In the world of sports we have seen players come out of nowhere and make names for themselves, and oftentimes these players come from tough backgrounds and define immeasurable odds. In some cases, we often see talented players that are overlooked or they were never given a fair shot. BC Lions quarterback, Nathan Rourke is someone that everyone should get familiar with. Rourke has the potential to make the jump from the CFL to the NFL and earn a spot for himself on a training camp roster next NFL season.
Early beginnings for Rourke
Nathan Rourke was born in Victoria, British Columbia but he later grew up in Oakville, a small town in Ontario, Canada. For his high school career, he played three years at Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School which is in Oakville. He then transferred to Edgewood Academy which is located in Elmore, Alabama. During his last year in high school, he set the state record for touchdowns thrown as he threw for over 59 touchdowns and just three interceptions. With those numbers, Division 1 schools would surely be knocking at his door with scholarships.
However, Rourke found no such luck. Rourke didn’t receive a single offer from a D1 school, so he decided to take the junior college route. Most high school football players will take the junior college route for two reasons. Either to improve their grades or receive a scholarship from division one programs. Rourke did the same thing he did in high school, light up the competition but once again the division one offers didn’t come in right away.
Slowly, the offers began to trickle in. Rourke received offers from Eastern Kentucky, a division one FCS school and the University of Akron and the Ohio Bobcats from the Mid American Conference. Rourke chose the Ohio Bobcats and was productive in his three seasons with the Bobcats.
- 2017 Sophomore Yr: Completion Percentage: 63.8%, TD’s: 17, INT’s: 7, Passer Rating: 132.9, Passing Yards: 2,203
- 2018 Junior Yr: Completion Percentage: 60.0%, TD’s: 23, INT: 8, Passer Rating: 156.0, Passing Yards: 2,431
- 2019: Senior Year: Completion Percentage: 61.0%, TD’s: 20, INT’s: 5, Passer Rating: 150.3, Passing Yards: 2,820
Rourke also led the Ohio Bobcats to three consecutive bowl appearances and won all three of their bowl games. Rourke left his mark at Ohio and he looked at taking that next step in the pros. Rourke idolized Hall of Famer Brett Favre and Rourke had his eyes set on joining the NFL.
Lack of Interest from the NFL
Despite putting up solid numbers at Ohio, surprisingly Rourke went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Rourke was listed at 6’1 coming out of college, and in regards to height for quarterbacks he can be considered undersized. NFL Draft analyst, Lance Zierlein gave his scouting report on Rourke when he was coming out of college and he said this about the Canadian quarterback.
“He’s best as a zone-read, RPO-based prospect with some off-schedule ability, but lacks NFL pocket-passing talent. While he was able to make slick open-field cuts to add yards as a runner, he’s not sudden enough for that production to translate and he’s not athletic enough to switch positions.”
Rourke also had concerns in regards to his arm strength and not having the accuracy to make throws into tight windows. From the lack of interest from NFL teams, Rourke expressed his disappointment saying: “Sometimes you need those things to push you.” Rourke said in his interview with The Province newspaper located in Canada. “I’ve always had to fight for everything I’ve had, and there’s a lot more I want to achieve.” Rourke didn’t allow the lack of NFL interest to deter him, he instead chose to allow that rejection to fuel and motivate him. Unlike the NFL, the Canadian Football League did have interest in Rourke’s services.