2013 Hec Crighton winner Jordan Heather is now playing in France.There are plenty of incredibly talented Canadians already in the CFL, with many more to follow in May's draft, but the player judged to be Canadian university football's top talent last year and one of the best Canadian university athletes in any sport isn't among them. That would be former Bishop's Gaiters quarterback Jordan Heather, last year's Hec Crighton winner as the top CIS football player and one of four nominees for the Doug Mitchell Trophy as the top male CIS athlete at Monday's BLG Awards. Like many top CIS football players, Heather has moved on to the professional ranks. In his case, though, largely thanks to the position he plays, he's doing so in France:
One of four nominees up for the Doug Mitchell Trophy to be awarded to the CIS male athlete of the year, Heather endured a nine-hour flight back to Canada from France, where he's playing professional football for the St. Etienne Giants.
"I had to talk to our team president to obviously come back," said Heather, who missed a game on Sunday so he could be in Calgary. "They were very much on board with me coming over. They thought it was too big of an opportunity to miss."
Heather, from Oromocto, N.B., recently completed his fifth and final season as quarterback for the Bishop's University Gaiters. He set a new Canadian university record by throwing for 3,132 yards in eight league games en route to claiming the Hec Crighton Trophy as CIS player of the year.
"For me, winning the Hec Crighton was a huge honour," said Heather during a Sunday afternoon reception for all eight male and female award nominees. "I never thought at all of ever being nominated in the class of athletes that we have here. We have people here that could potentially be in the Olympics one day. It's a surreal moment and it's the height of my athletic career so far."
It is somewhat unfortunate that Heather, one of the best CIS quarterbacks ever by the numbers, won't be heading to Canadian professional football. It's probably logical for him, though; while he posted a CIS single-season record of 3,132 passing yards in eight regular-season games last year, and while it would be very interesting to see what he could do in the CFL ranks, the league's decision to not consider quarterbacks' nationalities means that few Canadians are going to get a real shot at the position. Plenty have tried and found some limited success, from Danny Brannagan to Brad Sinopoli to Marc Mueller to Kyle Quinlan, but none have been able to stick around for the long term, and the amount of high-profile, high-potential former NCAA and NFL quarterbacks out there means many teams aren't even willing to look at Canadians at the moment. Thus, heading overseas is probably a better move for Heather at this point in time.Read More »from Hec Crighton winner Jordan Heather opted to go to France instead of the CFL, which might be a smart move for Canadian quarterbacks