May 8, 2017

Latching on to Lynch

Receiver Julan Lynch at the 2017 CFL Combine (Photo by Johany Jutras)

Just as his introduction to football was an unexpected occurrence, history repeated itself for Julan Lynch on Sunday evening.

The former University of Saskatchewan receiver was scooped up by the Stamps with the 17th overall selection of the CFL Draft without any indication the Red and White had their sights set on him.

“I wasn’t really sure,” said the 22-year-old regarding where he thought he may end up. “I didn’t have a chance to speak to them before the draft. I didn’t have any idea of this happening at all. I was actually hanging out with a teammate of mine, Mitch Hillis. We decided to be around each other to see what unfolded and it was very surprising when I got the call. My heart just about jumped out of my chest when my phone rang and I was like, ‘OK, here we go.’ It was unreal.”

Despite the surprise, Lynch couldn’t be happier with how things worked out.

“It’s a great organization with a really great head coach,” remarked the eighth U of S player to ever be chosen by the Stampeders, joining current fullback Charlie Power. “My head coach with the Huskies, Scott Flory, has really great things to say about him and he has really high hopes for me there.”

His start in the sport also came as a surprise, as Lynch was a high school basketball player before his athleticism and long-term potential could not be ignored by an influential observer.

“My football coach in high school,” the six-foot-two, 225-lb. pass-catcher stated. “I was in a gym class and he just asked me to play football one day because we were playing intramural football. Basically, he saw something he liked and he said, ‘Hey, you’re going to play football for me next year.’ And that’s where it started.”

Moments after being picked in the second round, Lynch reflected on how he was forced to make up ground while competing at the U Sports level as a relative newcomer to football altogether.

“It took me a little while to get used to it, just understanding the game,” explained the former college star who tallied 85 catches for 1,133 and seven touchdowns throughout his four-year career. “When I came into university, I was still learning a lot about the game. It kind of prepared me in a sense. I’ve just been able to learn and grow in college and I also redshirted my first year which gave me an extra opportunity to get ready for what lay ahead for me.”

Lynch was the first of two receivers recently drafted by the Stamps as Richard Sendani of the Calgary Colts was also chosen. The two newcomers will both be looking to fill the void in the receiving corps left by fellow national Simon Charbonneau-Campeau, who elected to put his playing career on hold in favour of completing his degree at Universite de Sherbrooke.

“(The fans) can expect somebody who will work hard and will try to get noticed,” the newcomer offered. “I’m going to be learning as I go, but I’m going to do my best and work hard every play. I think I’ll be situated on special teams first. (Receivers coach Pete Costanza) told me we were going to touch base sometime this week and just get set up with the playbook. And he told me to get ready to play.”