'Hawk a Stamp

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Jon Cornish's bio on the Kansas Jayhawks website features the normal stats, details and personal information, plus one odd link.

One click and the running back pops up in a video window holding a football and smiling the way player introductions happen on Monday Night Football.

Therein lies the best example of why the Calgary Stampeders were able to grab the top-ranked player with the 13th overall selection yesterday in the CFL Canadian college draft.

Is Cornish one year away from starring in the NFL? Six other teams balked with 12 picks because of that fear.

Stamps head coach Tom Higgins and GM Jim Barker weren't scared and picked the top-ranked player by the Canadian Football Prospect Report.

"We're very pleased," Higgins said. "Jon Cornish is legit. Some people around the CFL might say he's too good, that he's going to the NFL.

"He is 6 ft. 205 (lb.), had a great Bowl game but he would be a perfect fit here. We're going to cheer for him in his senior year. It was a good selection for us."

After last year trading their first selection to B.C. for the rights to Jason Gesser, the Stamps were forced to wait through the first round yesterday as divisional rivals stocked up.

Edmonton took defensive lineman Adam Braidwood of Washington State with the first pick, while Saskatchewan grabbed highly touted receiver Andy Fantuz from Western Ontario.

The Roughriders then traded quarterback Nealon Greene to the Montreal Alouettes for defensive back Almondo Curry and a fifth-round draft pick.

B.C. took linebackers Jay Pottinger (second) and Rickey Foley and offensive lineman Steve Valli (sixth) with their three picks.

No one jumped at Cornish, who fell much like Jesse Lumsden did a year ago.

The New Westminster, B.C., native rushed for 780 yards and nine touchdowns with the Jayhawks as a junior last season, earning offensive MVP honours.

He will enter his senior year as the starter and could draw enough interest to be taken in the NFL draft a year from now.

The 21-year-old may never make his way to the CFL. But if he does, it will be to the Stamps and that's what Higgins and Barker are banking on. Cornish was at the top of the Stamps' board yesterday so Higgins is ecstatic with how things worked out.

"Our fans will have to be patient," Higgins said. "Should Jon be given an opportunity down south, then we could be a couple of years away."

Calgary added more offensive line depth with their second and fourth selections, taking Manitoba's Riley Clayton and St. Francis-Xavier's Derek Armstrong.

With their third pick, the Stamps selected another promising running back in Gerald Commissiong from Stanford. The power fullback is also entering his senior year and won't show up in Calgary until at least 2007.

"We had a chance to talk to him and we liked what we saw," said Higgins. "He's big, tough, physical but not a typical fullback. He would suit the needs for us.

"(Cornish and Commissiong) could be on the same team and work well together."


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