CANYON – Former West Texas A&M linebacker Chris Olson signed a two year with an option for a third year contact with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. He is the second Buff from the 2013 senior class to sign a contract professionally as Kyle Voss inked in February with the Calgary Stampeders.
Olson, a Flower Mound, Texas, native, finished his career at WT playing in 47 games with 21 starts. He tallied 27 solo tackles and 82 total stops for his career, along with 6.5 tackles for loss for 39 yards and 3.5 sacks for 27 yards. Olson graduated from WT in December and then began training in Dallas in January. He earned academic all-conference honors as a senior as he helped lead the Buffs to back-to-back NCAA playoff appearances, including the national semifinals in 2012.
“I am really excited for the opportunity to continue to play football,” Olson said. “I thought I would train as hard as I could and see if I could raise some eyebrows of CFL or NFL teams.”
Olson put a highlight video together and signed with Mark Gundry of Mischief Sports who also is the agent for Olson’s teammate Kyle Voss. Gundry said to Olson that he’d make a much better defensive end in the CFL rather than a linebacker because of the fast, air-raid offenses teams run.
“I had five workouts with teams before BC’s workout,” Olson said. “Most of the teams had shown some interest, but not committed on giving me a contract. I went to the BC Lions workout and ended up running my two fastest 40’s of my life (4.50 and 4.51). This raised the attention of some of the coaches.”
Following the workout, Olson was asked to stay and work with the offensive lineman and some more one-on-ones. He met the general manager and head coach and two days later Olson was called and offered a contract.
“It still seems surreal that I will get to play professional football,” Olson said. “It also is a funny coincidence that I am playing for the BC Lions because my fiancé Kathryn Stevenson (a former WT rodeo student-athlete) is from Vancouver. We are so excited to make the move up there. I am so thankful for everyone who has supported me along the way.”
The Lions are coming off of an 11-7 record during the regular season in 2013 and earned a berth in the playoffs falling in the semifinals to Saskatchewan 29-25. BC opens the 2014 regular season June 28 at 3 p.m. PT against Edmonton.
“My parents, friends and coaches have always been motivating and supporting through my football career,” Olson added. “I cannot wait for the draft this weekend to see where everyone from WT ends up.”
The 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday at 7 p.m. CT with the first round, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday at 6 p.m. CT and rounds 4-7 will be Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. CT. The draft will be televised on ESPN.
WT has a number of players from the 2013 senior class who have a chance in the draft, including quarterback Dustin Vaughan, defensive end Ethan Westbrooks, linebacker Taylor McCuller, wide receiver Torrence Allen and wide receiver/return specialist Nathan Slaughter.
Last season former Buffs Khiry Robinson and Manase Foketi inked free agent contracts following the draft.