Men’s Football News

Giovanni Manu has made history as the first UBC Thunderbird ever selected in the NFL Draft, taken in the fourth round by the Detroit Lions.

The defending NFC North champions traded up to grab the 6-foot-7, 352 pound left tackle, sending their third round pick in 2025 to the New York Jets to take Manu with the 126th overall selection.

A two-time All-Canadian, Manu started every game for the Thunderbirds since his rookie season in 2019, literally a huge component of 2023’s Canada West leading offence and a critical component in UBC’s Hardy Cup and Mitchell Bowl titles.

The Pitt Meadows Secondary graduate not only became the first T-Bird to be selected in the NFL Draft, but just the 15th U SPORTS player to ever hear their name called and the first to be selected directly from a Canadian University since 2016. He is also the highest selected U SPORTS player since Western DL Vaughn Martin was taken 113th overall by the Chargers in 2009.

Manu will now have the opportunity to become the fourth UBC Thunderbird to appear in an NFL game joining Bill Crawford (OL – New York Giants), Brant Bengen (WR – Seattle), and current Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Dakoda Shepley.

Touted as one of this year’s biggest sleeper picks, Manu burst onto the international scene following an outstanding Pro Day where he ran a 5.03 40 yard dash which would have tied for tenth fastest among offensive lineman at the NFL combine while being the second heaviest at the position.

The third Canadian taken in this year’s NFL Draft, Manu has kicked off what’s expected to be an historic week for the UBC program. The 2024 CFL Draft takes place on Tuesday, April 30 with the potential for a record number of Thunderbirds to be selected.