Liam Dobson picked third overall in CFL Draft

Manotick Messenger Staff

Former St. Mark Catholic High School football player Liam Dobson was selected third overall by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in last week’s Canadian Football League Draft.

Dobson, who went to elementary school at St. Leonard in Manotick, spent the last three seasons playing for the University of Maine Black Bears. He was a surprise pick at number three, as he has already committed to playing NCAA football at Texas State University for the 2021 season. The Bombers said that Dobson was a pick for the future. Ted Goveia, the Bombers’ player personnel director, said after the draft that Dobson would be “worth the wait.”

“Growing up as a kid in Canada, you watch the CFL all the time and you dream about playing in the professional league,” Dobson said to reporters after being selected. “Just the fact that my dream is a reality, it feels really amazing.”

While at St. Mark, Dobson was a dominant defensive lineman who also saw time at fullback. He spent his Grade 12 year at Canada Prep in the St. Catharines area. That school played its football schedule against American schools in the U.S. Dobson chose the school because he wanted to pursue his dream of playing college football south of the border. Neville Gallimore, and Ottawa native who is now a defensive lineman with the Dallas Cowboys, went to Canada Prep before accepting a football offer to play college football for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Dobson spent two years at Canada Prep, going to school, playing football, and living in a hotel room in Welland with two other players during the school year. He had another good season, impressing scouts with his play. However, his season ended with a broken bone in his hand and two broken fingers.

The injury did not stop the Black Bears from offering Dobson a scholarship. He moved from defence to offence. He played tackle at Maine and after the 2019 season, he was voted the top lineman on his team. At 6’3”, 340 pounds, Dobson drew attention from pro scouts on both sides of the border with his combination of high skill level, a nasty edge on the field, and his freakish athletic ability. Dobson tested with a 29” vertical jump, something unheard of for a player his size. Despite being 340 pounds, Dobson can dunk a basketball.

A photo of the 340-pound Dobson taken during a University of Maine practice went viral in the fall.
University of Maine Athletics Photo

Goveia commented on the Bombers’ selection of Dobson after the pick, which was made live on a TSN broadcast.

“A mauler with great natural power and some freakish athletic traits is how I would best describe him,” Goveia said. “Liam played (offensive tackle) at a high level collegiately and will most likely move inside at the pro Level. He is wired the right way and will be a good fit in our offensive line room. He played in the cold at Maine—and doesn’t shy away from anyone.  With his transfer we will have to wait on him, but we feel strongly that it’ll be worth the wait.”

While his career in the CFL will be delayed a year while he plays his last season of college football at Texas State, Dobson is also drawing attention from NFL scouts. He will be eligible for the NFL Draft in April, 2022.

“I’m just wired to want to play at the highest level possible,” Dobson told the Winnipeg Sun after the draft. “I am gonna play my senior year here at Texas State and I’m pursuing the NFL but I am looking forward to coming back to Canada when that time comes and looking to win championships with that team.

“I told every team that my intention was to return to school and I’m gonna pursue playing at the highest level possible. Teams understood that, teams knew that and I’m just glad that I fit into the plan in Winnipeg, regardless of that being a year from now or currently. I’m just glad they took a chance and are willing to wait on what I’m able to do and what I can bring up there.”

Team White’s Liam Dobson (St. Mark) attempts to tackle Team Red’s Julien Moore (St. Pat’s) during the Athletes in Action High School All-Star football game at Minto Field May 1, 2014. Dobson had a impressive game, scoring several QB pressures and at least one sack. Team White won the game 22-0. Messenger file photo by Mike Carroccetto

Blue Bombers GM Kyle Walters compares Dobson to legendary Blue Bombers lineman Chris Walby. Dobson, like Walby, is a huge man who plays with a nasty edge and is very mobile for his size.

“We like physical, we like tough, we like guys that are gonna be brawlers,” Walters told the Winnipeg Sun. “And that’s Liam Dobson. He’s a big, tough, physical kid and he’s our kind of offensive lineman. We had a pretty good feeling going into the draft, with where we were picking, that the futures were going to come into play and there was going to be a focus on guys who were going to go back to school. We weren’t quite comfortable calling any of the names that were gonna be in training camp so the decision was to go with a futures pick and Liam just really fits what we’re trying to do on the offensive line.”

The Texas State Bobcats open their season Sat. Sept. 4 at their home stadium ibn San Marcos, TX against the Baylor Bears.