Award-winning CIS LB Rush signs with Bombers

Guelph linebacker and 2015 Presidents' Trophy winner John Rush has signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, per CFL sources. (Jacques Boissinot/CP)

The winner of the 2015 CIS Presidents’ Trophy has signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, per CFL sources.

Linebacker John Rush, who just finished his fifth year with the Guelph Gryphons, was named the nation’s top stand-up defensive player on Nov. 26. He led the country in 2015 with 60 tackles while chipping in 8.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two interceptions, two pass break-ups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

The three-year defensive captain also played a vital role in leading the Gryphons to a 23–17 Yates Cup victory over Western. Rush recorded 12 tackles and three sacks to earn the Dalt White Trophy as game MVP.

Rush was added to Winnipeg’s negotiation list on Nov. 15, which gave the Bombers exclusive negotiating rights with the Canadian linebacker.

The Niagara Falls, Ont., native went unselected in the 2014 CFL Draft largely because he wasn’t back to 100 percent after suffering a freak ACL injury in practice halfway through his 2013 season. That made Rush a free agent and he turned a spectacular final season at Guelph into a pro contract.

If Rush had been eligible for the 2015 CFL Draft he would certainly have been picked and viewed as one of the top linebackers available. As one CFL personnel man put it, “Rush is like a free draft pick.”