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MISSISSAUGA – At least the colours are similar. After spending four seasons in UNC Tar Heel baby blue and not seeing a football field since 2008, LB Durell Mapp is in Argos training camp trying to make a name for himself.
Mapp, who was a walk-on at North Carolina in his freshman year in 2004, earned a scholarship and turned himself into one of the top ranked tacklers in the NCAA after the 2007 season. That season, he lead his team with 132 tackles and ranked second in the powerhouse ACC.
The twenty-five year old says that his current situation is similar to the beginning of his college career. “Most definitely. Nobody has really heard of me, and it is up to me to earn a spot” , he said.
Mapp has been out of football for two years to focus on training. It was during one of those training sessions that he ran into a member of the Toronto Argonauts’ personnel staff. “I saw [Assistant GM/Director, Player Personnel] Mike Hagen at the gym and told him I wanted to get back into Football,” explained Mapp.
“He told me that I would have a shot at the [Argos’ free agent camp held in Florida] and that there were no guarantees. I went in, made some plays, and thankfully they signed me.”
After two days, there is one glaring difference with the Canadian game that Mapp immediately noticed, “All of the motion,” he exclaimed. “It makes it very difficult to be in the proper position, especially if you’ve got to make calls and checks at the line.”
GM & Head Coach Jim Barker likes what Mapp brings to the table although it has only been two practices. “We’re very excited from what we have seen from Durell,” said Barker. “He has great instincts. Now it all depends on how quickly he can adapt to this game.”
Mapp and 38 other hopefuls have just one day left before the veterans join them on the field on Sunday. Then, the colours will remain the same but the competition will change, and the North Carolina-native will once again walk onto the field and try to make a name for himself.