Clan duo chosen in pro football draft

May 04, 2006, volume 36, no. 1
By Scott McLean

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Two members of SFU's Clan football team were selected in the opening two rounds of the 2006 Canadian Football League college entry draft in April.

The B.C. Lions selected offensive lineman Dean Valli, who went sixth overall in the first round, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders chose Clan kicker and punter Luca Congi in the second round -12th overall.

“I was sleeping and my agent called and told me about it,” says Valli, whose draft standing jumped after a stellar performance as one of only 10 offensive linemen invited to the CFL's annual evaluation camp in March.

“I thought I was going to wind up in Saskatchewan after I was called by (head coach and assistant general manager) Danny Barrett, so this was a bit of a surprise to go to B.C. this early. Obviously I am thrilled and excited, and now it's time to go to work.”

Valli, a fourth-year arts student, started training with the Lions offensive line in April to gear up for the May 17 opening of the Lions training camp.

Congi finished the season as the nation's top-ranked punter, averaging an impressive 40.5 yards per punt. He also completed 75 per cent (15-for-20) of his field goal attempts to score 36 per cent of the Clan's points.
“I didn't know how early I would go. Usually kickers go much later in the draft, so to go that early just felt amazing,” says Congi, a fourth-year business administration major.

“The first thing I did was call my parents, my family, my friends and just let them know what was going on. They all were watching the live draft online, so they knew what was going on and we were all so excited.”

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