Tyrell Francisco, a tight end for the Weber State University Football Team, achieved a boyhood dream when he was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League on May 8, 2011. The Tiger-Cats hail from Hamilton, Ontario.
“I was excited,” Francisco said. “Like every Canadian kid, when you start playing football, that (getting drafted into the CFL) is the first thing you look at, then it’s the NFL. So it’s really cool.”
Francisco, who is a native of Kelowna, British Columbia, was drafted in the fifth round with the 36th pick in the draft. He first heard the news that he’d been drafted when his brother called him.
“Actually, the first person who called me was my brother,” Francisco said. “He was the one who called me. Then I got a call from the head coach. I was pretty excited.”
As a native of British Columbia, Francisco grew up as a fan of the BC Lions in the CFL, but said that he thinks the most important thing in his career is how he will best fit in with a team. He said he feels that Hamilton is going to be a good fit for him.
“I’m from BC,” Francisco said, “so I’ve always been a BC Lions fan, but, to be honest with you, I didn’t really think about it. At this point in my career, it was more about where I fit in best, and Hamilton is that team.”
WSU has a long connection with Canadian football players. Head Coach Ron McBride said that his ties to Canada helped attract Francisco to Ogden. He also said that Francisco is a great athlete who brought a new dimension to WSU’s team.
“We got him out of Canada,” McBride said. “He is a very athletic kid. He actually played for a guy who played for me in high school, and he helped me get him (Tyrell) here. He’s just a good athlete.”
Last season, Francisco missed the entire season due to a tear in his Achilles tendon. He will finish his career at WSU this season before he joins Hamilton. In his junior year, he racked up 12 catches for 131 yards, and scored three times for the Wildcats. He will join Hamilton after the completion of his senior year at WSU. He said that he has talked to both the head coach and offensive coordinator, and thinks that he will fit in nicely with Hamilton.
“I haven’t really gotten into details with the offensive coordinator or the head coach. I’ve talked to both of them. They have some ideas; I’ve seen some changes in the game. They’re bringing more tight ends in. I definitely think I’ll be all right. I’ll fit in just fine.”
McBride said that, as a coach, it’s always fun to see players excel and get drafted.
“You like to see them have a chance to have a future in the game,” McBride said, “and it’s great for them to be good enough to do that.”
Francisco is the 29th Wildcat to be drafted into the CFL. He said that, following the completion of his final season with WSU, he will join Hamilton.
“I’m playing for Weber State this season,” Francisco said. “After that, I’ll probably get into negotiations about actually signing for the team and all that.”