The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League have announced that they have signed their first round 2021 CFL Global Draft selection, linebacker Les Maruo.
The 25 year old Maruo, 6’0″, 230 pounds, was born in Yokkaichi, Japan but grew up in Wichita, Kansas after his family moved to the United States when he was nine years old. He played his college ball at the University of Texas-San Antonio, graduating in 2018 with a degree in exercise science.
He started all 12 games for the Roadrunners in his senior season, posting 86 tackles (including 49 solos), 4.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one pass knockdown. After finishing at UTSA, Maruo spent two years playing in Japan’s X League with the Asahi Challengers. He tested well at the CFL’s Global Combine, finishing with 28 reps in the bench press and running a 4.77 40.
Maruo had been working out at UTSA in preparation for the draft, but when he makes his way to Winnipeg, the real work begins. With the journey that he’s been on to make it to this point, he’s not ready to let his foot off the gas now.
“I’m coming in, not just trying to be one of the Global Players on the roster, but I’m trying to compete against the best of the best. I’m not playing for money, I’m playing for the love of the game,” Maruo said. “…I’ve always been an undersized linebacker, but my heart is bigger than a lot of players. You can’t measure heart but I’d say I have the biggest heart of anyone in the game of football.”