The money recently raised by Friends of Gryphon Football was earmarked for a clear purpose – to support Gryphon recruiting and scholarships. Our coaches are already putting it to good use.
The premier national event for scouting and recruiting elite future prospects is the annual Football Canada Cup. Many of this province’s best “under 18″players, on two Ontario teams (East & West) join six other provincial teams in this annual tournament. This year it was in Lethbridge Alberta.
Many universities are represented on the coaching staffs of the various provincial teams. Guelph’s Bill Brown worked with Team Ontario West while new Offensive Coordinator Todd Galloway was the OC of Team Nova Scotia. However, while coaches on the provincial teams can build strong connections with their team players, they are not allowed to recruit. They also can’t attend the practices of opposing teams. For that reason it is important to have ‘unattached’ coaches on hand to evaluate talent and build relationships with top prospects.
Guelph was able to do that in spades. Coaches Lang, MacNeill and MacDonald travelled to Alberta with Team Ontario. Our coaches were able to attend the practices of Team Alberta and both Ontario teams, even speak to the teams en masse, before another CIS recruiter even arrived in Lethbridge. On the weekend in the midst of the tournament scouts/recruiters Mark Antonelli, John Casasanta and Steve O’Brien arrived to help out. These volunteers do a lot of the evaluating of talent and maintaining of contact with prospects, particularly during the season when our coaches are focused on preparing for games.
So while our competitors were lucky if they even had two recruiters to attend the practices and games (several OUA teams weren’t even represented) Guelph had a force that could be in two or three places at once. It was also advantageous for us that several CIS head coaches, who would certainly normally be there, were in Austria with Team Canada.
Will this investment of fund raising cash pay off? I am sure it will. In fact, from what I’ve heard three of these elite out-of-province players have already scheduled recruiting visits to Guelph for this summer. I’d be surprised if there aren’t 3 or 4 such recruits in our 2012 recruiting class. Plus, I would look for Guelph to get a larger share of Ontario’s elite talent represented on these teams.
I don’t think that it’s just a coincidence that Western is credited with having the best 2011 recruiting class in the CIS and they have a dozen or so recruits who have played in the Football Canada Cup representing at least three provinces. Not all top prospects play in the FCC but it’s a great place to start with in recruiting. Incoming LBs Connor Pritty and John Rush, plus DB Dave Rossetti played in the event last year. All Cdn DB James Savoie is another former Team Ontario player.