VANCOUVER — The BC Lions Football Club has signed all four prospects selected in last month’s CFL Global Draft: P/K Jake Ford, DL Boqiao Li, K/P Takeru Yamasaki and DL Niklas Gustav.
Ford (taken first overall), a native of Shepparton, Australia moved to the United States in 2016 and eventually found his way to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. Along with leading the NCAA in punting average in 2018, Ford helped the program to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.
Prior to his time in the States, Ford was a member of ProKick Australia, a developmental program that has sent 150 Aussie kickers to NCAA schools and five players to NFL rosters including San Francisco 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky.
Li (taken 18th overall), whose first name is pronounced BO-CHOW, was born and raised in Beijing. Li began playing organized football at age 15 and was the first Chinese player selected to take part in the NFL International Pathway program.
Li moved to the United States to attend the University of Charleston and eventually caught on with the Arena Football League’s Georgia Doom. Li had previously played in the China Arena Football League and was teammates with former BC Lion Paul Cheng, whom he considers his football mentor.
Yamasaki (taken 19th overall) began his football journey at the University of Osaka and also played running back and wide receiver before discovering his true calling in the kicking game.
Nicknamed the “Japanese Kicking Monster” Yamasaki joined the professional X League in 2017 and was a member of the Obic Seagulls’ Japan X Bowl championship in 2020.
Yamasaki also spent part of 2019 in the US developmental Spring League where he made all eight of his field goal attempts in game action, including his longest from 57 yards.
He recently lived up to his nickname by hitting a 73-yarder during a practice session, a moment that appeared on BarDown.
Gustav (taken 36th overall) was born in Hamburg, Germany and has enjoyed a successful career at Morningside College in Iowa.
The program’s all-time leader with 23.5 career sacks, Gustav is a three-time all-league selection in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and was also named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2020.
Gustav also led the GPAC with 15.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks in his senior season.
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