There is an excellent story by Bernie Puchalski in the St. Catharines Standard on OUA President’s Trophy winner John Rush – Rush returns from injury. Two days earlier The Standard also carried a story that focused on Niagara players who contributed to the Gryphons Yates Cup victory, including Rush’s MVP honours.
Rush returns from injury
Getting over a serious injury is an important physical and psychological hurdle for any athlete.
“It’s a huge mental block trying to get back into it and no amount of physical activity that you can do will help,” Rush said. “It’s one of those things you just need to get over eventually.”
The middle linebacker got over it in a big way during the 2014-15 season. Rush ended up leading Canadian Interuniversity Sport in tackles while adding three sacks and two interceptions. For his efforts, he was named an OUA First Team all-star and the President’s Trophy winner as the top stand-up defensive player of the year in Ontario. He will be vying for CIS honours Nov. 26 at the All-Canadian banquet.
Last weekend, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound player had 11.5 tackles and three sacks to earn game MVP honours and lead the Guelph Gryphons to a 23-17 upset victory over the Western Mustangs in the Yates Cup, the OUA football championship.
Guelph defensive coordinator Kevin MacNeill isn’t surprised about Rush’s success.
“It’s kind of where we thought he would be come this time in his career,” he said.
MacNeill felt the former Team Canada and Team Ontario member would become a special player and the knee injury was just a setback along the way.
“I think that raised doubts in other people that he would not reach his potential, but he’s definitely proven all those doubters wrong and shown that he is a premier player in the country.”
Rush hoped, but didn’t expect he would have such a great season.
“It has been an amazing ride for me — but as a team we all planned for this. Our only goal this season was to win the Yates Cup and we achieved that.”
Rush credits his coaches and teammates.
“They keep me so motivated to be the best player I can be ever single play and every single practice,” he said. “They’re also so outstanding at football that other teams can’t account for just me. They have to game plan against the whole defence which allows me to run around and make some plays”
MacNeill feels it’s Rush’s heart and intelligence that make him a special player.
“He does a great job of knowing what his assignments are and how to attack a specific situation,” he said. “And he has the heart, will and desire to make it happen and be the person that wins that one-on-one battle.
“Add in his physical abilities — his strength and his speed — and it’s a dangerous situation when you have a kid who can do it all.”
Rush became the second Saint Michael grad to win the President’s Trophy, joining John Surla who won the award in 2009 as a member of the Western Mustangs.
Rush went undrafted in 2014 and is now a free agent to Canadian Football League teams looking to sign him to a pro contract.
MacNeill believes Rush has what it takes to play at the pro level.
“He has shown to the CFL scouts that he’s able to play. He deserves a look and I definitely think he will get that look,” he said. “I think there will be several teams interested in him now after the season he’s had.”
Rush will graduate this year with a degree in business with a marketing major, but the business world will have to wait, however, until he chases down his football dreams first.
Read the full story here. Big thank you to Peter Partridge for keeping this information flowing.