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Dinos CFL draft success showcases U of C athletics

By Kent Wong, June 7 2016 —

The 2016 CFL draft marked another year of success for the Dinos football program.

One former and three active Dinos were drafted to the CFL and NFL this year. Running back Mercer Timmis was the second round 14th overall pick by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Receiver Brett Blaszko and defensive back Elie Bouka were both chosen in round three as picks 23 and 24, respectively.

Blaszko went to the BC Lions while Bouka was picked up by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Bouka also signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent after missing out in the NFL draft. Former Dino Alex Ogbongbemiga was the 36th overall pick in the fifth round for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Dinos football has made tremendous progress producing CFL draft picks. The club has stuck to a consistent top three round draft since 2011, along with first round picks in every year but 2014. The frequency of first round picks and the number of Dinos in top rounds highlights the recent success of the program in recent years.

A milestone year in 2013 saw five players drafted to the CFL — three to the Montreal Alouettes, one to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and one to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. At the time, 15 CFL selections had been made in the past three seasons, with six of the selections being picked in the opening round. That total has climbed to 28 strong in the past six seasonal drafts dating back to 2010.

Throughout the history of the program, 49 Dinos have gone on to play for the Calgary Stampeders, while 77 more have been picked for CFL teams across the country. To say that the Dinos football program has seen success in the draft these past few seasons would be an understatement.

In 2015, the Dinos were evenly matched with the University of Western Ontario Mustangs in CIS standings. Each posted a matched 8–0 win to loss ratio and earned the top spots in the Canada West and Ontario University Athletics conferences, respectively.

In overall appearances at the Vanier Cup, the Dinos are tied for second in the CIS with a total of nine appearances and a win to loss ratio of 4–5, just behind the Laval Rouge et Or and the Mustangs.

The success of the football program strengthens the overall prestige of the university. The CFL draft picks represent U of C students making it to the next step in their careers on a national stage. For students who aren’t athletes, a strong athletics department helps build a collective campus identity.

Given the Dinos football club’s recent strength in the draft, it’s important for students and the university to support the program. Go to a game, make your voice heard and be proud of our school.

The Dinos are a pillar that the university has always stood on — football has been played on the fields of McMahon stadium since 1960, and 22 former players are currently on CFL rosters. The strong showing by Dinos athletes in this year’s CFL draft helps ensure that the legacy of the football program lives on long after each individual player made their mark here.

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