Vancouver, BC- In a draft year like no other, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats looked to the NCAA for the first overall selection in the CFL Draft. The Ticats selected former Boston College tight-end Jake Burt with the top pick, one of their two first-round selections.
The first U SPORTS player to hear his name called was just one pick after, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders stayed close to him, selecting Nelson Lokombo out of the University of Saskatchewan.
Lokobmo, a defensive back was the 2019 U SPORTS defensive player of the year, was one of three Huskies selected on Tuesday. The 5’11” Abbotsford, BC native is from a CFL family, with his brother, Banko playing with the BC Lions.
Lokombo became the highest Huskies player drafted since offensive lineman Ben Heenan went first overall to Saskatchewan in 2012. “They’ll be using me as a guy who can play everywhere,” he said to The Canadian Press. “Something similar to what I was doing [in university] playing corner, playing safety, playing Sam, playing half.”
Four of the nine first-round selections came from U SPORTS, with the Edmonton football team selecting Alberta Golden Bears, Cole Nelson, while Toronto took Peter Nicastro and Hamilton plucked UBC’s Nick Cross.
In total, 31 of 54 selections came from Canadian universities, with 16 of the 27 U SPORTS programs having a player plucked from their team.
Two players with connections to National Football League franchises were also drafted, but lower than if they were not likely heading south of the 49th Parallel. The Montreal Alloutues selected Pierre-Olivier Lestage, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks earlier in the week. At the same time, the Stampeders took former Cornish Trophy winner Chuba Hubbard, who also heard his name called by the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
After not playing in 2020 due to COVID-19, U SPORTS and the CFL are aiming to return in 2021, with the CFL in the summer and U SPORTS in the fall.
A full list of the CFL Draft selections and results can be found HERE.
COVER PHOTO: U SPORTS