Receivers Coach Devan Sheahan instructing some of his guys
I made it to Guelph for the afternoon practice Saturday. The fact that there is an afternoon practice is a change from previous years. Coach Sheahan has moved away from the 4-hour power practice and back to the more traditional 2-a-days. Most days the practices are at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.. The practices themselves don’t look a lot different from the style that we’ve seen since Stu took over in 2010. They are fast paced, with something happening on almost every part of the field.
♦ I noticed a lot of time was spent on deep passes. That doesn’t come as a surprise based on what Coach Sheahan has said he wanted to do and his history at Calgary. The thing that jumped out at me was the amount of talent that the Gryphons have at the receiver positions. After watching them yesterday I have to think we have the most talented group of receivers in the OUA.
In his 5th year, Kade Belyk is the veteran over the group. I think of him as Guelph’s Hunter Renfrow – i.e. the kind of guy who, if you met him on the street, you’d never guess was a football player, but put him on the field and he is just a Natural. Renfrow, of course, is the former walk-on receiver who turned into a star at Clemson, and looks to be a Year 1 starter with the NFL Raiders.
Zeph Fraser, Kian Schaffer-Baker, AJ Chase (not in pads) and Mike O’Shea Jr are all back. Jordan Terrio who missed the 2018 season is healthy and looks great. OUA All Rookie performer Kiondre Smith isn’t just an All Star returner, he looks like he has All Star ability as a receiver.
Transferee Abdraman Abdel-Rahim [Calgary Dinos/Vanier Cheetahs] is too good not to see some playing time immediately. Plus, he has the advantage of knowing Coach Sheahan’s offense having already played for him at UofC. Another *surprise player* is NCAA tranfer Clark Barnes. A Brampton native Barnes played at Clarkson/Football North before enrolling at the University of Maine back in January. He was also a star with Matt Nesbitt’s OFC JV champion Junior Gryphons team a few years back.
From the Black Bears football website …
Clark Barnes | WR | 6-2 | 200 | Brampton, Ontario/Clarkson Secondary
- Ranked as the No. 5 Canadian player of the 2019 class … a Top Prospect Canada Most Valuable Player … Named to Team Ontario … Guided Clarkson Secondary to the No. 1 team ranking in Canada … team played a full, American schedule and earned victories over State Champion Cathedral Prep and Cheshire Academy.
- Other offers: Liberty, Stony Brook
- “Clark is a long and powerful outside receiver, with strong route running ability and elite ball skills. He’ll be a valuable member of ‘Top Flight’ and will get his first opportunity this spring to compete with our football team.” – Coach Charlton
♦ You can’t look at the receiver group without noticing their size. Of two dozen receivers only AJ Chase and speedster Jayden Kelly are under 6 feet. [5’9″ Harry Robinson is listed as a receiver but was working with the running backs.] Schaffer-Baker, Abdel-Rahim, Jack Tocher, Mackenzie Ginther, Noah Holder, Evan Horne, Matt MacGillivray, W-P Dimbongi and Nicholas Mirijello are all 6’3″ or taller. Five of those 7 guys are new to the team this year. That tells me pretty clearly what Coach Sheahan is looking for with his Pro-style passing offense. And, it is very reminiscent of the receiving corps he recruited and coached at Queen’s.
♦ I was a little off the mark declaring that the QB room was near full yesterday. I realized before my previous post that recruit Mason McGriskin was not on the roster but forgot to go back and edit. I saw Andrew Horscroft throwing the ball with receivers prior to the start of practice but he was not in pads [injured non-throwing shoulder]. Recruit Colin Dacyshyn is listed as a QB on the roster but wasn’t in a red jersey. His HS highlights showed he was an athlete and playmaker who could probably play other positions. I meant to ask where he was at but forgot. There were 4 healthy quarterbacks throwing the passes in drills yesterday – Theo Landers, Brayden Lassenba, Dante Djan and Kaidan Gilbert.
♦ I didn’t spend as much time watching the O-Line and D-Line as in previous years, partly because we have a lot of talent at those positions. A few things I did notice:
1) there were only 13 OLs, the fewest I remember in any recent season. We have a solid group of veterans [Starczala, Petrie, Lapointe, Woodmansey] but some newbies are going to have to step up in order to have the depth that is necessary. Matt Fumawera looks like one of those guys. Possibly Spencer Masterson as well.
2) DTs Justin Jelacic and Afram Jolak were not in pads. They are the only thing between Greg Corfield and Jeremy Kapalanski, and putting freshmen in the defensive tackle rotation. Of course, Alain Cimankinda is flexible enough to help on the inside as well.
3) Highly touted DE recruit Yusuf Al-Khaldi was hard to pick out from the group, in a good way – i.e. he doesn’t look like a skinny high school kid. It is one thing for people to talk about him as a future All Canadian, it’s another thing to be physically ready to play at that level. He’s further along that path than I expected.
DBs Coach Richard KariKari