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Coming of an all-star season, Essex's Revenberg leads locals into new CFL campaign

Essex native Brandon Revenberg is looking for more than post-season recognition this year.

Heading into his fourth season in the Canadian Football League, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats guard was named an East Division all-star and a league all-star last season.

“At the end of the day, I’m not too focused on individual accolades,” the 26-year-old Revenberg said Wednesday. “It’s about the team.

“While it’s an honour to the recognition, we didn’t win the Grey Cup and that’s what matters.”

Revenberg wants to build on Hamilton’s second-place finish in the East Division last season and a spot in the division final and it starts on Thursday when the Tiger-Cats host the opening game of the CFL season against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“At the end of the day, the hope is always the Grey Cup, but I think we have a great team,” the six-foot-four, 301-pound Revenberg said. “I think the team chemistry under (Hamilton head) coach Orlondo (Steinauer) is set up to be something special and unique and we’re hoping to go all the way.”

The third overall pick in the 2016 CFL Draft out of Grand Valley State University, Revenberg will see another local product on the opposition side of the field in Thursday’s opener.

Windsor’s Dakoda Shepley will suit up for his first regular-season game with the Roughriders. The six-foot-four, 310-pound Shepley, who can play anywhere on the offensive line, was a first-round pick by Saskatchewan in 2018.

“It’s always nice seeing guys from your city have success,” Revenberg said.

Belle River offensive tackle Drew Desjarlais is also set to play in his first CFL season. A six-foot-two, 313-pound product of the University of Windsor Lancers, the 22-year-old Desjarlais was a first-round pick of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in this year’s CFL Draft.

Revenberg, who spent his university career playing by American rules, believes Shepley and Desjarlais will have a little bit of an advantage over him in their first CFL season.

“I was used to defensive guys being right on the line,” Revenberg said. “That was probably my biggest thing. I would be a little too aggressive and leaning.”

Revenberg hopes the two offensive line rookies will get a chance to ease into the league.

“You come in and everything’s new and you need to get your bearings and everything else,” Revenberg said. “I didn’t really start until close to the end of the first season for me. So, it was easier for me, I got to slowly adapt rather than put in right away.”

A first-time father with mom Trish to two-month-old son Rowan, Revenberg said that, even with the all-star recognition, he takes nothing for granted.

“To a certain level, the thing around here is be comfortable being uncomfortable,” Revenberg said. “Never get complacent.”

Also returning to the CFL this season is Windsor defensive back Arjen Colquhoun, who was a second-round pick by the Edmonton Eskimos in 2016 out Michigan State University. The 26-year-old Colquhoun has missed 23 games over the past two seasons with injuries. Now, the six-foot, 188-pound Colquhoun is hoping to produce the way he has in 13 career league games – with 31 tackles, three pass breakups and one interception – over a full season.

As well, former Windsor AKO Fratmen wide receiver Llevi Noel begins his fourth season with the Toronto Argonauts. The six-foot-two, 210-pound Noel, who was a fourth-round pick by Toronto in 2016, had a career-high 47 catches last season for 512 yards and a touchdown.