Ray Elgaard - Wide Receiver - University of Utah - 1983-96
Ray Elgaard was drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1983 out of the University of Utah. In his senior year with Utah he led the Utes in receiving. There were some questions about his speed but the Roughriders selected the Edmonton native with the 12th overall selection.
A deceptive runner with sure hands Elgaard quickly established himself as a rising non-import talent in the league. By his third season he was a Western All-Star with 1,193 yard receiving for 4 touchdowns. Saskatchewan continued to struggle at the bottom of the Western division but was compiling some impressive talent in the later half of the 1980's.
In 1988 the team broke through with an 11-7 record good for 2nd place in the Western division. Elgaard had his finest season to that point with 1,290 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. He was named the leagues Most Outstanding Canadian for the first of three in his career. The Roughriders lost to B.C. in the Western semi-final 42-18.
1989 was a dream season for the Roughriders and the province of Saskatchewan. The team captured the second Grey Cup in franchise history in a thrilling contest at Toronto's Skydome. Elgaard battled through injuries in the regular season but came through with a touchdown reception in the championship game to contribute to the victory.
Elgaard spent 7 more seasons with Saskatchewan compiling impressive totals. his best season was in 1990 with 1,494 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Elgaard was named the leagues most Outstanding Canadian in 1990 and '92.
Roughrider receiver Andy Fantuz was compared to Elgaard for their similar style and physical attributes - excerpted from the Canadian Press:
Roughriders go on offensive with selection of Fantuz - Canadian Press, April 20, 2006
In 1983 the Roughriders selected an unheralded receiver named Ray Elgaard in the second round of the Canadian college draft. Elgaard, who like Fantuz was lanky and not blessed with blazing speed, enjoyed a brilliant CFL career, spending his entire 14-year tenure with Saskatchewan, registering 830 receptions for 13,198 yards, and 78 touchdowns before being inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
One advantage Fantuz will have in the CFL will be an ability to get a running start on plays. In Canadian football, slotbacks line up five yards behind the line of scrimmage, then time their break to hit the line running at the snap.
This was something Elgaard perfected during his stellar career, so much so that league officials changed the rules to create a more level playing field for defensive players.
When Ray Elgaard retired midway through the 1996 season he retired as the career receiving yardage leader in league history. While his totals have since been eclipsed by the likes of Allen Pitts, Darren Flutie and Terry Vaughn, Elgaard set the standard as a Canadian receiver in the province of Saskatchewan.
Today Ray Elgaard lives in the Las Vegas area. Elgaard is a financial planner managing investments for sport professionals. Elgaard was inducted into the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame in 2002.
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