2016 Recruiting Breakdown – Linebackers

The Recruits

AJ Allen – LB – 5’11” 180 – MM Robinson [Burlington ON]
Mariano Christiaans – LB – 5’11” 220 – St Roch CSS [Brampton ON]
Michael Adade – LB – 5’10” 200 – Cardinal Ambrozic CSS [Brampton ON]
Alex Jafs – LB – 6′ 215 – Newmarket SS [Newmarket ON]

The Breakdown

The Gryphons lose two outstanding linebackers. John Rush was the team MVP, a CIS All Canadian & winner of the Presidents’ Trophy as top defensive player in the country last year. Curtis Newton was a 2X OUA All Star and a CIS All Canadian in 2014. Combo DB/LBs Pat McGrath and Mac Myers have also graduated. The Gryphons do return one starter in 5th-yr Andrew Graham. Other players who have seen playing time are Luke Korol, Job Reinhart and John Birnie. Scout team linebackers looking to get in on the game day action are redshirt freshmen Aidan England, Dean Yaromich and Donte Smith.

With more players graduating than there are returning there is an opportunity for playing time. The incoming recruits will compete with the scout team players for spots on the dress roster.

My Thoughts

The Gryphons will be able to field a strong linebacking group. You can’t replace two All Canadians and not have a drop-off but this will still be a quality linebacking corps. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an OUA All Star in this group.

The issue may be depth. More than an injury or two and we’ll be relying on some very inexperienced players to fill the void. But, as with other positions, we have recruited well. There are talented backups and recruits on hand. It would be great to see at least one of this group of LB recruits jump out and show they’re ready to play. Regardless, there will be lots of reps on the scout team and opportunity for development.

Recruit Profiles

Recruit AJ AllenAJ Allen – LB – 5’11” 180 – MM Robinson [Burlington ON]

Originally I had Allen listed as a RB/DB but he is definitely going to get a look as a linebacker during training camp. Probably as a SAM or coverage linebacker. Obviously he is a very athletic player whose natural talents can translate to multiple positions. Guelph coaches recognized he had CIS potential while he was only in Grade 9. They have been recruiting him since his Grade 10 year.

Mariano Christiaans – LB – 5’11” 220 – St Roch CSS [Brampton ON]

“The heart and soul”  of a St Roch Ravens defense that won ROPSSAA & an OFSAA Bowl in 2015. Christiaans has played for the Brampton Bulldogs of the OVFL and in the 2014 Red-Black Game (i.e. the top 90 prospects for Team Ontario).

Michael Adade – LB – 5’10” 200 – Cardinal Ambrozic CSS [Brampton ON]

Based on his highlights I see an undersized but high energy linebacker who just made plays for the Ambrozic Riverhawks. Also played OVFL football with the Brampton Bulldogs. Short but thick Adade looks like he comes from the same mould as London Fletcher.

Alex JafsAlex Jafs – LB – 6′ 215 – Newmarket SS [Newmarket ON]

An outside linebacker, Jafs had an outstanding OVFL season with the York Region Lions, finishing in the top 10 in defensive stats. I don’t know much about his HS career but I like his highlights. Jafs has good size and speed for an outside linebacker position.

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One Response to 2016 Recruiting Breakdown – Linebackers

  1. Daniel says:

    A player named Carson Macrae was left off this list. Hamilton native I believe.

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