Our mini CFL weekend here at CFT continues, this time with a little bit of MACtion.
Thursday, Virginia wide receiver Dejon Brissett was taken second overall in the 2020 CFL draft. A baker’s dozen picks later, Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke was selected. The BC Lions used the 15th pick of the CFL draft on Rourke.
A really cool part of this story? Rourke was born in Victoria, British Columbia. Ohio noted in its release that Rourke “is the CFL’s highest-drafted quarterback since Jesse Palmer went 15th to the Montreal Alouettes in 2001.” Like Rourke, Palmer was born and raised in Canada.
Rourke is also the second Ohio football player to be selected in the CFL draft. The first? Rourke’s one-time teammate, running back Maleek Irons, a year ago. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats took Irons in the third round of the 2019 CFL draft.
Rourke finished his career in Athens as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the program’s history. From the school’s release:
Rourke finished his three-year career at Ohio with a record of 24-13 as starting quarterback and was under center for an unprecedented three-straight bowl victories. He ranks first in program history in career touchdowns scored (51), touchdowns responsible for (111), total offense yards gained (10,091), total offense yards per play (7.65), total offense yards per game (258.7), passing yards per attempt (8.3), passing yards per game (191.2) and passing efficiency (146.5); tied for first in rushing touchdowns (49); second in completions (525), attempts (894), passing yards (7,457) and passing touchdowns (60); third in points scored (306) and completion percentage (58.7 percent); fifth in passing yards per completion (14.2); eighth in rushing yards (2,634); and ninth in rushing yards per game (67.0). He owns program single-season records for points scored (132; 2017), touchdowns scored (22; 2017), touchdowns responsible for (39; 2017), total offense yards per play (8.07; 2018), total offense yards per game (283.6; 2018), most passing yards per attempt (tied; 8.9; 2018), high passing efficiency (156.3; 2018) and rushing touchdowns (21; 2017). Rourke was the inaugural winner of the Jon Cornish Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding Canadian player in NCAA Football, in 2017-18 and repeated as the winner in ’18-19. He was named one of five finalists for the award last month.
The only other FBS players selected in the 2020 CFL Draft were Buffalo offensive lineman Tomas Jack-Kurdyla and Nevada wide receiver Brendan O’Leary-Orange. Jack-Kurdyla, a Quebec native who was a four-year starter with the Bulls, was the No. 4 overall pick of the CFL draft by the Edmonton Eskimos. Also a native of Canada, O’Leary-Orange was drafted in the fourth round by defending Grey Cup champions Winnipeg.