SASKATOON – Three University of Saskatchewan Huskies’ CFL dreams are one step closer to coming true.
Offensive lineman Evan Johnson and receivers Julan Lynch and Mitch Hillis were selected Sunday night in the 2017 CFL Canadian Draft. Johnson was selected in the first round, ninth overall by the reigning Grey Cup champion Ottawa REDBLACKS, while the Calgary Stampeders snatched Lynch in the second round, 17th overall. Hillis was taken in Round 8, 69th overall to the B.C. Lions.
Johnson becomes the sixth Huskie to be taken in the first round of the modern era draft and just the second in the modern era to be selected by a CFL franchise in Ottawa. Lynch is the eighth Huskie selected to the Stampeders and Hillis is the fifth taken by the Lions.
Since 1985 when the CFL draft took its current format, 57 University of Saskatchewan football players have been selected.
A fourth-year Engineering student from Regina, Johnson, played in all eight games for the Huskies on the offensive line in 2016 and helped the offence to average 32.6 points per game and 434 yards per game. He was named a Canada West All-Star and U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian in 2016. He has suited up in 32 career games for the green and white.
“I’m very excited to have an opportunity to play at the next level,” said Johnson, following the selection. “I’m looking forward to playing in Ottawa, a city with great culture and success with the program.”
Lynch, a 6-3, 225 pound Regina native, has suited up in 28 career games for the Huskies and has been a main target the last two seasons. In 2015, Lynch tallied 606 yards on 44 receptions and in 2016 added 455 yards on 33 receptions.
“I’m happy to be a part of the Calgary Stampeders organization,” said Lynch. “The Stamps have a lot of history and tradition and I want to add to that. I look forward to showing them what I can do in camp.”
Hillis played in only six games in 2016 due to injury and tallied 423 yards on 35 catches. A two-time Canada West all-star and 2015 All-Canadian, the 6-0 Kinesiology student broke Huskie-program single season records in receptions and yards in 2015.
The Huskies open the 2017 Canada West football season on the road against the Manitoba Bisons on September 1. Saskatchewan returns home on September 8 against the Alberta Golden Bears.