Poinciana Grad Drafted Into The Canadian Football League
May 25, 2017
The Saskatchewan Roughriders, a team in the Canadian Football League, drafted a 2012 Poinciana High School football standout earlier this month to fill out its offensive line.
Dariusz Bladek, at 6’5” and 311 pounds, is just the right size for Canadian football.
Canadian football is different from American football since it is played on a longer and wider field and requires three downs to gain 10 yards for a first down.
These differences require more agility and speed from the players on the offensive and defensive line.
“I’m proud to be a Roughrider,” said Bladek, who leaves in a few weeks to start training in Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.
The CFL season starts a few months earlier than the National Football League in the U.S. The Roughriders kick off the preseason on June 10 against its rival, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Bladek was a highly sought after high school athlete in 2012, with offers from the University of South Florida, Florida International University and other colleges.
Bladek accepted a full scholarship from Bethune-Cookman University, where he completed all four years of his bachelor’s degree and was a starting Wildcat all four years as well.
“I chose Bethune-Cookman to stay closer to home,” said Bladek, who said he wanted to stay close to his younger brother, Jozef Bladek, who is graduating this year from Poinciana High.
After graduating from Bethune-Cookman last year, Bladek entered the NFL draft and was even called to practice with the Baltimore Ravens for a few weeks.
When a NFL contract never materialized, Bladek set his sights further north in Canada.
Bladek has a dual citizenship with Canada, which makes him more attractive to Canadian teams.
In the CFL, each team can have a maximum of 44 players, in which only 20 can be drafted abroad.
Charles Jones, Bethune-Cookman’s Assistant Head Football Coach, said the Roughriders are fortunate to have Bladek.
“Dariusz has been offered a great opportunity,” Jones said. “It’s something he has always wanted, and he worked hard to achieve it.”
During his spare time, Bladek would lend a hand to Poinciana High’s football team.
“I had some off time between college and being drafted, so I wanted to give back to the high school that gave so much to me,” Bladek said.
Bladek not only gave them pointers during practice, but he inspired them as well.
Ken Knapcyzk, a coach for Poinciana High’s football team, said that the impact Bladek made on Poinciana was large because he inspired many players to work hard in hopes that they can achieve success too.
Bladek said he hopes to continue to return to Poinciana High during the offseason to help the football team out.
“I just want to show high school athletes that I’m living proof that if you work hard, you can succeed,” Bladek said.