VANCOUVER — The BC Lions got their draft started by selecting Harvard receiver Marco Iannuzzi with the sixth overall selection.
Iannuzzi leaves Harvard as the school’s top all time returner, averaging 34.5 yards per return. In his final year he set a single season record, averaging 26.5 yards per return, and is the only player in Harvard history to return two kickoffs for a touchdown in one season.
Iannuzzi’s draft stock shot up after a solid performance at the CFL’s Evaluation Camp in March. At camp he showed great speed and athleticism in the testing and also performed well during the on-field drills.
The Lions traded down to the sixth overall pick after swinging a deal with the Stampeders earlier in the day. The Lions picked up the 6th, 11th and 37th overall selections from the Stamped in exchange for their 3rd overall selection as well as their fourth and fifth round selections (26th and 34th overall).
The Lions then used the 11th overall pick to select Alberta Golden Bears kicker/punter Hugh O’Neill. O’Neill was ranked 8th on the CFL Amateur Scouting Bureau’s list of top prospects heading into the draft.
He was a four-time Canada West all-star from 2007 through 2010, a second team CIS all-Canadian place kicker and punter in 2007, and a first team CIS punter in 2009. With Paul McCallum and Sean Whyte already under contract with the club the Lions decided to trade one of their veteran kickers.
They dealt Whyte to Montreal in exchange for the Alouettes’ first round selection in the 2012 Canadian Draft.
“Sean deserves an opportunity to become a fulltime kicker in the CFL and he will get that in Montreal,” said Lions Buono ’ GM and head coach, Wally Buono.
The Lions next pick in the draft (19th overall) was used to select Maryland DB Michael Carter. They rounded out their day by selecting Sherbrooke OL Yannick Sage (37th overall), and Saint Mary’s DL Chris Hodgson (42nd overall).
Hodgson is something of an intriguing prospect based on his raw athletic ability. He has only one season of football under his belt though after playing hockey for most of his life.
“This is a great day for our club, our fans and for five young men who have very bright football futures ahead of them,” said Buono following the draft.