August 16, 2021 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

In the past two years, three former King’s student-athletes have been drafted by Canadian Football League (CFL) teams.

As part of the 2020 CFL draft, Dylan Giffen BA ’20 (Criminology and Disability Studies), was selected in the third Round, 28th overall by the Toronto Argonauts. Marc Liegghio, BA ’20 (Criminology, Sociology, and Disability Studies), was selected in the fifth Round, 39th overall, by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. A year later, Myles Manalo, a former History and Social Justice & Peace Studies student, was selected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the final pick in the 2021 draft.

“Our partnership with the Western Mustangs allows student-athletes to achieve their goals and fulfil their aspirations for competition at the professional level. They are embodiment of our Be and Become motto and we could not be more proud to see them in the CFL,” says Joe Henry, Dean of Students.

Liegghio, from Woodbridge, Ontario, made his CFL debut on August 5, 2021 during the Blue Bombers’ 19-6 win over the Hamilton Tiger Cats.  As a kicker, Liegghio is being used by Winnipeg to punt for field position. During the game against Hamilton, he punted for 414 yards and had three kickoffs for a total of 175 yards (average of 58.3 yards).

After the game, Blue Bombers Head Coach Mike O’Shea complimented Liegghio’s punting, saying he has a “very live leg” and suggesting his directional punting is fast improving, according to 3downnation’s website.

Liegghio, as a kicker for the Mustangs, set career highs in field goal completion rate (92% or 22 for 24) and average punting yards (47.5) in 2019, while punting for 1757 yards. On April 29, 2020, he was awarded a Purple Blanket as a part of the Western Mustangs Season of Celebration.

Manalo was on the opposite side of the field to Liegghio with the Tiger Cats. He is eagerly awaiting his CFL debut. Manalo played two seasons with the Western University Mustangs. The six-foot-two, 230-pound linebacker played 21 career games at Western, registering 70 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, one fumble return, one interception, and two pass breakups. The Burlington, Ontario native won a Vanier Cup with Western in 2017.

The Toronto Argonauts website reported that the team’s coaching staff was impressed with Giffen’s performance during the Argo’s training camp. Describing him as a “mountain of a man at 6’8”, 315 pounds”, the website reports Giffen has actually lost 40 pounds since he was in action with the Mustangs which he says has been an advantage.

“With these long, hot practices in July…I’m a healthier person right now and it feels way better. I couldn’t imagine still being that heavy,” Giffen stated.

Offensive Lineman Giffen played a leading role on the Western Mustang’s offense in 2019. Giffen, like Liegghio, was named to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) All-Stars in November 2019. Giffen grew up on Strathroy, Ontario and played for the London Jr. Mustangs football club before coming to Western in 2015, enroute to a career that saw him win the Vanier Cup with the Mustangs in 2017.