March 21, 2023

Dreaming Biggs

University of Calgary Dinos DB Jacob Biggs deflecting a pass. Photo taken by David Moll.

He’s grown up preparing for this moment.

He’s made his mark on the McMahon Stadium turf for the University of Calgary Dinos.

Now, he’s ready to take the next step and perform on the CFL stage.

Jacob Biggs will have a chance to get one step closer to his dream at the National CFL Combine this week as he’ll showcase his talent and impress the scouts at the five-day event in Edmonton.

The dream began when his father, former Calgary Stampeder Ray Biggs, introduced him to the sport as a child.

“My Dad actually started coaching me when I just started my first year of football, like atom football and that probably would have been around when I was eight years old,” said Biggs. “He was also a coach on my hockey team when I was growing up as well, so he was a big influence on myself getting involved in sports. He’s an amazing coach and motivator.

“One of the biggest takeaways he taught me from the game of football was always being included around a team that has the same objective and to have each other’s back. So, I really started to enjoy team sports. I played a couple of other sports growing up but fell in love with football at the end of the day.

Jacob’s dad played linebacker for the Stampeders from 1993-2000.

The Toronto native recorded 158 special-teams tackles, 71 defensive tackles, six fumble recoveries, one interception and one sack during his CFL tenure. He won a Grey Cup with the Red and White in 1998, just a couple years before Jacob was born.

Those accolades played a pivotal role in Biggs’ dreams to play professional football himself and follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I remember growing up always waking up on Saturday mornings and probably when I was around 11, I found a box of his old VCR tapes and watched those like they were cartoons,” Biggs reflected. “It was cool to watch the gameplay and try to understand what was going on… that was super enjoyable, and he has always been an amazing coach and never forced me to get into sports, but he’s always been a supporter.

“The biggest thing he’s said is just be prepared, go out there, and control what you can control. There’ll be a lot of noise around you, so just make your world small, understand that you put the time and work in and everything will follow suit.

“It’s getting to that stage where it’s sort of come full circle. He’s been providing that extra voice in my ear and has been a tremendous supporter.”

DB Jacob Biggs playing for the University of Calgary Dinos. Photo taken by David Moll.

As the combine draws closer and his football future hangs in the balance, Biggs is reminding himself to control the controllables. Playing at the defensive back position has helped him build that mentality.

“I think as a defensive back there’s a lot of ups and downs as far as some plays not going your way. So just being able to be in that mental state of re-loading and understanding that you’ve got to take every play by play and understand that there’s going to be some times that there’s things that happen that are outside of your control. So you just have to be able to reload and pop back in.

“This week, I’m looking forward to competing against the top athletes in Canada and putting forth my best efforts to showcase what I’ve worked hard for. It’s going to be step by step and reload day after day.”

The 23-year-old played defensive back for the University of Calgary Dinos from 2018-2022 and suited up for 32 games in that span.

During his USPORTS career he tallied 98 total tackles, 22 deflected passes, three interceptions, one sack, one fumble return and one touchdown.

He won a Vanier Cup championship with the team in 2019.

“My Dinos experience has been tremendous,” he said. “It has definitely shaped me as a player, a teammate and as a student. I had some tremendous coaches along as teammates who are still currently playing football in the CFL. As far as the coaching staff, one of my coaches I could say tremendous things about (defensive backs coach) Marcello Rapini, he’s had a huge effect on me as a player and as a person.

“Coach (Matt) Berry, Coach (Wayne) Harris… all of the coaching staff are just great people and I think that is the biggest takeaway. I consider most of them family, so just being in that brotherhood of other good working people has been a tremendous experience. It’s definitely something that will be a memory for the rest of my life and I’m just very fortunate to have gone through that program.”

It seems as though the Dinos program has become a CFL player factory for the Red and White with the likes of Sean McEwen, Ryan Sceviour, Nick Statz, Charlie Moore and, most recently, Jalen Philpot joining the ranks.

And Biggs couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments.

“It’s something amazing to see,” he said. “They’ve all come from the same groups, just growing up and playing football as a kid and now you’re seeing some of your best friends fulfill their life goals. It’s super satisfying. Again, they’re tremendous people, they’re motivating you and wishing you all the best, providing any insight and advice that they can. So, it’s just tremendous to have those other voices in your ear.

“Nick Statz has been a big supporter of mine and one of my biggest mentors going into the Dinos. He helped me learn a lot, going through film and helping me after practice. So, some of those great talented guys: (Jalen and Tyson) Philpot, (Jeshrun) Antwi, Charlie Moore, and so many others that are currently in the CFL right now – they are amazing people and that’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from it and they’re just tremendous football players as well.”

And now, Biggs is ready to join them.

“Seeing some of my teammates who I’ve played with not only make but excel at the next level is definitely a reinforcement to the hard work we’ve put in as students and as athletes. I’m excited to take on the challenge.

“I think I definitely have the drive to play at the next level and hopefully to provide the scouts and the coaching staff with the assurance that I’m ready to take the next step.

“This week is just going to be about settling myself in, making sure that I remind myself that it’s just football and I’ve been training for this for a while, so just taking it step by step and understanding that I want to get to the next level and here’s something that I can do.”

Biggs attended the CFL Invitational Combine held in the University of Waterloo’s Hamdullahpur Field House on Mar. 3, and was one of the 12 prospects selected to attend the National CFL Combine.

After passing the “mock test” with flying colours, Biggs is feeling prepared for the “final exam.”

“I was super fortunate to go through it, I think it was a great experience. It was a tremendous facility with amazing athletes as well. There was some great talent there and I was very fortunate to be chosen to go on to the next level.

“It was just another stepping stone to getting to the dream that I’ve been chasing for awhile as a kid. Being prepared for this week and making sure that I do the same exact things and more, just to provide the best outlook for the scouts this week.”

You can keep up with the CFL Combine coverage here.

The CFL Draft takes place on May 2 at 6 p.m. MT.