Ottawa Redblacks linebacker Micah Awe launches groundbreaking fitness app “PurpleShift” that can have a large impact on football’s recruiting system

Micah Awe edit done by Austin Owens

For years there has been a misconception that Canadian athletes aren’t as good as American athletes in many sports. It has seemed like Canada is only good for hockey for a number of years but in 2021 only 43% of the NHL is Canadian, so is hockey really Canada’s sport? Sure Canada has been a hotbed for hockey for years and will always be a large part of the country’s history and athletics, though as we continue to move forward into the future, sports like football and basketball are becoming for recognized in Canada internationally. Something that can continue that growth and bust the myth that Canada doesn’t have better athletes than America is PurpleShift.

PurpleShift is a fitness app founded by Ottawa Redblacks American linebacker Micah Awe, aiming to create an equal opportunity for athletes across the globe to showcase their athletic ability. The app features many different sporting activities for athletes to measure their talents to their favourite professional athletes, of all the activities the most popular have been both the push ups and the 40 yard dash.

When you download the PurpleShift app or go on their website you will be able to create an account, similar to a social media profile and after submitting videos of you doing the activities given on the app your athletic abilities will be ranked. For example, if you ran the 40 yard dash, the app will time how fast you ran it, giving you your time and your ranking among the other athletes that have ran it. If you filmed yourself participating in the pushup challenge, the app will find out how many pushups you did in a certain time period and like the 40 yard dash it will measure your results up against the other athletes that partook in the challenge.

Micah Awe opens up about CFL players’ talent and talks about PurpleShift with Rod Pedersen of Saskatchewan

Although the app may have just come out this year, Awe says this has been a work in progress for many years and just came into fruition during the downtime he had due to the CFL’s cancelations, “This was actually something I came up with a little while ago. I realized when I came up to Canada that there are good players here and there’s that thought that CFL players can’t play with the NFL and that they don’t have the same talent but they do and there’s no better way to show that then to show the proof so I knew I wanted to do something to help give that equal opportunity for players anywhere to showcase their talents.” He says that the only thing that he wasn’t sure about was how he would go through with the idea, “Solomon Elimimian was actually one of the first guys I told about the idea and he thought it was cool but he was wondering how this would work, and that’s when I did more research. When the CFL cancelled the 2020 season that was when I did most of my work and now its been posted for a couple months now.”

Micah Awe’s big hit on Carson Wentz in the 2016 pre-season, breaking Wentz’s ribs

Talking about his experience coming to Canada and realizing, like many Americans in the CFL have, that there are really good athletes north of the border Micah Awe talked about his first play in the CFL, “when I was signed by B.C in 2017 I had a good feeling that I knew what the CFL was like. I led the Big 12 with 126 tackles and played a few pre-season games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, breaking Carson Wentz’s ribs on a big hit in the NFL but on my first play in the CFL I got hit hard. It was on special teams, and I was going to be blocked by a big defensive lineman, and he was wearing like number 53 or something, not a good number for a defensive lineman. I could see how big he was, he was fast for his size too and that’s where I realized like these guys are good.” Being able to realize the talent north of the border, Awe has had a great career in the CFL, playing in 35 games over 3 seasons, making 154 total tackles, 1 sack,1 interception and forcing/recovering a total 3 fumbles, but even for him as an American it wasn’t an easy road to professional football and that is where Awe believes he can use his story to help this app succeed in the future. “I was on the D team the first year I ever played football.” Awe said, “In Texas there are so many kids that want to play football that they don’t do cuts, they just add teams so when I went to my first ever football practice and the coaches were making the teams, you could see that the good players were on the left side of the coach and the others were on the right. When it came to my turn I was convinced I was going to the left with all of the other good players but coach put me on the team on the right. I was so surprised and so sad. Even though the coaches were just picking teams with the eye test I was so sad, I was crying on the way home and when my dad asked me what happened and I told him I was on the D team he just laughed.”

“The eye test is real. If you are an athlete out there, go watch the movie “Moneyball” it shows you what the eye test is and what scouts do when it comes to recruiting. They go to camps and events to see who looks more athletic and who looks like a good athlete but a lot of the time the best players at those camps are fighting to get a look, they are fighting for an equal opportunity. How would I know? I was that player.” Micah Awe comments, “If I was a 5 star recruit, heavily scouted by Nick Saban and in the NFL right now I wouldn’t be able to create this app. This app is for people who are in the same situation I was in High School. It is to let every athlete out there showcase their talent to scouts and coaches equally, no matter what you look like or where you’re from.”

Moneyball scene demonstrating Billy Beane’s way to scout using numbers and science vs the traditional eye test

For recruiting High School athletes to go next level, the PurpleShift app can be a huge. It gives coaches and scouts accurate results to the standard combine and showcase activities all with a few clicks of a button. In a time where most things are becoming more virtual and working from home is more popular, PurpleShift can be a large part of the future of recruiting. The numbers are at your fingertips, scouts don’t have to travel to showcases, athletes don’t have to spend money to go to camps, it is all on your cell phone and that is why PurpleShift can not only help High School athletes get recognized by Universities at the next level but can also help athletes like Micah Awe who go un-drafted in the NFL and CFL Drafts. Posting your results on PurpleShift can act like your combine if you aren’t invited to the main combine hosted by the NFL or CFL and for scouts at the professional stage, whether that be in the NFL, CFL or the XFL they will be able to see how athletes on PurpleShift rank and measure to other athletes.

When asked about how PurpleShift can have an impact in the recruiting of professional and university sports in the future, Micah Awe, a petroleum engineering major at Texas Tech said, “This can be a perfect alternative for camps and showcases that everyone talk so highly about for recruiting. In 2020 there were next to no camps or showcases for high school athletes that want to go D1 and the only way some athletes were getting recruited if their seasons were cancelled was through workout videos, but what if you could turn those workout videos into a showcase? Well thats pretty much what is set up with PurpleShift, you do your training on a field, do your 40 yard dash, shuttle and all of your combine drills, send them into the app and then once all of your drills have been timed and measured coaches would see them all on PurpleShift, matched up against all of the other athletes that did the drills as well. Doing the camps virtually is something that could help a lot right now with Coronavirus going around but also in the future for families that can’t spend a couple hundred dollars to go to these showcases or even the Canadians that can’t travel, so that’s how PurpleShift can fit in the University recruiting field.”

REDBLACKS ink American LB Micah Awe -
Micah Awe with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL

“As for professional scouting, it can pretty much have the same impact. Just recently we saw the list come out for all of the players invited to the CFL Combine, well PurpleShift is a great platform for the players that didn’t get an invite. Even if you weren’t invited to the combine, it doesn’t mean your chances at a professional career are over. Take part in the combine on your own, go on PurpleShift and film your combine, coaches will see it there and it gives you an alternate opportunity at the official combine or camp.” Awe says.

Moving into future years, and possibly months as we enter the CFL and NFL Draft seasons as well as the NCAA recruiting season there is a good chance that PurpleShift gets a lot of attention from athletes and coaches around North America. The impact the app can have on the game of football, its recruiting in Canada and for overlooked athletes in the states can be huge. Seeing what Micah Awe has come up with will only continue to grow because of its potential, therefore if you are the least bit interested in PurpleShift, and what CFL linebacker Micah Awe has launched see the link attached to the PurpleShift logo below.

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