The Calgary Stampeders have a long history of drafting and developing top Canadian offensive lineman, and Jacob Butler hopes to be the next success story.
The Sardis secondary grad was picked 34th overall in the Canadian Football League National Draft, which was held May 3. The offensive lineman called it “truly a dream come true.”
“It’s something I’m still having trouble believing, but I’m super excited to get this opportunity and I’m super excited to get started and get to work,” he said.
The Chilliwack product is graduating from Queen’s University where he studied engineering, and spent four seasons with the Golden Gaels football program. He said he was with several of his teammates on draft night, watching the TSN stream, when he saw his name.
“Everyone just kind of freaked out. The room exploded and it was amazing to be there surrounded by friends and people who have cared about me,” Butler said. “After that I got a call from (Calgary) head coach Dave Dickenson. He said he was excited to pick me and we have a lot of work ahead of us. At that moment it all became very real.”
Imagine that moment, talking to a CFL Hall of Famer, a legendary quarterback who won three Grey Cups as a player and two more as Calgary’s coach.
“It was a very special moment,” Butler agreed.
Prior to the CFL draft, Butler traveled to Toronto for the league’s scouting combine. In late March he rubbed shoulders with 52 other top prospects and had the chance to sit face to face with CFL decision makers.
“It was a super amazing experience and one of the coolest thing I’ve been a part of,” he said. “The best part was being able to meet all these great players from across the country. Just being around so much talent was cool, and then to meet all of these CFL guys. All these coaches and guys you see winning Grey Cups on TV, to talk to them and for them to ask me questions and be interested in me, it was truly remarkable.”
In the lead up to the draft, Butler continued training with Golden Gaels’ teammate Josh Mosley, and he was thrilled when his friend was signed as a free agent by the Stampeders post-draft.
“One of the best parts is going to Calgary with him, and hopefully we end up playing next to each other,” Butler said.
On Monday morning (May 9), Butler was in Chilliwack, getting ready to hop on a plane to Alberta. The Stampeders are holding a three-day rookie camp and veterans roll in for main camp starting May 14.
“The biggest difference from university to CFL is going to be the professionalism,” Butler said when asked what he’s expecting. “This is how these guys make money for their families, and they take it a little more seriously. That’s something I’m excited about because I’ve always taken football seriously and I’m excited to be around a group of young men who share that passion.
“For the first time in my life I’m going to be living football.”