Undrafted Cornish headed to CFL

Again, Kansas players shut out of NFL Draft

Monday, April 30, 2007

Jon Cornish is going back home.

The former Kansas University running back has elected to play in the Canadian Football League, rather than sign one of several free-agent offers presented to him after he wasn't selected in the NFL Draft on Sunday.

Cornish, a native of New Westminster, British Columbia, will play for the Calgary Stampeders and move back to Canada next month. The Stampeders grabbed Cornish in the second round of last year's CFL Draft, before the 6-foot, 210-pounder's senior season.

While Cornish was hoping to get drafted into the NFL this year, he made sure all his bases were covered just in case.

"He had a contract drawn up in Calgary before the (NFL) draft," Craig Domann, Cornish's agent, said Sunday night. "Not too many people have a Plan B in place, and he did."

Cornish is believed to be the only KU senior with professional plans laid out this weekend. Representatives for defensive end Rodney Allen said several teams had shown interest, but no deal was agreed to as of late Sunday night. Defensive tackle Wayne Wilder and wide receiver Brian Murph both said they still were waiting as well.

Kansas was shut out in the seven-round NFL Draft for the second straight year. Not since David McMillan was a fifth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2005 has a Jayhawk been selected.

Texas A&M was the only other Big 12 Conference schools with no player drafted this year.

Cornish, who had a school-record 1,457 rushing yards in 2006, hardly was the only productive college running back undrafted this weekend. Notre Dame's Darius Walker and Texas' Selvin Young went unpicked, also.

Cornish remained upbeat, however, about the opportunity he'll get in the CFL.

"There's obviously more financial opportunity in the NFL," Domann said, "but I think that with conversations he's had with CFL people and his knowledge with former KU players who have been undrafted, he sees it more attractive to go to Calgary and contribute and play, rather than go to the NFL where there's a big question mark."

6Sports video: Cornish headed back to Canada to play in CFL

After not being selected in this year's NFL Draft, former KU standout Jon Cornish will join the CFL team the Calgary Stampeders.

Cornish is well known in his native Canada, where he emerged as one of the nation's top football talents at St. Thomas More High. His career at Kansas was slow to get going, but he finished as the centerpiece of the Jayhawks' offense in 2006 despite a lingering toe injury.

He now will return to his homeland after finishing his psychology degree next month.

"I'm going to relax a little bit," Cornish said of his immediate schedule. "If I was going to the (NFL), I'd be going to camps. But for the CFL, I'm going to go up there in late May."

Cornish will join the team only a few weeks before the Stampeders' regular season opens June 15. The 20-game campaign wraps up in early November with a road game against the British Columbia Lions, who are stationed in Vancouver close to Cornish's immediate family.

"They're pretty excited," Cornish said.

The Stampeders have kept in close contact with Cornish for several months leading up to the NFL Draft. Representatives attended the East-West Shrine Game, the NFL Combine and KU's Pro Day in March to familiarize themselves with Cornish.

Good thing. Because though it may have been up in the air at the time, the Stampeders now know more about the guy who decided Sunday he may want to spend many years playing for them.

"He'll go to Calgary," Domann said, "and build a career."