Noah Picton ends USports career as all-time passing leader while proving doubters wrong

Noah Picton overcame questions about his lack of size to set the all-time passing record in Canadian university football: now all the young man needs is the pro shot he deserves.

Picton was a star coming out of LeBoldus High School in Regina, leading the team to a provincial title in 2012, but NCAA scouts were hesitant to offer a scholarship to the five-foot-nine, 177-pound quarterback because recruiters felt his size limited potential. Even Canadian university programs had questions: not a single USports team actively recruited Picton. For years the Regina native had thrown with former Rams quarterback Marc Mueller which is the connection that led to Picton joining the University of Regina football squad.

After redshirting the 2013 season, Picton took over the starting quarterback role in 2014. He’s started every game for the Rams until Sept. 29 – staying healthy and available through the rigours of a fast-paced university schedule – when he became the USports passing leader in style.

That major connection proved to be the game-winning score in the Rams overtime victory against the University of Manitoba (though the win was later forfeited due to eligibility issues.) Picton was efficient completing 20-of-30 throws for 296 yards with two touchdowns against one interception in the historic performance.

But that was the last time Picton stepped on the field in a university game. After playing against Manitoba Picton’s foot flared up with what was eventually diagnosed as septic arthritis, which led to excruciating pain and even can be lethal in some cases. That kept Picton on the sidelines for the final three games of his university career,  finishing with 11,496 yards – only six Canadian university quarterbacks have ever gone over 10,000 passing yards.

Picton held the best single-season passing yardage total, set in 2016 when the local product became the first University of Regina player to win the Hec Crighton Trophy as the best player in Canadian university football until Calgary Dinos quarterback Adam Sinagra reset the mark in 2018. He added more hardware to his trophy case by completing 15-of-20 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the 2017 USports East-West Bowl, where the best draft prospects play in a showcase game, to earn game MVP honours.

After a stellar 2017 season, Picton showed he was more athletic than scouts predicted, but it didn’t lead to any CFL team taking him in the 2018 draft. The Toronto Argonauts signed Picton to a free agent deal, bringing him to training camp and Argos head coach Marc Trestman was impressed enough by Picton that he vowed to watch Canada West film from his final season with the Rams. The Argos have kept tabs on Picton which could mean another opportunity as a player or there could be opportunities to coach as Mueller has done with the Calgary Stampeders.

Picton has been doubted in high school, university and there were doubts he would get a look at the pro level (nevermind impress a quarterback guru like Trestman.) But every doubter has been proven wrong so far: Picton was an elite passer in high school and risen to the top of the charts in university.

After yet another season in which he has rewritten the record books again, Picton deserves an opportunity to show what he can do at the pro level.

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