Canadian Football League

Monday, April 30, 2007

Jon Cornish elects to play in the Canadian Football League

It took a year, but general manager Jim Barker of the Calgary Stampeders finally got his man.
The Stampeders have agreed to terms on a contract with Canadian Jon Cornish after the record-setting Kansas Jayhawks running back was bypassed in the NFL draft Sunday. The six-foot, 205-pound Cornish had been projected as a late-round selection but was expected to sign with an NFL club as a free agent and collect a signing bonus of roughly US$10,000 to come to camp.
However, Cornish's deal with the Stampeders, who took him in the second round of last year's Canadian college draft, reportedly includes a signing bonus exceeding $20,000.
In keeping with team policy, Barker wouldn't discuss contract details and added Cornish, 22, has yet to officially sign the deal. But Barker did say he was surprised to land Cornish a year after drafting him.
"I definitely thought Jon would go on the second day (of this year's NFL draft)," Barker said. "He definitely had offers from the NFL to sign as a free agent but his feeling was if he wasn't drafted he wanted an opportunity to go somewhere he was wanted.
"That was his stance all along and he lived up to it, which is certainly good for us."
Jeff Perrett of Lethbridge, Ont., a six-foot-seven, 320-pound offensive lineman also bypassed in last weekend's NFL draft, also signed with a CFL club Monday.
Perrett, an offensive tackle at the University of Tulsa, signed a two-year deal plus an option with the Montreal Alouettes, who selected the 23-year-old in the third round of last year's Canadian college draft.
Calgary's offence already boasts running back Joffrey Reynolds, who was second in CFL rushing last year with 1,541 yards and averaged a sparkling 5.9-yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns. But Cornish isn't exactly chopped liver, either, running for a Kansas single-season record 1,457 yards last year as a senior and averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
Over his college career, Cornish rushed for 2,245 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry while scoring 17 touchdowns. He also registered 40 receptions for 344 yards and three TDs.
But Cornish will offer the Stampeders much more than just depth in the backfield.
Cornish is also a very accomplished special-teams player, having spent most of his first three years at Kansas on special teams. He was also the only Canadian player this year invited to the NFL combine, where the top U.S. college prospects go through a myriad of drills and psychological testing under the watchful eyes of NFL coaches, GMs and scouts.
As a Canadian playing a position usually reserved for Americans, the addition of Cornish also gives the Stampeders the flexibility of playing another American elsewhere on their roster.
"It changes the ratio for us and gives us a bit more leeway," Barker said.


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