Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor signs with B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Candice Ward/Calgary

The B.C. Lions have signed Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor, per sources.

The 25-year-old suited up in six games with the Calgary Stampeders as a backup QB during the shortened 2021 season.

O’Connor played in two games for the Toronto Argonauts during his rookie season in 2019. He made the most of his limited action, completing 15-of-25 pass attempts (60 percent) for 173 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions.

After being selected in the third round, 20th overall in the 2019 CFL Draft, O’Connor was the Argos third-string signal caller between McLeod Bethel-Thompson and James Franklin that year.

“Michael is an exciting athlete who possesses all the tools to become a solid CFL quarterback,” head coach and co-general manager Rick Campbell said.

“It’s also a bonus to now have two quarterbacks who know each other well and have made the lower mainland their year-round home.”

Campbell is referring to fellow Canadian Nathan Rourke who was named the starter in January. After Michael Reilly made his retirement official, Rourke enters the 2022 season as the No. 1 QB as the Lions take advantage of the position counting towards the ratio and are backing him up with a national.

O’Connor tested well at the CFL Combine and could be the next great Canadian quarterback. He attended mini-camp with the Seattle Seahawks in May 2019 but was not offered a contract afterwards.

The six-foot-four, 228-pound pivot originally committed to Penn State University before transferring to the University of British Columbia to finish his collegiate career. He led the Thunderbirds to a Vanier Cup championship in 2015.

As part of the CFL’s Canadian quarterback internship program, O’Connor attended 2016 Lions training camp in Kamloops. He played four seasons at UBC, completing 65 percent of passes for 9,990 yards with 61 touchdowns and 22 interceptions and led the program to the Canada West playoffs in each season at the Point Grey campus.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.