Akheem Mesidor, John Metchie and Isaiah Bagnah headline opening week of NCAA Football season as Canadians

College football is back and so are your favourite Canadian players. The NCAA Football season kicked off late last week opening up with a big game between both Ohio State and Minnesota on Thursday alongside games like Boise State VS UCF and Costal Carolina VS The Citadel where we were able to watch our fair share of Canadian content from Boise State’s Isaiah Bagnah, and Costal Carolina’s Enock Makanzo. Opening weekend of the 2021 college football season closed out with an Ole Miss, Louisville matchup which also featured some Canadians in both Deane Leonard and Tavius Robinson at Ole Miss but really the entire weekend was filled with Canadian talent, a common theme in the past few years of College Football seasons as the game improves north of the border.

Among the Canadians that had big games to open up the 2021 NCAA Football season was Alabama Crimson Tide wide out John Metchie. Metchie is a projected first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, coming out of the wide receiver powerhouse at Alabama and is living up to the hype so far. The Brampton, Ontario native is coming off of a 916 yard, 6 touchdown season where he was a primary target for Mac Jones in the Crimson Tide offence. Now switching up the quarterback room a little bit and seeing both DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle move on to NFL opportunities Metchie has become Bryce Young’s favourite target in the defending national champions offence. In his first game as the number one receiver Metchie caught 6 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown in a 44-13 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. He is in for a big game against Mercer this week and with New Mexico State University and Southern Mississippi University still to come it won’t be too hard for Metchie to rack up the stats this year, however the games that will count the most in his favour moving on and into the 2022 NFL Draft will be those against Florida, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, LSU and Auburn who each host a number of future NFL stars.

MORGANTOWN, WV – NOVEMBER 14: West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor (90) celebrates after making a sack during the fourth quarter of the college football game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers on November 14, 2020, at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Alongside Metchie, another Canadian that showed out big over the weekend was West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman out of Ottawa Akheem Mesidor. Mesidor played for the North Gloucester Giants and trained with Gridiron Academy in Ottawa before making a name for himself at Clearwater Academy International where he played for Coach Jesse Chinchar and received numerous offers from power 5 programs and now one year into his collegiate career it is clear that Mesidor was worth the hype during his recruitment. During his freshman season at West Virginia Akheem Mesidor was fast off of the edge and got to the quarterback for 5 sacks. He also made 32 total tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss over the 10 games played, being named a first team freshman All-American by ESPN and was recognized by coaches around the Big-12, being added to some of their All-Conference lists while accomplishing a lot in the classroom, finding his name on the Big-12 Conference Commissioner’s honor roll as he majors in sports management. In Mesidor’s opening game of his sophomore season, adjusting well to his new position in the interior defensive line he made a total 9 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against the Maryland Terrapins. Mesidor’s defensive line coach Andrew Jackson was interviewed pre-season regarding Mesidor and how he thinks he can do in the new position. He said, “I think he’s going to be really damn good. I don’t know what the end goal of that is or what that means but I can see that guy playing on Sundays.”

One other top performer from week one of the 2021college football season coming from north of the border is on the defensive line as well in Isaiah Bagnah who previously mentioned suited up against the UCF Knights as a part of the opening kickoff of the season last Thursday. The Boise State edge rusher from Lethbridge, Alberta is coming off of a 16 tackle, 3 sack, 4.5 tackle for loss season in 2020 where he played just 7 games and looks to be on pace to match or exceed those numbers this season as we are just one week into the season. Bagnah, according to ESPN’s box score from the game against UCF made 4 tackles and 2 sacks in his first game as a redshirt sophomore. The game ranks among the top performances from Canadians in week one of the season and proves that he is able to play with the talent in the NCAA, giving him a good look moving forward as he is draft eligible next season.

Also worth mentioning from the first week of the 2021 College Football season are the outstanding performances of Syracuse’s Geoff Cantin-Arku who came up with 7 tackles in a win over Ohio, Jonathan Sutherland who shined with 7 tackles alongside Jesse Luke’s 5 tackles and quarterback hit in a 16-10 Penn State win over Wisconsin, Maine’s Michael Monios’ 4 catch, 58 yard, one touchdown game against Delaware, Jet Elad’s 6 tackles for Ohio, UConn’s Lwal Ugak’s 7 tackle game on the defensive line, Enock Makanzo’s 5 tackles in a 52-14 Costal Carolina win, Jared Wayne from Pitt’s 6 catch, 55 yard game, Ludovic Choquette’s versatile offensive game with 5 carries for 23 yards and 4 catches for 30 yards for Western Illinois and Fabrice Mukendi’s debut with Bryant University which features 2 carries for 19 yards and a score.

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