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'Polished receiver,' former BYU star Austin Collie set to make CFL preseason debut

Austin Collie has been grabbing attention recently during training camp in Canada.

Now the former BYU and NFL wide receiver will have his chance to impress on the playing field when Collie and the BC Lions open their CFL preseason slate Friday night against the Calgary Stampeders.

First-year Lions head coach Jeff Tedford discussed Collie as one of the game's players to watch in a video posted on Twitter.

"I've never had any doubt about Austin, it's just a matter of him getting back into football shape," Tedford said. "He's a polished receiver, there's no doubt. He can change speeds, he does have good strides. He's got good, quick feet when he needs to and gets in and out of breaks well."

Collie signed with the team in late January after five seasons in the NFL. He wasn't on a roster during the 2014 season and hasn't played in a game since catching four passes for 57 yards for New England in the Patriots' 26-16 playoff loss to the Denver Broncos on Jan. 19, 2014.

"If the ball's anywhere in his range, he's going to catch it," Tedford said of Collie, who had 1,325 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns his first two years in the NFL before injuries played a major factor in his diminished role in the league.

Collie is listed as the Lions' backup at the "r" slotback spot heading into the matchup against the Stampeders. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. MDT and be streamed live on ESPN3.

Also on the Lions' roster is quarterback John Beck, another former Cougar, though the team's website doesn't list Beck on BC's expected quarterback rotation against Calgary. He missed significant training camp time, according to The Province, with "a form of viral hepatitis" and just arrived at camp this week.

Still, Beck is currently listed as the backup to starter Travis Lulay on the team's depth chart.

Several other players with Utah ties will kick off their CFL season this weekend as there are two more games on Saturday, including Montreal at Ottawa and Sasketchewan at Edmonton. The Eskimos-Roughriders matchup will be streamed live on ESPN3 at 8 p.m.

Here's the full list of Utah ties in the CFL:

BC Lions

John Beck, QB, BYU

Austin Collie, WR, BYU

Edmonton Eskimos

Paris Jackson, WR, Utah

John White, RB, Utah (he will miss the 2015 season with a ruptured achilles tendon)

Saskatchewan Roughriders

John Chick, DE, Utah State

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Chris Randle, DB, Utah State

Ottawa Redblacks

Jefferson Court, FB, Utah State

Connor Williams, DL, Utah State

Montreal Alouettes

Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU

Quinn Lawlor, OL, BYU

Email: bjudd@deseretdigital.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd