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Blue Bombers sign five 2023 draft choices

WINNIPEG, MB.,  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announce the signing of five 2023 Draft selections: defensive lineman Anthony Bennett (8th overall), defensive back Jake Kelly (15th overall), receiver Jeremy Murphy (26th overall), defensive back Bret MacDougall (53rd overall) and linebacker Max Charbonneau (71st overall).

Bennett (6-3, 230, University of Regina; born: October 4, 1996, in Weston, FL) was named a first-team All-Canadian and a Canada West all-star after setting a school single-season record with eight sacks with the Regina Rams in his senior year.  He tied a school record for most tackles for loss in a single season (10.5) and started all eight Canada West games at defensive end, finishing the year with 25.5 tackles (19 solo, 13 assisted). In 2021, Bennett finished fourth on the team and led all Rams defensive linemen in tackles (17 solo, 8 assisted) while tying for the team lead with 7½ tackles for loss, adding two sacks. Prior to joining the Rams, Bennett spent the 2015-2019 seasons with Florida Atlantic University.

Kelly (6-0, 180, Bishop’s University; born: April 1, 1999, in Markham, ON) was named the Brian Morely Defensive Player of the Year last season and an Academic All-Canadian in 2021 with the Bishop’s University Gaiters. He played in eight games for the Gaiters in 2022-23, recording two interceptions (one for a touchdown), one forced fumble and 24 total tackles (19 solo and 5 assisted). Kelly played in seven games in 2020-21, totalling 29 tackles (24 solo, 5 assisted) and one interception.

Murphy (6-2, 195, Concordia University; born: May 14, 1999, in St. Bruno, QC) was named to the U Sports First All-Canadian team in 2022, his second national award. The pandemic derailed his sophomore season and in 2021, Murphy tore his hamstring, ending his season. But he returned in 2022, posting career numbers: He recorded 29 receptions for 589 yards and two touchdowns in seven games and averaged 20.3 yards a catch, leading the Quebec conference. In January, Murphy also attended the 2023 College Gridiron Showcase in Texas.

MacDougall (6-3, 205, Queen’s University; born: June 25, 2001, in LaSalle, ON) was named a 2022 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian and participated in the 2022 East-West Bowl last season after recording 29 tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, two interceptions and three pass breakups in his third season with the Lancers. He appeared in six games in 2021, making 15 tackles (9 solo, 12 assists) and dressed for three games in 2019 but did not record any stats.

Charbonneau (6-3, 225, University of Ottawa; born: August 19, 1999, in Ottawa, ON) played four seasons with the GeeGees, seeing action in 28 games and recording 53.5 total tackles (38 solo, 31 assisted). His 2022 season was his best as he appeared in six regular season games at middle linebacker, recording 17 total tackles (9 solo, 16 assisted) and adding one tackle for loss, a forced fumble, a pass breakup, and a blocked kick. In his two playoff starts in 2022, Charbonneau tallied 10.5 tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.

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