UPDATED: Ben Heenan drafted first overall by Roughriders

University of Saskatchewan Huskies offensive lineman Ben Heenan was drafted first overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders Thursday, May 3 in the 2012 CFL Canadian Draft.

The Roughriders were so confident in their choice to take the 6-4, 310-pound Grand Coulee, Sask. product that team President and CEO Jim Hopson made the announcement at the Annual Dogs’ Breakfast in Saskatoon five hours prior to the official draft.

“It was overwhelming, and to be able to share this experience with 2000 Huskie supporters, teammates, coaches and my family really meant a lot,” Heenan said in a press release following the announcement.

“Although my name was the one being called out, everybody from Huskie Athletics helped me get to this point today and for that I am incredibly thankful and forever indebted to them.”

Ben Heenan on the sidelines in a game against the University of Calgary Dinos earlier this year.

The offensive guard is only the second Huskie ever to be drafted first overall in the CFL draft — safety Dylan Barker was picked first by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2008.

The CFL scouting bureau had projected Heenan to be picked first for a majority of the past year. It was only last month that Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford, who was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys on April 27 in the NFL draft, surpassed him in the scouts’ rankings.

In his four seasons with the Huskies, Heenan was awarded the Canada West rookie of the year in 2008, he was named a CIS All-Canadian in his last two seasons and he was one of three CIS players to play in this year’s American East-West Bowl, an all-star game featuring the top university players in North America.

The Roughriders currently have a veteran offensive line, which will take the pressure off of Heenan to come in and fill a starting position right away.

Heenan is excited to learn from these experienced players but says he plans on pushing them for a starting spot come June 1 when the Roughriders’ training camp begins.

Keenan MacDougall was the only other Huskies player drafted May 3. The Dogs’ defensive back, who sat out all of the 2011 season due to injury but put up an impressive performance at the CFL evaluation camp in March, was selected 15th overall by the Calgary Stampeders early in third round.

“The results at CFL Evaluation Camp caught some teams’ eyes,” MacDougall said in a press release. “I didn’t have much film on me after missing last season, so my results just sparked enough interest in me.”

At 6-2 and 208-pounds, MacDougall showed off his speed and jumping ability at the evaluation camp. He placed third in both the 40-yard dash and shuttle run, second in the vertical jump with a leap of 41.5 inches and first in the broad jump flying nearly ten feet eight inches.

In his three seasons with the Huskies, MacDougall put up 76.5 career tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. Huskies defensive back Bryce McCall and defensive lineman David Rybinski were also eligible for selection but went undrafted. However, both players could still be invited to work out and attend training camp with any of the eight CFL squads.

— Photo: Steve Hiscock/Liam Richards Photography