Alex Carroll’s road to the CFL hasn’t been a smooth ride.
The receiver was signed by the team this off-season as an undrafted free agent out of Queen’s but Carroll’s story dates back to his fourth year at Queen’s. That year, he suffered a knee injury. That injury likely prevented him from being selected in the 2014 CFL Draft.
The Victoria, B.C. native went back to school to finish out his fifth and final year. Carroll’s 52 catches for 875 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games earned Carroll an invite to the CFL’s regional combine in Edmonton.
Carroll’s performance at that event earned him an invite to the Riders mini-camp in Florida before he officially signed on with the team.
“It’s been a long for me personally,” said Carroll.
Carroll’s hard work wasn’t over then. He then had to compete at Riders training camp to earn a spot within the organization earning his way onto the team’s practice roster.
The receiver eventually started playing a special teams role for the team before making his first start at receiver this past Saturday against the Stampeders.
“I think every week I’ve prepared like I was playing in the game,” said Carroll.
Part of that preparation included a lot of visualization. Carroll would imagine he was out there making plays and scoring touchdowns every week. That work did pay off as Carroll did score his first touchdown against the Stampeders in that game.
Even though Carroll’s journey to this moment hasn’t been the easiest. He’s had some help along the way. Most notably from fellow Queen’s grad and teammate, Rob Bagg.
“(Bagg’s) helped me so much along the way,” said Carroll.
“The thing I can’t stress enough is how much I learned from him, not so much the things he tells me, but what he shows on the field. The way he works off the field as well.”
“The thing I can’t stress enough is how much I learned from (Bagg), not so much the things he tells me, but what he shows on the field. The way he works off the field as well.” -Carroll on his off-season work outs with Bagg
Carroll and Bagg have spent time in the off-season working out together where Carroll has not only learned tools of the trade on the field but off of it as well.
Bagg never recommended to the Riders that they take a look at Carroll. But, he always knew what the team would be getting if they did sign him.
“He’s a really hard worker, a very smart guy. His athleticism , certainly, I think was missed a little bit in the draft evaluation. He’s a pretty strong kid and is blazing fast,” said Bagg.
“He’s got a lot good skills that will make him a great player for years to come.”
Last season, the Riders picked up Weston Dressler 2.0 in Ryan Smith. Now, it appears they may have Rob Bagg 2.0 on their hands.