Gryphon recruiting keeps rolling along

The Guelph Gryphons recruiting machine keeps rolling along having added six more players to their 2015 recruiting class since my last report. That brings the incoming class to approximately 25 members. These most recent additions are split evenly between offense and defense. On the defensive side the Gryphons have signed LB Ruairi McGivern of Mississauga Lorne Park SS, DE/LB Chris Larsen of Toronto’s East York CI and DE Byron Mackinnon from Victoria BC’s Mount Douglas HS.

Added to the offense were QB Simon Shi of Scarborough Sir John A MacDonald and the brother tandem of CFC Top 100 WR Joshua Perez of Mississauga Lorne Park and RB Aaron Perez of Mississauga Iona CSS [via UofT]. I will provide more details on the three offensive recruits in a separated post.

LB recruit Ruairi McGivern

LB recruit Ruairi McGivern

I love the size, athleticism and toughness of linebacker Ruairi McGivern. At 6’4″ & 210 pounds he runs and plays in space very well. A sure tackler McGivern was named his team’s defensive MVP this past season. He has won consecutive ROPSSAA championships and OFSAA Bowl games with the LP Spartans. You know when a player comes from a Tier 1 school that is always competitive and has won recent championships he is going to have been well coached. That applies here. In addition to their ROPSSAA & OFSAA games Lorne Park has also played some elite Ontario and American teams in the past few years as well. Tough competition helps to assure future success. McGivern looks like he would make a great WILL linebacker, possibly even a SAM. Lots of options for this player in my opinion. See for yourself in his 2014 highlights.

DE/LB recruit Chris Larsen #91

DE/LB recruit Chris Larsen #91

In East York Collegiate’s Chris Larsen the Gryphons are getting another outstanding athlete with great size and a lot of potential. The 6’5″ 225-pound Larsen will come in as a DE/LB but he has also played wide receiver, tight end and quarterback. Larsen didn’t play QB until the senior level in high school but he went on to play QB in the OVFL for the Toronto Thunder. If you want to see just how fast and athletic he is for his size, just watch his OVFL QB highlights. In 2012 Larsen was an OVFL All Star at linebacker. He was also Defensive MVP for the GTA Rising Stars in an ACG All Star game. Then in 2014 Larsen played in the International Bowl with the Team Ontario Selects and in the OVFL’s Top Prospect game. He was also an offensive MVP for the Goliaths in his East York career.

DE recruit Byron MacKinnon

DE recruit Byron MacKinnon

Just this past weekend the Gryphons received a commitment from a top BC defender in Mount Douglas High School’s star DE Byron Mackinnon. A top BC program for years Mount Douglas won the AAA Provincial Championship in 2011, 2012, 2013 and reached the final again in 2014. Mackinnon was a force at defensive end for the Rams. More than anything else, what jumped out at me in his 2014 highlights was the incredible number of plays that Mackinnon made at or behind the line of scrimmage. The 6’2″ 220-pound D-end blocked more passes than I can recall seeing in any highlight tape before. His ability to pressure the quarterback, sack the QB and make tackles-for-loss is amazing. On the season he recorded 12 sacks, 15 knockdowns, 33 tackles and an interception. To my knowledge Mackinnon will be the fourth Mount Douglas Ram to join the Gryphons. Current players on the roster with Mt Doug connections – Mason Swift & Blake McNeely.

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All three of the above recruits have excellent speed – in the 4.7 -4.9 range in the 40. Add them to the other seven defensive recruits, plus the LB & DL talent we already have on the roster, and the Gryphons are very well stocked for the turnover that will be coming next year. This is the type of depth of talent that makes coaches in other programs jealous. I’m beginning to think the Clemson Tigers’ anthem We Too Deep is starting to apply. That is #wetoodeep in the sense that we’re too deep for you to beat us & “These boyz can’t hold us back”.

Meanwhile the Gryphons have yet to sign a defensive back but I’m not concerned. It is not an area of urgent need given the talent already on the roster. Coaches are likely willing to forego taking a DB recruit unless it is someone with elite-level talent and that makes complete sense to me. I have my eye on a couple of particularly outstanding prospects, watching when/where they commit and hoping it will be Guelph.

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