Nathan Rourke matches Jesse Palmer for highest Canadian quarterback ever taken in CFL draft

Photo courtesy: Ohio Athletics

The B.C. Lions chose national quarterback Nathan Rourke in the second round, 15th overall during the 2020 CFL draft.

It tied the mark for highest Canadian QB selected in the CFL talent grab, Jesse Palmer was chosen 15th by the Montreal Alouettes in 2001. Palmer never played for the Als. Much different than Rourke who has the potential for a long pro career.

During his senior season at Ohio University, Rourke threw for 2,676 yards, 20 touchdowns against five interceptions with a 61.4 completion percentage. He rushed for 780 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards-per-carry.

The Bobcats went 6-6 and earned a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl spot, a game they would go on to win with Rourke being named MVP. The physical activity and sport coaching major earned 2019 All-Mid-American Conference first-team honours.

Rourke started all 13 games as a junior in 2018 and led the Bobcats to a win in the Frisco Bowl and a 9-4 overall record. He completed 164-of-274 of his passes (59.9 per cent) for 2,434 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions while carrying the ball 134 times for 860 yards (6.4 yards-per-carry) and 15 touchdowns.

The dual-threat QB finished his Ohio career with a 24-13 record as a starting quarterback and was under centre for three-straight bowl victories. Ohio matched the University of Toledo (1969-1971) and Miami University (1973-1975) for the most consecutive bowl wins in Mid-American Conference history. 

Over three seasons at Ohio, Rourke produced 7,313 passing yards, 60 touchdowns compared to 20 interceptions and 2,552 rushing yards with 48 touchdowns plus three receptions for 20 yards and two touchdowns — program-record 110 total touchdowns.

The six-foot-two, dual-threat passer has the skills to succeed at the pro level.