Canadian QB Nathan Rourke signs rookie contract with B.C. Lions

Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke has signed his rookie contract with the B.C. Lions, per sources.

It’s a three-year pact, two years plus an option for Rourke who was selected in the second round, 15th overall of the 2020 CFL Draft, tying former Jesse Palmer for the highest drafted Canadian QB in league history.

The New York Giants invited Rourke to their rookie mini-camp from May 14-16 as an athlete who could play QB. He mainly took reps at receiver and impressed during his time in the Big Apple. The 22-year-old went unselected in the 2020 NFL Draft and due to COVID-19 there were no rookie mini-camps last year.

New York currently has three quarterbacks on the roster, which include starter Daniel Jones who was selected sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Mike Glennon, and Clayton Thorson. The Giants gave Rourke positive reviews and could revisit the possibility of signing him in the future as the signal caller has NFL outs built into his agreement with the Lions.

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, 210-pound dual-threat passer has the skills to succeed at the CFL level and flourishing could lead to NFL opportunities down the line.

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