MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - We met Nathan Rourke back in 2015 when his family moved from Oakville, Ontario to Alabama for his senior year of high school.
In that season, Rourke quarterbacked the Edgewood Academy Wildcats to an AISA state championship. He passed for 59 touchdowns and was named the AISA Player of the Year.
"One of the unique things about the Edgewood situation was for me coming in as a guy who was immediately asked to be a leader and to be a contributor. Having to do it at the blink of an eye," stated Nathan Rourke.
Rourke played at Fort Scott Community College for a season after his year at Edgewood.
He spent the past three years in the MAC as the starting QB for the Ohio Bobcats.
"It was a really fun ride. We were a part of three distinctly talented teams. The thing that I'm most proud about those three years is we as a team were able to win three consecutive bowl games," Rourke said.
Rourke passed for 60 touchdowns and rushed for another 49 in his three years at Ohio.
He was named the Jon Cornish Trophy winner two straight years. That award goes to the most outstanding Canadian football player in the NCAA.
“Huge, tremendous honor," said Rourke. “I think every single year the quality of Canadians in the NCAA, the talent, gets better and better every single year.”
Rourke went undrafted during last week’s NFL draft, but he’s eligible for the Canadian Football League draft on Thursday.
There are eight rounds, and he’s ranked at the seventh-best player by the CFL Scouting Bureau.
“You have to have a certain amount of Canadians on the field. You have to have a certain amount on the roster at a time. That’s why it is so important to have national players,” said Rourke. “They are looking to fill needs right away. Players who can play right away and contribute to that ratio and usually that comes in the form of offense and defensive line. Usually a quarterback, like myself, you are going to have to develop them. They still may make the roster, but they’ll be a backup position. That’s why there is that going on. That’s why quarterbacks aren’t usually taken early, unlike the NFL draft. It’s funny how there is such a difference between the two."
Rourke could soon be transitioning back to to the Canadian-style game after spending that last five years playing in the United States.
“I’ll have an easier time transitioning than I think some players that have never played the Canadian game and maybe never watched it before,” Rourke said.
The CFL Draft is Thursday at 7 p.m.