Mark Korte, an offensive lineman from the Alberta Golden Bears, was the first U SPORTS player selected in the 2018 CFL Draft when the Ottawa REDBLACKS called his name at No. 4 on Thursday evening.
Korte was one of four U SPORTS players who went in the opening round on Thursday, along with UBC offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley at No.5 (Saskatchewan Roughriders), and Calgary offensive linemen Darius Ciraco at No. 6 (Hamilton Tiger-Cats) and Ryan Sceviour at No. 8 (Calgary Stampeders).
Click here for the CFL Draft Tracker to see the full list.
Korte, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound business major from Spruce Grove, Alta., was ranked No. 6 on the April CFL Scouting Bureau Top 20 prospects list, rising six spots from No.12 in December, after going unranked on the initial list last August.
Korte was a driving force in Alberta’s No.2-ranked rushing offence, helping the Golden Bears to their first playoff appearance since 2010. Korte was named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and was a nominee for the J.P. Metras Trophy as the Outstanding Down Lineman of the Year. He was also invited in January to the prestigious East-West Shrine Game, the longest running university all-star game in the United States, which features over 100 draft-eligible seniors.
Shepley (No.3), Sceviour (No.13) and Ciraco (No.14) were also ranked in the Scouting Bureau’s Top 20 going into the draft. Shepley, the top-ranked player on the Apr. 12 list, dropped in the first round after signing with the NFL’s New York Jets on Apr. 28 as an undrafted free agent.
Overall, 56 U SPORTS standouts were selected out of 69 total picks (81.2 per cent). A year ago, U SPORTS players made up 78.9 per cent of draftees (56 out of 71).
The 2018 U SPORTS Valero East-West Bowl Week, showcasing the next generation of top prospects heading into to the 2019 CFL Draft begins Monday at Université Laval, with the game slated for Saturday, May 12 at 12:30 p.m. ET at TELUS-U.L. Stadium.
The game will be livestreamed here.