BC Lions take Aussie punter Jake Ford 1st overall in Global Draft

TORONTO — The BC Lions have selected punter Jake Ford with the first overall pick in the 2021 CFL Global Draft.

The six-foot-two, 225-pounder from Shepparton, Australia, played at Ouachita Baptist University, a Div. II NCAA program in Arkansas, after starting his NCAA career with the Oregon Ducks in 2015.

As a junior in 2018, Ford led the nation in net punting during the regular season.

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Now 28, Ford started out as an Aussie rules football player, but injury took him out of that game. He learned the American game at an Australian football academy that aims to land its members with U.S.-based teams. From Oregon he went to Saint Augustine University in North Carolina and would go on to suit up in all 10 of their games while handling punt, kickoff and holding duties.

He then transferred to Ouachita, where he helped the program go undefeated in back-to-back regular seasons and capture the 2019 Great American Conference (GAC) championship. He’s also taken part in The Spring League.

“I’m really excited to get back to the west coast,” Ford said from his home in Arkansas in a BC Lions’ press release.

“I visited Vancouver in 2016 and just fell in love with it. Talking with coach Campbell and coach (special teams coordinator Don) Yanowsky  and hearing what they have planned for me has me even more thrilled for the opportunity to wear Lions orange.”

Ford was most recently a member of Alphas in the US developmental Spring League in 2020. He lists San Francisco 49ers punter and fellow Aussie Mitch Wishnowsky as a player he models himself after for versatility in the kicking game.

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