Three Marauders headed to Canadian Football League

By Fraser Caldwell, May 8, 2017

McMaster receiver Danny Vandervoort was the first U SPORTS player chosen in the 2017 Canadian Football League Draft Sunday.

The Barrie, Ontario native was selected third overall by the BC Lions, becoming the first opening round selection from McMaster since lineman Matt Sewell was chosen eighth overall by the Toronto Argonauts in 2013.

“It was great to get [the selection] out of the way early and really just enjoy the rest of the night,” said Vandervoort of the early end to his suspense on Sunday.

“Now, it’s going to be about getting myself situated within the city. I’ll have to get acquainted with the team, but they have some players I know and some great receivers that I’ve watched for years now. So, it’s pretty cool to be on the same roster now.”

Vandervoort tied the second-highest draft position achieved by a McMaster player, and was the highest-drafted Marauder since linebacker Jason Pottinger was chosen second overall by the Lions in 2006.

He was one of three McMaster selections on Sunday, including defensive linemen Fabion Foote and Mark Mackie.

“We are very proud of Danny, Fabion and Mark, and the recognition they have received tonight from Canadian Football League teams,” said McMaster head coach Greg Knox. “This night is a testament to their hard work and dedication to the game of football.

“Each of these players is a fantastic ambassador of the McMaster program, and reflects the sort of development that we strive to achieve with each of our student-athletes.”

Ranked in each of the CFL’s three Scouting Bureau lists, Vandervoort climbed to the fourth position in the final pre-draft rankings published in April.

In 2016, he finished among the top five in the OUA in yards per game (78.9), yards per catch (18.6) and touchdowns (5).

Vandervoort has been an OUA all-star in each of his four seasons at McMaster, being named to the First Team in each of the past three seasons after being named to the Second Team as a rookie in 2014.

The Marauder receiver has cracked the U SPORTS All-Canadian ranks three times, beginning with a Second Team selection in 2014, and continuing with First Team honours in 2015, before a return to the Second Team this past season.

With four campaigns behind him, Vandervoort holds the McMaster team record, and sits third on the U SPORTS all-time career list with 29 touchdown receptions.

McMaster’s second player off the board Sunday was defensive tackle Foote, who was selected with the Montreal Alouettes first pick of the draft, 12th overall in the second round.

Unranked in the CFL’s first two Scouting Bureau lists, Foote appeared at 18 in the final pre-draft rankings released in April, after impressing at the CFL Combine. His broad jump score of 9’11” stood as one of the top five achieved in the league’s series of regional and central combines in 2017.

2016 was a breakout season for Foote, who started in all eight regular season and two playoffs games for the Marauders at defensive tackle.

His eight tackles for a loss of 34 yards ranked him seventh in the OUA. With four sacks and 20.5 total tackles, Foote ranked second and eighth respectively among Marauders.

Another player whose stock was boosted through combine season, Mackie was the third and final Marauder selected Sunday, chosen by the Edmonton Eskimos with the 67th pick in the eighth round.

A regular member of McMaster’s defensive line since his rookie year, the defensive end was a Second Team OUA All-Star in 2015, and started successfully on the end once again in 2016.

He contributed 16 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss in the regular season, but shone with an invite to the CFL’s Ontario Regional Combine in March.

There, Mackie posted a total of 25 bench reps that ranked second overall at the regional, and was among the five players invited to progress to the national combine.