Patrick Pierre – RB – 5’11” 190 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier CI [Scarborough ON]
Harry Robinson – RB – 5’9″ 185 – Frontenac SS [Kingston ON]
Guelph’s depth at the running back position is as good this year as any year I can remember. The Gryphons return veterans Johnny Augustine, Rob Carnegie, Brandon Gordon and Daniel Palmer-Salmon. Between them they accounted for 100% of the rushing yards by RBs last year. Mason Swift should also be back on the field in 2016 after missing last year. On top of that, the Gryphons have some solid players from last year’s recruiting class in Mack Jones, Jamal Hooker & Kyle Sinden.
The critical issue is that half of the returning RBs are entering their 4th or 5th years. While the freshmen and other young backs won’t be under pressure to play early they need to be ready to replace some of the veterans in the not too distant future.
So good is the depth at running back that I’d be surprised if we don’t see a RB or two taking some reps in a receivers role whether it be as an H-Back/TE or slot receiver. Swift and Jones have the size and sturdy builds to handle the H-Back/TE spot and Hooker could be outstanding as a slot receiver in my opinion.
Unless the Gryphons are hit with a rash of injuries I don’t think they will need to press a freshmen into action this season. It think it would take a phenomenal performance in the the first week of training camp to push one of these rookies into consideration for a dress roster. That says more about the quality of depth we have at running back than the quality of this pair of recruits. I think Guelph was very fortunate to land such good prospects without the prospect of immediate playing time.
Pierre and Robinson should have an opportunity to learn the playbook and refine their skills while waiting for an opportunity to play replace Rob Carnegie and possibly Johnny Augustine in 2016.
Pierre put together a solid career at Scarborough’s Laurier CI and with the Toronto Thunder but it was his performance at the OUA’s Top Recruit Combine series that saw Pierre’s recruiting stock take-off. Of 600+ participants he ran the fastest 40 and top 10 finishes in two of 3 other testing events. Fortunately for Guelph, they were well aware of Pierre’s potential before his recruiting stock exploded and Pierre remained loyal to the Gryphons even after many new “suitors” jumped in. Pierre’s high school coaches included former Gryphon team captain Rob Panos.
A two-way player at Frontenac and for the Grenadiers, Robinson earned OVFL All Stars as an RB this summer while helping to lead Kingston to the OVFL Championship game. Robinson was also very effective as a receiver out of the backfield. Robinson finished in the Top 10 among OVFL rushers. Defensive back was the position he was most noted for until this past year. He continued to play defensive back for the Grenadiers in critical situations and important games.