STORRS, Conn. (April 20, 2006) -- Current University of Connecticut defensive end Jason Ward (St. Hippolyte, Que.) and former UConn defensive end Shawn Mayne (Montreal, Que.) were both selected today in the annual Canadian Football League College Draft.
Mayne was chosen with the first pick in the third round (18th overall) by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ward was taken with the sixth pick of the sixth round (48th overall) by the British Columbia Lions.
CFL franchises retain the draft rights on players indefinitely so Mayne is free to pursue potential opportunities in the NFL this summer and Ward can complete his eligibility at UConn without pressure from the league. When/if either chooses to play in their native Canada, they would do so with Hamilton and BC, respectively.
Mayne played in 34 games for UConn from 2003-05, starting each of his final 23 contests. He made 86 career tackles, with 20.5 tackles for a loss including 9.5 sacks. He also broke up five passes. After the season he received the Football Alumni Award for exhibiting leadership and dedication to be viewed as the ultimate team player.
Ward, a senior this upcoming season, has played in 25 games over his three years at UConn with six starts, all during the 2004 season. He has made 36 career tackles, 4.5 of them for a loss including one sack, coming on Oct. 1, 2005 at Army.
Huskies have had a great measure of success playing in Canada, most notably former CFL All-Star Brian Herosian who played at UConn from 1970-72. Currently, former Husky wide receiver O'Neil Wilson (2001-03) is in his third year with the Montreal Alouettes and corner back Jordan Younger (1997-99) is ready to start his third season with the Toronto Argonauts. Younger started for the Argos in their 2004 Grey Cup Championship win over BC and was their fifth-leading tackler last summer. The CFL season kicks off on June 16 and culminates on Nov. 19 in Winnipeg at the 94th Grey Cup Championship.