As they have done since 2009, the University of Guelph football program had a formal introduction of their 2014 recruiting class yesterday. For the fifth straight year that has included a Recruit Family Luncheon at the Cutten Club. That luncheon took place yesterday and for the third time I was glad to be in attendance. There was an excellent turnout with 22 of 27 recruits able to make it.
Twenty four of the 27 names had already been posted on this blog’s Recruiting 2014 page. The new additions are National Junior Team player Royce Metchie of Brampton, and a pair of Burlington/Oakville teammates, Chandler Bradshaw and Ben Leavitt. From what I understand Bradshaw and Leavitt have teamed up together with the Burlington Stampeders and throughout their high school careers at Oakville’s T.A. Blakelock. The Guelph connections with the Stampeders no doubt give them some insight into the type of players they are getting. Their high school head coach is former Guelph Offensive Coordinator Jason Kana [2006-2007] who is currently an assistant at McMaster.
There was a third Oakville recruit there yesterday – Justin Martin of White Oaks Secondary. [Martin’s name has been on my recruit list for a while but I haven’t previously written about him.] He is a little bit of a lower profile recruit, not because he isn’t an outstanding athlete but rather because he is. Martin played minor football with the BMFA but never played OVFL/OFC football, or tried out for Team Ontario, because throughout his high school years he was playing Junior B lacrosse in the summer months. But Martin does have football in his genes – both his father and grandfather played in the CFL.
As I said the other “new” name was Royce Metchie. While news of his commitment to Guelph may have been long-awaited, Metchie is far from an unknown. Quite the opposite. Metchie is blue chip prospect sought after by almost every program in the CIS. In addition to playing for Brampton’s St. Edmund Campion, he played for Team Ontario in 2013. His play at the Football Canada Cup tournament earned him All Star recognition and a place on the Football Canada’s U-18 Junior Development team. They beat Team USA in Texas back in February and Metchie earned a place on Canada’s National Junior Team that will play in the IFAF World Championships.
If you want to appreciate how good this recruiting class is, consider this … Metchie is one of three Gryphon recruits on the Canadian National Junior Team (more than any other team in the CIS). He joins Nick Parisotto and Khaliel James. Those three players are among the 14 members of this recruiting class who have played for Team Ontario, the others being Nick Thun, Duncan Curren, Colin Jerome, Andrew Pickett, James Roberts, Malik Richards, Luke Korol, Drew Walden, Thomas Waight and Gabriel Ferraro. Eldridge Sellars V played for Team BC.
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This recruit luncheon seems to get better every year. More professional! More media coverage! The organizers [Bill Brown, Maddie Norwell, Mike Aloisio, Sarah Garrett & others] and Craig Moore and his staff at Cutten Fields seem to have worked out the bugs and mastered the logistics. It was a very smoothly run afternoon.
There was a brief “parents only” portion where representatives of the Parents-of-Players [PoP] and Friends of Gryphon Football [FoGF] shared with them about the non-football activities – fundraising activities, tailgates parties, communications, etc.. The PoP reps, Bruna Ferraro and Chris Gerrie, also filled the parents in on some of things their sons are going to forget to tell them.
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I had a chance to chat with two new members of the Gryphon coaching staff at the luncheon – QB Coach Marcello Campanaro and Receivers Coach Steve Frake. Campanaro is also the head coach at Burlington’s M.M. Robinson High School but he is perhaps best known for his work with the McMaster Marauders. He was a member of their coaching staff during their Yates Cup run under Greg Marshall. Campanaro became the Mac head coach after Marshall departed for the CFL.
Frake is a former Wilfrid Laurier player and coach. He was a 2004 CFL draft pick of the Montreal Alouettes. Frake was a member of the Gryphon staff in 2013, assisting Receivers Coach Brian Malott, then stepping up to replace Malott this off-season. Frake has long-standing connections with coordinators Galloway and MacNeill. I would guestimate that he has played or coached with them for 9 of the last 14 years. Frake made the trip to Florida for the Winter Camp.