2016 Recruiting Breakdown – Defensive backs

The Recruits

Jason Richards – ATH/REC – 5’8″ 167 – Northern SS [Toronto ON]
Pierce Wallingford – DB – 6′ 175 – Lo-Ellen HS [Sudbury ON]
Walker Breen – ATH/DB – 5’11” 175 – John F Ross CVI [Guelph ON]
Darius Samuels – DB – 6′ 165 – Paul Dwyer CHS [Oshawa ON]
Sam Sheffar – DB – 5’11” 170 – Central SS [London ON]
Dionovan Grosbeck – DB/KR – 6’1″ 170 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS [London ON]
Malcolm Ofori – DB – – David Suzuki SS [Brampton ON]
Graham Brodie – DB – 5′ 10″ 170 – Bishop MacDonnel CSS [Guelph ON]

The Background

The defensive backfield loses 3 veteran dress roster players from last year’s unit. Two have graduated – Iain Hutchison and Pat McGrath, while Orion Edwards will miss the season recovering from injury. On top of that it appears that several DBs are moving to other positions – Royce Metchie to SAM LB and Justis Croasdale to DE. On the other side of the equation Mikey Carney is back after missing last season with an Achilles injury. The net result of all that … there appear to be 4-5 open positions on the dress roster.

The Outlook

The outlook remains good, maybe even excellent, for the defensive backfield. In spite the losses this remains a very deep group otherwise the coaching staff wouldn’t be looking at moving some DBs to other positions. I expect there will be three 5th year veterans in starting positions – Colin Mandich, Tristan Doughlin and Mikey Carney. Nick Parisotto who was an All Canadian in his sophomore season, returns for a third year.

There is talented group of second to fourth players who have seen some action in backup and special teams roles and are ready for bigger roles – Jailon Bell, Elijah Walker, Akeem Knowles and Riley Baines. There are several more talented players who have proved their worth on the scout team – Shaq Munroe and Marcus Volpe.

Bottomline, the Gryphons will field a very strong unit of defensive backs.

My Thoughts

Guelph’s defensive backfield will likely the best and the fastest group in the OUA. It will be a strength of the defense. I like this group of defensive back recruits but I don’t see anyone who will be able to step in and earn playing time ahead of experienced players. With multiple injuries a recruit or two could dress.

I think they will have an opportunity to receive some good coaching, learn the system, develop their skills and work in the weight room. The real opportunity for this year’s recruits is 2017 when 5-7 more DBs could be finished.

Recruit Profiles

Jason Richards – ATH/REC – 5’8″ 167 – Northern SS [Toronto ON]

A very good all round athlete and a versatile player. On the smaller side but capable of being one of those elusive “waterbug”-type of returner.

Pierce Wallingford – DB – 6′ 175 – Lo-Ellen HS [Sudbury ON]

Good size and can add a few pounds. He looked bigger and more muscular than a 175 lb-er when I saw him at end of May. Haven’t seen film on him but he looks like a safety or halfback.

Walker BreenWalker Breen – ATH/DB – 5’11” 175 – John F Ross CVI [Guelph ON]

Another all round athlete who played quarterback in HS and also with the Jr Gryphons if I’m not mistaken. Excellent student, local and a hard worker willing to play anywhere. Breen won a District 4/10 Rugby Championships with Ross in 2015.

Darius SamuelsDarius Samuels – DB – 6′ 165 – Paul Dwyer CHS [Oshawa ON]

Tall and thin but he has the instincts to play safety. In that case I’d like to see him add 15-20 pounds. He has the speed and athleticism to play corner. With the Oshawa Hawkeyes he was OVFL Defensive Player of the Week to start the year, then missed the rest of the season.

Sam SheffarSam Sheffar – DB – 5’11” 170 – Central SS [London ON]

I didn’t know anything about him until I watched his highlights. I liked what I saw. Athletic enough to play corner and looks very physical. Good build.

 

Dionovan Grosbeck

Dionovan Grosbeck – DB/KR – 6’1″ 170 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS [London ON]

I heard nothing but good things about Grosbeck from alumnus Matt Vine who coached him in high school. One of the best high school athletes Vine has coached and a real leader in the school and community.

Malcolm Ofori – DB – 5’10 180(?) – David Suzuki SS [Brampton ON]

Defensive Player of the Year for the Suzuki Grizzlies in 2015. Also played OVFL ball with the Brampton Bulldogs.

DB recruit Graham Brodie

Graham Brodie – DB – 5′ 10″ 170 – Bishop MacDonnel CSS [Guelph ON]

A 2014 CFC Top100 ranked recruit who did a victory lap at Bishop Mac. Brodie has also played for Team Ontario and the Guelph Jr Gryphon. He was a 2x OFC All Star selection. Has the skills to play but needs to add some size.

 

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