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VANCOUVER — As Nathan Rourke prepares for whenever his first CFL season may start, the Canadian quarterback is in a pretty good situation.
The Lions draft pick (he was selected 15th in this year’s CFL Draft) has joined a QB room in BC that features one of the best pivots to play in the league: Mike Reilly.
“I think I’m in such a great situation as a young guy who still has so much to learn and to be able to go in and learn from one of the best in the game,” Rourke told BCLions.com. “Mike’s a really knowledgable guy.”
When the six-foot-two, 209-pounder eventually gets to the Lions’ facilities, he’ll be able to soak up as much information as possible from his new teammate. Reilly’s resume speaks for itself, as the 35-year-old has played in 10 CFL seasons and has collected 31,522 yards, 168 touchdowns through the air and another 52 majors on the ground. But it’s his knowledge of the game and offences that will be integral for Rourke’s transition to the CFL.
“They’re still figuring things out but as soon as training camp starts I know that there will be a lot of information to soak up,” he said. “(Reilly’s) been really awesome about it and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Before getting selected by the Lions earlier this year, Rourke played for the University of Ohio Bobcats. He transferred to the school in 2017 and became the Bobcats’ starting QB. He played in 39 career games, establishing himself as a threat on the ground and through the air. He amassed 7,475 passing yards, 70 passing touchdowns, 2,639 rushing yards and 49 rushing touchdowns while leading Ohio to three consecutive bowl wins and exited as the MVP of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2020.
In 2019, his senior year, he received first-team all-MAC honours after throwing for 2,820 yards and 20 majors while also rushing for 867 yards and 13 scores.
As the Lions decide how the want to use their offensive weapons, there may be room for Rourke to come in on certain packages to utilize his ability to run. Whether that happens or not, Rourke just wants to make sure to use this opportunity to develop all of his skills and become the best pivot he can.
“I’d love to continue to develop as a thrower,” he said. “That’s something that I enjoy maybe even more than running the ball. I think that I can bring in a different type of skillset that can be advantageous for offences. I’d love to be able to be on the field. Especially early on and be able to contribute, if at all, in that way, which would be awesome as well.”
– With files from BCLions.com