Canadian Football League teams call up names of local gridiron talent

Noah Hallett’s wait to hear his name in the 2020 CFL Draft lasted just under two hours.

Dylan Giffen of Strathroy, Ont. had to sit for just over two hours.

Marc Liegghio heard his called in just under three.

Western’s Jonathan Femi-Cole clocked in at just over three.

And for Bleska Kambamba the wait lasted until the very end.

All of them are now hoping to continue their football careers in the Canadian Football League as early as this season if teams can find a way to hit the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers selected Hallett in the second round, 18th overall.

The Londoner is a defensive back at McMaster and had an outstanding year in helping the Marauders to a Yates Cup Championship.

Hallett played his high school football at Mother Teresa Secondary School.

Giffen won’t have to travel too far from home to continue his football career.

The big offensive lineman, who starred for the Western Mustangs, will be trading his purple and white for the double blue of the Argonauts after Toronto made him the 28th overall pick in the 2020 CFL Draft on Thursday night.

Giffen had a storied five-year U Sports career that saw the Strathroy, Ont. native win way more often than he lost. He topped it off with a Vanier Cup title in 2017.

Giffen is listed at six-feet, eight-inches and 348 pounds and has been making life difficult on linemen, blitzing linebackers and safeties on the defensive side of the ball for years.

Despite growing up outside of London, Giffen played for the London Jr. Mustangs growing up and then transitioned to Western in 2015.

Liegghio leaves behind some legendary totals with the Mustangs after being selected by the Blue Bombers in the fourth round of the draft.

Liegghio is the OUA’s all-time leading scorer. His production in 2019 pushed him past even former Western kicker, Lirim Hajrullahu, who has recently signed with the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL.

The Woodbridge, Ont. native holds the U Sports record for career field goals with 92.

In the sixth round the Saskatchewan Roughriders took Mustang running back Jonathan Femi-Cole.

The first-year rusher from Vaughan, Ont. gained 174 yards on 40 carries and was a weapon near the goal line as he racked up five touchdowns.

Femi-Cole showed steady improvement throughout 2019 and was given more carries as the season wore on.

The final pick in the draft went to Winnipeg and they used it on a fourth Western player as they selected defensive back Bleska Kambamba. In the NFL that pick earns the name Mr. Irrelevant and it actually comes with a trip to Newport Beach, Cali., for a ceremony. Pick 73 in the CFL Draft doesn’t come with parting gifts but for Kambamba it will be a chance to show the Blue Bombers some of the ability he demonstrated with the Mustangs in 2019.

Kambamba had 31 tackles and two interceptions in eight games.

The Canadian Football League has asked for government support in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has created a three-phase proposal that has asked for $30-million now, more should there be an abbreviated season and $120-million should the 2020 year wind up being lost in its entirety.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated that the government is looking into the request.

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