BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s one thing to have high expectations for yourself, it’s another to completely blow them away.
“Leading up to it I was hopeful to get picked up as early as possible, just try to go to a right fitting team. Obviously that’s most important is a team that wants me and values what I’ve done in college.”
Tomas Jack-Kurdyla became the highest drafted UB player in the history of the CFL as the Edmonton Eskimos selected him fourth overall.
“It was nerve racking, I was just staring my phone down just hoping someone was going to call me but I’m very pleased and excited with where I’m at. Edmonton is a great football town, they have a great culture. I’m just excited for this pandemic to cool off so I can fly out and get to work,” Jack-Kurdyla said.
“When the area code popped up on my phone and I realized it’s their pick, I paused for a second and it all pieced together in my mind. I was just like wow, wear green and gold. It’s gonna be great.”
He spent the past four years blocking for the Bulls dominate offensive line. Last season he started 11 games at right guard where they allowed a program-low eight sacks and the second fewest in the nation. Jack-Kurdyla also blocked for an offense that set a school record in rushing yards with 3,256.
“We had a great O-Line room at UB for all four years while I was there, great guys, great comradery, everybody wants to push each other, everybody wants to succeed. Same goal, same mindset, we’re just a really well tuned, oiled machine. It took a lot for teams to try and stop us because we watched so much tape, we had so many practice reps and then we built bonds that will last a lifetime with each other,” Jack-Kurdyla said.
Before Jack-Kurdyla, the previously highest drafted UB player in the CFL was wide receiver Natey Adjei, taken 22nd overall by the Toronto Argonauts in the 2013 draft.
“It’s honestly an honor, there’s been a lot of great football legends at UB that have played great CFL careers, a lot of guys still in the league right now who were at UB years ago. It’s just an honor. Really my coaches laid the groundwork for me. Ever since I was a freshman they told me if I work hard, if I stay dedicated to my academics, if I’m a good teammate in the locker room my chances of playing pro football are at my disposal,” Jack-Kurdyla explained.