A college football program is often taking a chance when they recruit a player with limited football experience. That is not the case with defensive end Reza Shayani of Guelph’s J.F. Ross Secondary School according to his coach. Shayani has only played 3 seasons of football but he didn’t waste any time becoming a star on the gridiron.
“Right from the get-go, he was an impact player. A big body and he’s athletic, that’s a combination that’s hard to find so right away he was an impact guy. He’s also an intelligent kid and he’s not afraid to take advice so he improved quickly and he’s great to work with. In three years, he’s improved a lot,” according to Ross coach Jeff Yanchus. Yanchus, a captain of Guelph’s Vanier Cup championship team, knows something about what it takes to succeed in the CIS.
The 6’2″ 225-pound DE Shayani started for the Royals in his first season. In year two he was a District 10 Defensive All Star. This past season he repeated as a D-10 All Star and won the league’s Nick FitzGibbon Award as the Most Outstanding Player in the region. Shayani’s J.F. Ross team won the D-10 Championship and a CWOSSA semi-final to advance to the CWOSSA Championship. I watched the CWOSSA final, a tight battle between Ross and Brantford Assumption. In one display of his speed and athleticism, Shayani ran down a receiver on a bubble screen, making a tackle at the sideline. Perhaps not realizing how athletic Shayani was, the Assumption coach was incensed with his O-Line. Shayani knows something about O-Line play too. He was a part of Ross’s short yardage package and saw increasing play as a OL in the playoffs. Shayani was on every special teams unit and “he was probably our best special teams player” according to Yanchus. Though Shayani never tried out for Team Ontario, the GHR All Star team or played any OVFL football, Guelph had to compete with several top tier OUA teams to win the recruiting battle for Shayani’s commitment.