Burt and Cross (pictured) highlight Hamilton’s 2021 Draft Class

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats made seven selections in the 2021 Canadian Football League Draft on Tuesday night, including tight end Jake Burt (first overall) and linebacker Nick Cross (ninth overall), who were selected in the first round.

The Tiger-Cats’ seven selections were as follows:

1 1 Jake Burt TE Boston College  
1 9 Nick Cross LB British Columbia via MTL
2 18 Deane Leonard DB Mississippi  
3 19 Mohamed Diallo DT Central Michigan  
4 36 Jarek Richards LB Saint Mary’s  
5 37 Felix Garand-Gauthier FB Laval  
6 54 Myles Manalo LB Western  

Burt, 24, spent last season on the practice roster of the National Football League’s New England Patriots after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent on April 26, 2020. The 6-4, 260-pound tight end played 36 games at Boston College over parts of five seasons (2015-19), registering 23 receptions for 307 yards and two touchdowns. He was also named to the 2019 John Mackey Award Watch List prior to his senior year with the Eagles and went on to post career highs in receptions (15) and receiving yards (212) that season. Burt, who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan but grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, was redshirted in 2016 due to injury.

Cross, 21, last played in 2019 with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The 6-0, 182-pound linebacker played eight games at UBC in 2019, recording 74 total tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, one interception returned for 17 yards, and two pass breakups. Prior to his time with UBC, the Regina, Saskatchewan native played for the University of Regina Rams in 2017, where in eight games he recorded 46 total tackles, three tackles for loss, three passes deflected, one forced fumble, one sack, one interception, and one kick return for 10 yards.

Leonard, 21, spent this past season with the University of Mississippi Rebels. The 6-2, 175-pound defensive back played eight games at Ole Miss in 2020, registering 14 total tackles, one fumble returned for 84 yards, and four pass breakups. Prior to his time in Mississippi, the Calgary, Alberta native spent three seasons (2017-19) with the University of Calgary Dinos, where in 23 career games he tallied 47 total tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, six interceptions returned for 176 yards and two touchdowns, 19 passes deflected and two forced fumbles. On special teams, Leonard also returned five kicks for 124 yards and 19 punts for 195 yards and a touchdown. He was twice named a first-team All-Canadian (2018, 2019), and earned Academic All-Canadian honours as well as won a Vanier Cup with Calgary in 2019. His father, Kenton, played seven seasons for the Calgary Stampeders (1991-97).

Diallo played two seasons (2019-20) with the Central Michigan University Chippewas. The 6-4, 305-pound defensive tackle played 11 career games at Central Michigan, recording 26 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble return. The Toronto, Ontario native was named to the 2020 All-Mid-American Conference first team at defensive line. Prior to his time at Central Michigan, Diallo also spent time with the Texas A&M University Aggies and played junior college football with the Arizona Western College Matadors.

Richards, 25, spent three seasons (2017-19) with the Saint Mary’s Huskies. The 5-11, 185-pound linebacker played 23 career games at Saint Mary’s, registering 106.5 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack, three forced fumbles, two fumble returns, and two pass breakups.

Garand-Gauthier, 25, spent two seasons (2018-19) with the Université Laval Rouge et Or. The 6-1, 225-pound fullback played 14 career games at Laval, recording 12 receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns, as well as 11 rush attempts for 23 yards and three touchdowns. The Mirabel, Quebec native was part of the Vanier Cup-winning Laval club in 2018 and was named a U SPORTS second team All-Canadian in 2019.

Manalo, 21, played two seasons (2017, 2019) with the Western University Mustangs. The 6-2, 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.

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