It's pretty cool to see that the Queen's Golden Gaels' record-setting running back, Mike Giffin, was taken in the third round of the CFL draft this afternoon by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
It probably stems from a feeling that there's more of an it-takes-a-village vibe with respect to how the Kingston football community and the Gaels program helped Giff make himself into a football player.
The other Kingston guys who've stuck in the CFL, most notably Brent Johnston, the B.C. Lions rush end, all seemed a lot more born to playing pro football. Johnston's potential was pretty obvious -- he was plucked out of Holy Cross to play in the Big Ten at Ohio State, for pity's sake. Taylor Robertson, who's with the Argos, was also an imposing physical package. As a high schooler he was 6-foot-6, 270 lbs., but if memory serves he was light enough on his feet that he played tight end.
It's a little different with Giffin. He plays a position that isn't historically Canadian-friendly, plus there were questions over his size and conditioning before he slimmed down to play tailback last season.
Western coach Greg Marshall, on TSN's webcast, did make a point that CFL teams are looking for backs with Giffin's gifts. The movement toward the kind of spread offences seen in the NCAA (receivers spread sideline to sideline, quarterback in the shotgun with a single back) has created a need for a back who can catch the ball "in space," and is big enough to run between the tackles on the inside zone play.
Anyway, I'm going to leave this to the pros. Arash Madani is live-blogging for CFL.ca and the Kingston Whig-Standard should have a full story in tomorrow's edition.
(Giffin needs to make the Ticats and former Gaels wideout Rob Bagg need to stick with the Saskatchewan Roughriders for my brother's sake. It would be good for him to know the lopsided scores his high school team was on the wrong end of were not in vain -- "hey, we lost by 50 points, but their running back is in the CFL!"
Photo courtesy of Jeff Chan.)