises the trophy as they celebrate defeating Western University Mustang at the Vanier Cup final Saturday, November 24, 2018 in Quebec City. Laval Rouge et Or defensive end Mathieu Betts is the top-ranked player in the CFL Scouting Bureau's December rankings for the 2019 Canadian draft. (Jacques Boissinot/CP)

Laval Rouge et Or defensive lineman Mathieu Betts is the top-ranked player in the CFL Scouting Bureau’s December rankings for the 2019 Canadian draft.

It’s the first time a U Sports product has been ranked No. 1 since Manitoba’s David Onyemata — now in his third season with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints — topped the final rankings ahead of the 2016 draft.

Betts, a Montreal native who helped his team win the Vanier Cup last month, was No. 2 in the first rankings released in August. He also has been selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 19 in St. Petersburg, Fla., an annual all-star event for college seniors.

Betts became the first player in history to claim the J.P. Metras Trophy (outstanding down lineman in U Sports) three times and the first to win four major U Sports awards during his career after registering a league-leading nine sacks this season.

Oklahoma State offensive lineman Shane Richards of Calgary, Arkansas State receiver Justin McInnis of Pierrefonds, Que., Tennessee defensive lineman Jonathan Kongbo of Surrey, B.C., and Kansas offensive lineman Alex Fontana of Toronto round out the top five.

Laval receiver Alexandre Savard of Quebec City (seventh) and Laurier Golden Hawks receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. of Ottawa (ninth) are the other U Sports players in the top 10.

The only quarterback on the 20-player list is UBC’s Michael O’Connor. The Orleans, Ont., native is No. 19.

The final rankings will be released in April. The draft usually is held in May.

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