Former Gryphon Mike O’Shea to be inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame

oshea-cfl

Photo: Johany Jutras / CFL.ca

Back on March 23, The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum (CFHOF) announced its class of 2017. Former University of Guelph All Canadian linebacker and long-snapper Mike O’Shea was named a part of the stellar class.

There is not really a lot I can add to the many stories already written.

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From the OUA.ca via CFL.ca – Former Gryphon Mike O’Shea to be inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame

MIKE O’SHEA, PLAYER:

Mike O’Shea played in the CFL for 16 seasons for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts.  He was Rookie of the Year in 1993, a CFL All-Star Linebacker in 1999, and won the John Candy Memorial Award (given to the Toronto Argonaut Player of the Year) in 1999.  He ranks second on the All-Time CFL List for defensive tackles with 1,151, seventh of the All-Time CFL List for special team teams with 169, and second on the All-Time Toronto Argonaut List for Most Games Played with 205. He added 22 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries and 30 quarterback sacks. O’Shea is a three-time Grey Cup Champion (1996, 1997 and 2004).

A news release via Winnipeg Blue Bombers website – Mike O’Shea to be inducted into CFHOF

“On behalf of our entire organization, I would like to congratulate Mike on an honour that was both expected and extremely well deserved,” said Blue Bombers President & CEO, Wade Miller. “Mike has carried himself like a hall of famer from the moment he entered this league, and continues to do so now as the Head Coach of the Blue Bombers. He is the true definition of what all professional athletes should aspire to be, and his accomplishments simply speak for themselves.”

You can find the video from a TV interview with O’Shea here.

In the Winnipeg Sun, friend and former Guelph teammate, Kyle Walters said some of the things that O’Shea is too humble to point out …

Kyle Walters couldn’t even wait for the question to be finished before he started gushing about his friend and colleague Mike O’Shea.

“A much deserved and overdue honour,” Walters said.

“Mike is the second all-time tackler in the CFL, first amongst Canadians,” said Walters, who is the general manager of the Bombers.

“When you think of, in recent history, what sums up the Canadian Football League from a football player standpoint, it’s Mike O’Shea.

“The reputation he has, the type of player he is … through and through Canadian. He’ll downplay it and he’ll be all about work and it will be a distraction for him, but it’s a fantastic honour for him and very, very well deserved.”

Finally, the press release from the Toronto Argonauts –
ALL-TIME ARGO MIKE O’SHEA TO BE INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME

“On behalf of our entire organization and our fans, it’s with great pride that we congratulate you on this tremendous honour,” said Michael Copeland, Argos President and CEO. “Thank you for everything you gave this organization – from the record number of tackles, to your consistent blue-collar approach, for your leadership on our team and throughout the community, and for representing the Double Blue with class, humility and pride for so many years.”

O’Shea enjoyed a 16-year CFL career, spending 12 seasons with the Argonauts (1996-99, 2001-08) and four with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1993-95, 2000). The University of Guelph alum began his CFL career as a member of the Tiger-Cats who acquired him in a trade after he was selected fourth overall by the Edmonton Eskimos in the 1993 CFL Canadian College Draft.

And …

MIKE O’SHEA CAREER SNAPSHOT:

  • Most career defensive tackles (822) and second most career special teams tackles (130) by an Argonaut
  • Most career tackles in Grey Cup games (15) by an Argonaut
  • Named All-Time Argonaut in 2015 and a member of the Argos All-Time Team in 2007.
  • Member of both the Guelph Gryphons Sports Hall of Fame and North Bay Hall of Fame
  • 2nd All-Time in CFL history in career tackles (1,151)
  • Only Canadian in CFL history to register 1,000+ career tackles.
  • Honoured as a Division All-Star five times (1994-1995, 1997, 1999, 2000) and 1999 CFL All-Star
  • 5x Division All-Star (1994-05, 1997, 1999, 2000) and 1x CFL All-Star (1999)
  • 1999 CFL Most Outstanding Canadian
  • 3x Grey Cup Champion (1996, 1997 & 2004)
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FoGF regional receptions kick off in Niagara

Last week saw the first of 2017’s Friends of Gryphon Football regional receptions take place in Niagara. Almost 50 people turned out to the St. Catharines Golf & Country Club. The crowd included former Gryphons and family members, a half dozen coaches and several of the committed recruits from the region.

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Cdn Olympic logo♦ The oldest alumnus at the event was Clayton Brown. He was accompanied by his wife Lynn. A St. Catharines native, Brown attended Guelph from 1964 to 1968 but he didn’t take a direct path from high school to university.

In fact, Brown was 24 when he enrolled at Guelph. Prior to that he rowed for Canada in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He then worked several years to earn the money for university. Finally, he bookended his Gryphon football career by rowing for Canada again in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

♦ The newest additions to the Gryphon family in attendance were some of members of the 2017 recruiting class – Sandor Mod [DT Welland -Notre Dame], Collin Reese [OL South Lincoln] and Braeden Ashford [OL Saltfleet].

♦ The University of Guelph’s Director of Athletics Scott McRoberts has made a point of adding these receptions to his busy schedule. His plans to attend most, if not all of them, took a blow last week when he came down sick the day of the event. That didn’t mean that there wasn’t an OUA A.D. in attendance. FoGF was pleased to welcome Brock University A.D., and former Gryphon coach, Neil Lumsden to the event.

♦ Head Coach Kevin MacNeill briefly addressed those gathered but spent most of his time answering questions from the audience. Among the more interesting topics covered – changes to the coaching staff, the status of the new Football Pavillion, a potential preseason game in 2017.

First, there was the creation of a full-time recruiting position and OC Todd Galloway’s decision to take that job. The resulting vacancy of the offensive coordinator position was filled by Jean-Francois Joncas, head coach of Lennoxille, Quebec’s Champlain College. MacNeill teased the audience with early notice of another surprise – look for an additional announcement of another addition to the coaching staff in the next 30 days.

Second, the Pavillion is moving ahead on the inside now that the roof is finished. Lots of drywall has been going up. The facility should be ready to open by June.

Finally, plans for a pre-season game with Canada West regular season co-champs the Regina Rams didn’t work out. But Coach MacNeill came up with a pretty good Plan B. The Gryphons have reached an agreement to play the St Francis Xavier X-Men in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The game is still dependent upon certain requirements of the AUS conference being worked out. The X-Men have won the past two AUS championships.

You can find the dates and locations of upcoming Friends of Gryphon Football receptions here.

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Recruit Scholz combines academic & athletic prowess

Scholz family

Tyler Scholz’ home team, from left, mother Vicky, father Ralph and sister Haley. BERND FRANKE/Postmedia Network

There is a nice story in the St. Catharines Standard about Gryphon recruit Tyler Scholz and the academic success he and other players at Niagara Falls’ A.N. Myer have had.

The football Marauders were successful on the field, winning 3 consecutive OFSAA Bowls. Now many of their student-athletes will receive Athletic Financial Awards as they move on to university.

Scholarships reward Myer football players for academic as well as athletic success

By Bernd Franke

There is a reason they are called “student athletes” and not the other way around.

It’s the same reason Tyler Scholz will receive up to $4,500 annually for as long as the next five years to offset the cost of tuition at the University of Guelph.

Scholz, a Grade 12B student who lined up on both sides of the ball on an A.N. Myer Secondary School football team that defended an Ontario championship by going undefeated, began appearing on Guelph’s radar for his contributions to the Niagara Falls school’s success of the gridiron.

However, what set the 19-year-old apart from a crowded field of prospects when the time came for the southern Ontario university to start awarding scholarships was his success in the classroom.

Only student athletes who average at least 80 per cent in their high school studies are eligible to receive an athletic scholarship, also known as an Athletic Financial Awards (AFA).

Unlike four- to five-year full rides out of the border, there are many stops along the way to graduation for AFA recipients. Defensive co-ordinator Doug Grandy, who represented Gryphons head coach Kevin MacNeill at Scholz’s signing ceremony, said the scholarship is renewable annually.

“Once they’re here, they have to average at least 70 per cent, and we keep track of that,” he said. “They’re expected to do well in class. That’s the No. 1 reason why they’re here.”

Mount Allison University, Laurier, St. Francis Xavier and Waterloo also expressed interest having the Niagara Falls native and son of former Canadian Football League player Ralph Scholz join their football programs.

In the end, the choice came down to Guelph and Waterloo, with the background music for the decision-making process provided by Led Zepplin.

Some more excerpts …

Points in Guelph’s favour were “family feel” and “great coaching.”

“I really felt like I was among friends.”

The Gryphons impressed the athlete in the student athlete as a team that would be “more competitive” from the get go.

“A better chance of getting a Vanier,” he said, referring to the Vanier Cup, the ultimate prize for university football in Canada.

And …

In five seasons at Myer, Tyler Scholz saw action on both sides. He lined up as a receiver on offence and deep in the defensive backfield when the Marauders didn’t have possession of the football.

He’s projected to be a defensive back with the Gryphons, and he’s not upset up at leaving one of the glamour positions on the gridiron.

“I don’t like to have the spotlight on me,” Scholz said. “I like to have the spotlight on the team as a whole.”

These excerpts don’t constitute even half the article. You can read the full story here.

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Gryphons invited to CFL Combines

Combine

The CFL has issued invitations to their National and Regional Combines. Several Gryphon players received those invites. Running back Johnny Augustine was invited to the National CFL Combine presented by adidas, which will take place in Regina, March 23-25.

Johnny Augustine

The CFL will host regional combines for the fifth consecutive year beginning in Montreal (March 10) for the Eastern Regional, Toronto (March 17) for the Ontario Regional and Regina (March 23) for the Western Regional.Receiving invitations to the Ontario Regional Combine were linebacker Derek Drouillard, defensive end Matt Delmas and receiver Jacob Scarfone.

Also invited to the Ontario Combine were a pair of former Gryphons players – defensive tackle Ian Marouf and receiver Amitaj Gill. Marouf was the team’s Rookie of the Year in 2013. Gill was the Gryphons’ Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year in 2012.

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It sounds like no one is more eager for the Combines to start than Bombers GM Kyle Walters. He has had enough of the pre-draft preparations.

“It’s going to be great,” began Walters in a conversation with bluebombers.com. “Both (National Scout) Craig (Smith) and (Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel) Ted (Goveia) are flying in and then on Tuesday those two plus Mike (O’Shea) and I will close the door and start going through all the draft prospects. Then we’ll be on the road at the different combines.

“I can’t wait to stop this,” Walters added, slapping down the remote while watching film. “I’ve been doing this since December in here. You watch the film, you plug away and grind along. It’s long and labour intensive and your eyes get sore and you get grumpy and frustrated.

“That’s why I’m so excited for when the guys are actually here and we’re meeting and you can actually see these guys in person.”

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Mini Camp is underway – Mar 4/17

The Gryphons kicked off a 3-day mini camp last night. These are the first of their 20 off-season practices. Usually they start earlier but Coach MacNeill wanted to wait until they had the new offensive coordinator in place.

It was a cold night to start “Spring” football practices. With temperatures dropping to -9 C as the sun was setting and a breeze blowing down the field from north to south, it was real “playoff” weather. No doubt Coach MacNeill regretted having shaved off his beard.

Prior to this the Gryphons had been limited to workouts, team runs, speed & agility training and small group skill sessions. Last night they conducted a normal football practice in full pads. However, the contact was still limited.

Veteran James Roberts and first-year Zach Buchan handled all the work at the Quarterback position. I wasn’t able to pick him out but former QB Theo Landers was working as a defensive back. Apparently, he has showed some real talent and a physical side in off-season work with the DB unit.

The O-Line unit was short-handed with only 8 players in pads. Nikko Morito-Barber was in street clothes and a couple of 2017 recruits were observing the practice.

On the defensive side, Coach Cluff was getting assistance from a couple of alumni/CFL vets in Heron Tait and Cam Walker.

I noticed that some of the Gryphons invited to the CFL Combines were there but in different modes. Johnny Augustine was in pads and fully participating while Matt Delmas was in street clothes.

There are 4-hour power practices scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Here are some photos from Friday night. The first 5 photos are courtesy of Jerry Ashford, father of OL recruit Braedon Ashford.

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One disappointing note: there did not appear to be much progress on the exterior of the Football Pavillion.

I noted a month ago, … one of the holdups, perhaps the major one, is the glass. Between the office windows, the skylights and the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the field, that is a lot of glass. 

As you can see from the photo below there is still no sign of the glass. It could be May or June before the building is complete.

20170303_173322

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Gryphon recruit wins OFSAA Gold

Defensive back recruit Simon Chaves of Guelph CVI won a Gold medal today at the OFSAA Wrestling Championships in Brampton.

simon-chaves

Chaves road to OFSAA Gold consisted of winning the CWOSSA championship, then posting 5 straight victories over two days at the 2017 OFSAA Championships. Chaves wrestled in the 77 Kg category. He plans to continue to combine football and wrestling when he comes to Guelph in the Fall.

His brother, Alexander Chaves, already wrestles for the Gryphons. The older Chaves recently won an OUA bronze medal, then placed 5th at last week’s USports Wrestling Championships.

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Sophomore Job Reinhart is already competing for Guelph in both football and wrestling. Reinhart, who is also a GCVI product and won an OFSAA Wrestling bronze medal two years ago, won an OUA bronze, then placed 8th at the USport Championships last week.

A recent Team App article – LB Reinhart wrestles his way to Nationals – talked to Reinhart about the importance of time management and maintaining priorities as a two-sport athletes.

Being a two-sport athlete means being great at managing your time as it’s football, wrestling and school and not in that order. There’s really not much time for anything else.
“It’s really busy and it’s hard to balance them out,” Reinhart said. “It gets pretty tiring, but overall I love playing both sports and I just want to continue to do that.”
That means keeping on top of his Landscape Architecture studies is a top priority for Reinhart.
“It’s going well,” he said. “I’m keeping on track and I’ve got to keep that going because that’s why I’m here. I’ve got to keep on top of that, for sure.”

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Keysean Powell named OUA T&F Rookie of the Year

Last month I wrote about the strong seasons four freshmen football players were having with the Gryphon Track & Field program. Keysean Powell, in particular, was distinguishing himself as one of the fastest university athletes in Canada.

powell_keysean

Powell’s strong performance continued at last weekend’s OUA Track & Field Championships where he won two silver medals. In the 60 Meters, Powell covered the distance in 6.78 seconds in the semi-final heat, and 6.81 secs in the final. He was 1/100 of a second behind the gold medalist in the final. His other silver medal came in the long jump.

From Gryphons.ca – Three Gryphons recognized as OUA major award winners

Dual-sport athlete Keysean Powell (Brampton, Ont.), who also plays receiver on the Gryphon football team, was named OUA Rookie of the Year on the men’s side. Powell won a pair of silver medals in the long jump (7.26m) and 60m (6.81) events.  Powell finished just .01 second behind his teammate Kyle Thompson for gold.

Powell will head to the USports Track & Field Championships in Edmonton next week. His 6.78 secs 60M last weekend is the fastest time run by a USport athlete this year.

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4 Gryphons invited to East-West Bowl

e-w-bowl

From Gryphons.ca

QUEBEC CITY, QC – A total of four Gryphon football players have been selected to head to Quebec City (May 8-13) for the 15th edition of the East-West Bowl. The annual prospects game features players from across the country who are eligible for the 2018 CFL Draft. Gryphon defensive backs Nick Parisotto and Royce Metchie, as well as kicker Gabe Ferraro and offensive lineman Andrew Pickett, will all be representing the University of Guelph on Team West, while showcasing their skills in front of pro scouts and competing alongside some of the very best players in Canadian university football. The week-long festivities culminate with the playing of the 15th East-West Bowl Game, which is set to kick off on Saturday, May 13th at 12:30pm. The University of Laval’s TELUS Stadium has been selected as the site for both the 2017 & 2018 East-West Bowls.

The USport website’s full announcement here.

There are profiles of each of the four Gryphon players in this article.

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Boom! A new OC for the Gryphons

Announced today via Gryphons.ca – Gryphon Football announces changes to coaching staff

GUELPH, ON (February 27, 2017) — Gryphon Football is proud to announce Jean-Francois Joncas as the team’s new offensive coordinator as Todd Galloway has recently accepted a newly created position with the team in a full-time recruiting capacity.

“Todd has been instrumental in our success the past six years,” Guelph Gryphons football head coach Kevin MacNeill said. “His new title reflects his importance to the Gryphon Football program, our future and how much we value his abilities. In addition to being an excellent coach, he has always been an outstanding ambassador of UofG. He has a great ability to connect and lead student-athletes and I have no doubt he will excel in this new and important role.”

“And we are thrilled to have JF join our program. He is one of the most respected coaches in Quebec with a proven track record. He’s done great things for Champlain and we’re incredibly fortunate to have him join our staff,” further noted MacNeill. “His leadership and desire for success are second-to-none. He will be an immediate asset as we begin planning for spring training and next season.”

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L-R: Jean-Francois Joncas & Kevin MacNeill

Joncas’ coaching career spans 11 years with the Champlain Cougars, a CEGEP Div. 1 league team in Lennoxville, Quebec. As the head coach of the team, he helped the Cougars to seven Bowl d’Or finals (’06, ’08, ’09, ’12, ’13, ’14, 15) and won it twice in 2013 and 2015. Other coaching stops for Joncas include serving as a member of the Team Quebec coaching staff that won the U17 Canada Cup in 2007 and 2008 and then the U18 championship title in 2012. He has also served as the offensive line coach for the 2016 National Junior U19 team that won a gold medal at the last world championship in China.

In his playing days as a centre at Laval University (1999-03) Joncas won two Vanier Cups (’99, ’03) and was named an all-conference player three times (’01, ’02, ’03) and a CIS All-Canadian in 2003. Following University, he signed as a free agent with the Hamilton Tiger Cats and then the Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League in 2004 and 2005.

“I’m very excited for the move to Guelph and to work with the Gryphon staff and their incredible student-athletes that make up this program,” said Joncas. “I want to thank Scott McRoberts (Director Athletics) and Kevin MacNeill (Head Coach) for this great opportunity. I also understand the expectations at the University of Guelph and invite them because I have the same expectations of myself. I look forward to working with the coaches and players in place and getting ready for the 2017 season.”

Galloway recently completed his sixth season with the program as the offensive coordinator. During his tenure the Gryphons hold an impressive 31-8 regular season record and a 5-5 playoff record that includes three Yates Cup

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Todd Galloway

appearances and an historic Yates Cup Championship title in 2015. With over a decade of diverse coaching experience at various levels including USports, high school and varsity leagues he’s proven to be a highly successful and intelligent coach.

As a student-athlete the Kitchener, Ont. native played wide receiver at Wilfrid Laurier (2000-03) while earning an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Biology and pursued a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences with a specialization in Physiology and Pharmacology.

“I am excited to transition to this new role,” said Galloway. “I have really enjoyed connecting with student-athletes and their families and look forward to doing that in an even bigger role. Our program works tirelessly in the pursuit of excellence and success at the highest level and I cannot wait to continue working towards recruiting outstanding student-athletes across the country.”

The Gryphons are set to open their spring training camp August 11th. They will host the Ottawa Gee-Gees in their season opener on Sunday, August 27.


Jean-Francois Joncas bio:

CEGEP Div. 1 League Coaching career
* 2006-present: Champlain Cougars (Head Coach)

Additional Coaching
* 2016: Team Canada U19 (Offensive line coach)
* 2015: Team Canada U19 (Offensive line coach)
* 2012: Team Quebec U18 (Coaching Staff)
* 2008: Team Quebec U17 (Coaching Staff)
* 2007: Team Quebec U17 (Coaching Staff)

Notable athletes coached
* Philip Blake, OL (NCAA – Baylor, NFL, CFL)
* Marc-Antoine Fortin DL (Laval – CFL)
* Frederic Plesius, LB (NCAA – Baylor, Laval, CFL)
* Michael Edem, LB (Calgary, CFL)
* Dillon Guy, OL (NCAA – Buffalo, CFL)
* Joel Zoungrana, WR (NCAA – Boston College)
* Elie N’Goyi, DL (Bishop’s, CFL)
* Stephen Adekolu, REC (Bishop’s, CFL)
* Jr Seydou Haidara, REC (Laval, CFL)
* Adam Thibault, DB (Laval, CFL)
* Jonathan Langa, LB (St. Mary’s, CFL)
* Danny Groulx, OL (Laval, CFL)
* Jean-Philippe Bolduc, DB (Laval, CFL)
* Charles Vaillancourt, OL (Laval, CFL)
* Isaac Berglund, DL (NCAA – Southeastern Louisiana)
* Patrick Davis, OL (NCAA – Syracuse)
* Sidy Sow, OL (NCAA – Eastern Michigan)
* Samuel Couture-Dumas, OL (NCAA – Simon Fraser)

Education
* M.B.A. Management (Laval University 2002-04)
* B. Sc. Kinesiology (Laval University, 1999-02)

Playing career
* Laval University, centre (1999-03)
* Won 2 Vanier Cups (1999 & 2003)
* Team captain (2003)
* Three-time All-Conference all-star (2001, 2002, 2003)
* CIS All-Canadian (2003)
* Signed by Hamilton Tiger Cats (2004, injured reserve)
* Signed by Ottawa Renegades (2005, practice roster)

Personal
* Joncas and his wife, Mireille, have two daughters, Charlotte and Juliette

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Gryphons sign 3 from Brampton

Gryphon coaches were in Brampton on back-to-back days this week. Yesterday they were at St Roch CSS to get the signature of Kosi Onyeka on an LOI.

If the Onyeka name sounds familiar you might just be an OUA football fan. His brother Nakas plays at Laurier, as does his cousin Godfrey. Another cousin, Kene, plays for the Carleton Ravens. All three were OUA All Stars in 2016. Nakas and Godfrey (2x) were also USports All Canadians.

That family history would mean some pretty high expectations for Kosi. According to Top Prospects he is talented enough to live up to them. They rank him a 4* prospect who they “think has the potential to be a division I prospect … (and a) prized player for Canadian Universities and we would expect to make an early impact at a Canadian school.”

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dyouville-recruits

Muyiwa Ojo [#96] and Damiel Miller [#68] pose with Guelph and St Roch coaches

Today Gryphon coaches were back in Brampton for a signing ceremony at St Marguerite D’Youville CSS. The prized recruits were a pair of Panthers linemen – Muyiwa Ojo and Daniel Miller.

The 6’3″ 255-pound Ojo is considered a two-way prospect who could play on either the defensive or offensive line. Miller is viewed as an offensive linemen at the college level. He measures in at 6’4″ and 275 pounds.

I didn’t find highlight film on any of the three players.

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