The 2020-2021 CFL off-season has been an extremely long one. The last time the Ottawa Redblacks stepped foot on the football field was November 1st of 2019 and the next time they will is August 7th 2021 and for the most part that will be the first time a lot of teammates see each other […]Redblacks’ Jerod Fernandez, Shaheed Salmon, Ryan Davis, Brad Muhammad and David Jones spend off-season training in Tampa Bay, Florida together preparing for 2021 CFL season — Lil’ Z, Big R
Watch and listen to Doctor Chris Raynor, Coach Jean Guillaume and Jordan Zlomislic breakdown their four-way partnership between their organizations Human Two Point Zero, Maroons Academy, JZ Media and also Limitless Era and how it impacts the city of Ottawa moving forward.
In the week 5 matchup of The Spring League’s 2021 season between the Generals and Sea Lions Canadian wide receiver James Tyrrell scored his very first professional football touchdown. Tyrrell, a Concordia University product caught 61 passes for 903 yards, averaging nearly 15 yards per reception in his final season of his collegiate career.
He has since found himself on the Ottawa Redblacks roster in the CFL however with the cancelations of the 2020 CFL season he wasn’t able to play out his opportunity with the team. To get back to that opportunity for when the CFL is back on August 5th he and a group of CFL/NFL free agents have suited up in The Spring League for their 2021 season in Texas and Indianapolis in a bubble set up. Over the first four games Tyrrell hasn’t made that large of an impact but scoring a special teams touchdown on the Sea Lions’ punt team he has now showcased himself as a great special teamer which is extremely valuable in the CFL, especially for Canadian receivers and offensive players.
After going 3-15 in the 2019 CFL season the Ottawa Redblacks have changed a lot of things. Just a few days following the last regular season game of the 2019 season on November 1st against the Montreal Alouettes at TD Place it had first been announced that the Ottawa Redblacks and head coach Rick Campbell were parting ways. The team later brought in Paul LaPolice and a fairly new coaching staff, having just Bob Dyce and Patrick Bourgon as returning coaches, and signed a large group of players on both sides of the ball headlining veteran CFL quarterback Matt Nichols. Nichols was signed by the Ottawa Redblacks on January 31st as a part of a free agency swap with quarterback Nick Arbuckle who had originally been signed by the Ottawa Redblacks on a three year contract but never played for the team, being cut by the Redblacks just hours ahead of the Matt Nichols to Ottawa announcement. At 34 years old Matt Nichols brings 10 CFL seasons of experience to the nation’s capital versus Arbuckle’s 7 career starts and being signed alongside a number of offensive playmakers like Jalen Saunders, Anthony Coombs, Timothy Flanders and Daniel Petermann that experience he has in the CFL is one of the three reasons why Matt Nichols is the right quarterback for Ottawa.
Matt Nichols has been a part of the CFL since October 13th 2010 when he signed with the Edmonton Eskimos after going un-drafted in the NFL Draft and spending two pre-season games with the Dallas Cowboys. He has since been a well known quarterback for both Edmonton and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, having played well over 100 games, thrown for over 18,000 yards and been a part of a Grey Cup winning roster. Out of all of the quarterbacks available in free agency the past two CFL off-seasons, Matt Nichols is by far the most experienced and will be a big help to the Ottawa Redblacks offence as there is a number of players that have yet to suit up in the CFL like Akeem Hunt, Amba Etta Tawo, and Brandon Hitner who each may be asked to do big things in the 2021 CFL season.
Along with the young players on the Ottawa Redblacks roster going into the 2021 CFL season, Matt Nichols will also be reunited with a lot of his former teammates and coaches in the capital, making his familiarity with the organization a key component to why he is a great fit in Ottawa. At the top of the list of players and coaches he’s familiar with is Paul LaPolice. Matt Nichols has played under Paul LaPolice’s offence since 2016 when LaPolice became the offensive co-ordinator in Winnipeg, Nichols’ first season as a starter as well. They have since been able to go 39-21 together over the 4 seasons with the Blue Bombers. A lot of those wins having to do with some key players that the Ottawa Redblacks brought in this off-season as well. Nichols will also be familiar offensive weapons Malcolm Williams, Daniel Petermann and Timothy Flanders who each spent time with him in Winnipeg like back up quarterback Dominique Davis. Offensive line coach Bob Wylie also spent time in Winnipeg in years 2015 and 2016 that Nichols was there, adding to the familiarity he has in Ottawa.
One more of many reasons why Matt Nichols is the right quarterback and will be great for the Ottawa Redblacks is his consistency and ability to win games. Since entering the CFL Nichols has been a winner, and has been consistently. He has only missed the playoffs in three of the ten seasons he has spent in the CFL, only one season being a starter, having been in the playoffs for the past four seasons and every season spent under now Ottawa head coach Paul LaPolice. Coming on to a team that just had the most disappointing season in franchise history in 2019 it is expected that he brings his winning mentality to the city and it shouldn’t be too hard to do so considering the pieces around him.
Nichols will be coming to camp in July at TD Place with the opportunity to throw to a lot of players, similar to those he had success with the last time he stepped foot on a CFL field in 2019. On his 7-2 stretch with LaPolice and the Blue Bombers Matt Nichols threw for 1,936 yards on 171 completions, and on pace for an MOP caliber season Nichols found his favourite targets Darvin Adams, Nic Demski, Drew Wolitarksy, Andrew Harris and Lucky Whitehead for a combined 15 touchdowns. Looking at the weapons named as well as key contributors Kenny Lawler, Rasheed Bailey, Janarion Grant and Chris Matthews, the receivers in Ottawa that Matt Nichols will be able to practice and play with aren’t much different. Big body receivers like Darvin Adams, Chris Matthews and Kenny Lawler all play similar roles RJ Harris, and young players in Ottawa like Justin Hobbs, Jaelan Austin, Shannon Smith and Wesley Lewis. Both Lucky Whitehead and Janarion Grant have speed receiver and kickoff return duties like DeVonte Dedmon and Rafael Araujo Lopes that spent 2019 in Ottawa as well as new comers Marvelle Ross and Ryan Davis. Receivers Rasheed Bailey and Drew Wolitarsky have similar tangibles and roles as those Brad Sinopoli, Jerminic Smith and Jalen Saunders could have with Ottawa in 2021 and lastly Nic Demski’s role in the Winnipeg offence could be replaced with the one Anthony Coombs has played over his career in both Toronto and Hamilton.
All in all, with the players Matt Nichols will be teamed up with in Ottawa and the coaches that are there to help him and his teammates the 2021 season should be executed much better than the Ottawa Redblacks’ 2019 CFL season was and be a successful season. It will also be a good opportunity to showcase why the Redblacks picked Matt Nichols to be their quarterback moving forward, for the experience, familiarity and consistency he brings to the Redblacks, only helping him adjust in the nation’s capital.
Tristan Ready signed to play football for the Carleton University Ravens in early 2020. The Ravens were getting a hometown, 6-foot-1, 195 pound receiver who has proven himself on the field at all levels including at football north, becoming the 4th ranked receiver in all of Canada and running a 4.50 40 yard dash, showcasing breakaway speed at the wide receiver position but they were also getting a terrific student in the class room and of the game. Ready, who had a 3.5 GPA leaving high school has been a student of the game of football since he can remember. He has always been very coachable and ready to learn more, but often it wasn’t the football coaches teaching him on the field, it was himself learning off of the field. “It sounds cliche but a good coach can change an athlete’s life and throughout my career I had a lot of great coaches but I also had a lot of bad coaches.” Ready said in an interview with Jordan Zlomislic of JZ Media, “When I was at football north I was trying my best to be the best receiver out there, to get the opportunity to play down south or get a good offer in Canada. To do that I needed to improve my game but it wasn’t that easy. I tried looking up as much information as possible about the wide receiver position and either there was no good information or the good information costs way too much.”
Tristan Ready found some information online about the receiver position to add on to all that he was learning from his coaches at Football North as well as other programs he has played at in the past but the experience of not finding enough information on the wide receiver position gave him an opportunity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, while most teams in Canada have had their seasons cancelled and haven’t stepped foot on a field in over a year, Ready launched an instagram account and a YouTube channel to help receivers around the world learn more about the wide receiver position. He in a sense created the platform he wishes he had when he was younger and now just a few months into the existence of “Receiver Teacher” it is shown that thousands of wide receivers around the world have also wanted a platform exactly like this for a long time. “Receiver Teacher” on instagram has now reached 18,800 followers, and the YouTube channel has hit over 2,000 viewers, some of the people seeing the work are actually professional athletes or college athletes like Ready himself. He said, “I’ve had some NFL, CFL and NCAA division one players and coaches message me and tell me how good the content is and how they are learning from it.” Tristan Ready told JZ Media, “My main goal has always been to stay informative, it is awesome to hear from people and know that it has been helping them but its also helped myself a lot as well.”
Ready will be suiting up to play his first season of University football with the Carleton Ravens this fall, and he’ll have his improved football I.Q to add on to all of the things he brings to the Ravens offence. Talking about his first season in University he said, “It’s going to be dope. I’ve learned a lot over the last year, and I’ve been training lots. This year will be my year to really prove myself and I’m excited to do so.”
When Tristan Ready says he’ll be proving himself, he’s not only going to be doing that for himself and the people at Carleton University but the thousands of followers he has built this past year as well as some coaches at the next level that have followed him and could have an opportunity for him. “My goal is to play pro, and I’ve built a following from some receivers coaches from division one programs and if I prove myself I can accomplish it.” he said.
While Ready believes coaching is in his future and with the Receiver Teacher platform he has created he only has a head start to it he is still very keen on accomplishing his goals set for himself and wants others to do the same. He said in the last quote of the interview, “Everyday do something to improve. As a person you should do at least one thing to do everyday to get better and work towards your dream. If you believe it you can do it.”
Watch Alain B. Cimankinda, a 2021 CFL Draft pick of the Saskatchewan Roughriders talk about his long recruiting process where he eventually came just two sacks shy of breaking the Guelph Gryphons’ sack record. His coaches, teammates and mentors all have a large amount of respect for all that he’s over come over the span of his life, not only in football but in school and on the streets having grown up in the projects in Ottawa, Ontario.
Jean Sorphia Guillaume, Willy Pierre Dimbongi, JF Joncas, Joe Forchtner, Nathaniel Anderson, Uriel Kalenga, Afram Jolak, and Joey Kwasniewski all talked about Alain’s time around them during his football journey and how he continued to fight for success, never giving up. Jean Guillaume commented, “Alain’s journey is one that should be told to all of the kids in Ottawa that want to play football.”
LaDarius Galloway spent the 2019 CFL pre-season with the Calgary Stampeders. He was battling with other running backs Terry Williams, KaDeem Carey and Don Jackson who all ended up making the Stampeders final roster and as a committee rushed for 943 yards and 5 touchdowns on 186 carries and caught a total 46 passes for 383 yards and a touchdown over the span of the 2019 CFL season. Leading the pack was former NFLer KaDeem Carey with 556 scrimmage yards and 3 touchdowns on 90 touches, averaging just over 6 yards a touch, however he and Galloway didn’t look too different during the pre-season, in fact they looked quite identical considering their style of play. Carey had 8 touches for 83 yards over the two showcase games, making it 99 yards total on 12 touches for the Carey-Jackson-Williams committee but University of Tennessee Martin product LaDarius Galloway had similar numbers with 82 scrimmage yards on 8 offensive touches.
Unfortunately Galloway didn’t make the cut after his pre-season campaign with the Stampeders, averaging over 10 yards per offensive touch but he hasn’t stopped showcasing his talents at the professional stage and at just 24 years old he has a long career left in him in the CFL or NFL if given the opportunity. Earlier in the 2021 calendar year, following the COVID-19 pandemic he was granted the opportunity to play in Ray Austin’s Fan Controlled Football League bubble in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 6 games in the bubble, playing 7 on 7 football in an arena Galloway was featured as the league’s best running back, running and catching the ball 50 times total for 351 yards and 7 touchdowns. Averaging over 7 yards per offensive touch in the start-up league he got the attention of coaches and scouts, enough to get a second opportunity to showcase himself in a development league, The Spring League.
He had his TSL debut on May 8th where he ran the ball 10 times for 95 yards and had one catch for 11 yards. He has since led the TSL in rushing after three games with 294 yards and one touchdown as well as 7 receptions for 40 yards. He averages 111 yards a game on 17 touches, 6.5 yards per touch.
Galloway and the Sea Lions have 3 more games left in the TSL regular season and will continue to showcase his talents to CFL and NFL scouts as he strives for another opportunity to play football at the next level. Prior to The Spring League’s season he ran a pro day with his agent, running a 4.64 40 yard dash, 4.35 shuttle and 6.89 3 cone drill. At 5-foot-8, 205 pounds Galloway is an elusive back with high potential. He could be a starting running back in the CFL or a backup in the NFL if he stays on track in the TSL and in the future.
In the 2021 NFL Draft the record, set in 2014 of four Canadians drafted into the NFL was tied. Jevon Holland, Benjamin St Juste, Chuba Hubbard and Joshua Palmer each got drafted over the weekend of April 29th while four Canadians, Amen Ogbongbemiga, Alaric Jackson, Bruno Labelle and Pier-Olivier Lestage signed undrafted free agent contracts making it 8 more Canadians being introduced into the NFL for the 2021-2022 NFL season. With 8 more Canadians going to the NFL we now see 29 total in the league and many more on the come up.
Having seen 7 Canadians get drafted in the last three NFL Drafts in Nkeal Harry, Chase Claypool, Neville Gallimore, Jevon Holland, Benjamin St Juste, Chuba Hubbard and Joshua Palmer it is clear that there is a growth in Canadian talent. There is also a big growth of exposure for Canadian players that we’ve seen over recent years starting with grassroots programs having players go down south to play high school football and then the number of Canadians playing in the NCAA. Soon the number of Canadian athletes being drafted into the NFL will be much larger than four per year and the next few NFL drafts are prime examples of just that. Going into the 2021 College Football season, with the list of Canadians eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft, the record of four players drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft could be doubled.
Brampton, Ontario receiver from the University of Alabama John Metchie is headlining the group of Canadians eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft. In the last two NFL drafts Alabama has four receivers drafted in the first round. The University is well known for producing talent at the position with players like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs each having success in the NFL in recent years and with 55 catches for 916 yards and 6 touchdowns in the 2020 College Football season, with a National Championship ring John Metchie has a very good chance of repeating exactly what the University has done with the previous players named. He caught 8 passes for 81 yards in the National Championship against Ohio State in January and recently was named the 21st best player in the 2022 NFL Draft class by ESPN’s Mel Kiper. He wrote on ESPN.com “Alabama has had a heck of a run on first-round wideouts, and Metchie could be next in line. Last season, he caught 55 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns for one of the best offenses in college football history. He played both outside and in the slot and was tremendous with the ball in his hands, averaging 6.6 yards after the catch per reception. Metchie will get his chance to be Bama’s No. 1 receiver in 2021.” On the list only Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Arkansas’ Treylon Burks are ahead of him at the wide receiver position.
After John Metchie there aren’t too many Canadian players as decorated as him going into the 2021 College Football season but both Daniel Joseph and Mohamed Diallo each have the chance to be on a defensive line in the 2022 NFL season. Joseph began his collegiate career at Penn State where he made 29 tackles, 5 sacks, one pass breakup and forced and recovered one fumble over 32 games as a Nittany Lion. He then transferred to North Carolina State University and played 10 games with the Wolfpack in the 2020 ACC season. Playing his first year in the ACC Joseph made a name for himself in week one of the season, making 5 tackles and two sacks against Wake Forest which went to his season totals of 37 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 3 quarterback hits. Right now the 6-foot-3, 265 pound defensive end ranks behind a class of players headlined by Kayvon Thibodeaux at Oregon, USC’s Drake Jackson, George Karlaftis from Purdue, Ohio State’s Zach Harrison and more but after being drafted fourth overall by the B.C Lions in the CFL Draft on May 4th it looks like scouts and coaches at the next level like what he brings to the football field so he might be able to find his way in the middle of the 2022 NFL Draft, like Mohamed Diallo, another Toronto native.
At 6-foot-4, 305 pounds Diallo has played 11 games with the University of Central Michigan over two seasons, playing his best football as of recently in the team’s shortened 5 game schedule in 2020. In the shortened season he made a total 18 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and forced and recovered one fumble. In the 2022 NFL Draft defensive tackles DeMarvin Leal, Perrion Winfrey, Jordan Davis, Haskell Garrett, and Tyler Davis headline the group ahead of Central Michigan’s Mohamed Diallo. Like Joseph, Diallo was drafted in the 2021 CFL Draft by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and has the chance to be on a defensive line in the NFL come 2022.
Also on the defensive side of the ball, Ottawa linebacker Jesse Luketa has a chance to make it to the NFL from Penn State University. Drafted in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2020 NFL Draft was Nittany Lions’ linebacker Micah Parsons who opted out of the 2020 BIG 10 season where Luketa took over for him and will continue to in the 2021 college football season. As the team’s starting linebacker in 9 games he made 59 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 3 pass deflections and one fumble recovery to go alongside the 31 tackles, one tackle for loss, and four pass breakups made in the previous two seasons in the BIG 10. Going into his senior season, with two more years of eligibility thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic Luketa will be eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft and if he breaks out, with the stage he will be on with Parsons out of the building he’ll have a chance to be drafted. If he plays out his eligibility he will be able to get drafted into the 2023 NFL Draft with a 5th year at University, which depending on his performance in 2021 could be something he does. Right now Alabama’s Christian Harris headlines the linebacker crew for the 2022 NFL Draft and Ottawa native Jesse Luketa will have to have a good 2021 season to be talked about come April next year but does have a good chance to do exactly that as do Canadian defensive backs Alonzo Addae, Patrice Rene and Deane Leonard who found themselves in the 2021 CFL Draft class.
Addae from Pickering, Ontario is at West Virginia where he played the 2020 College Football season after 3 seasons with the University of New Hampshire. At UNH he played in 24 games, had 61 tackles, 10 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles and one recovered. In 2020 he was able to play in 10 games on the Mountaineers defence with Ottawa native and true freshman All-BIG 12 defensive end Akeem Mesidor. Alonzo Addae made 66 tackles, one for a loss and intercepted two passes, broke up 7 and forced one fumble. Going into his second seasonal West Virginia and his fourth as a division one athlete Addae has a chance to make his presence felt yet again and get looks from scouts in the NFL, however at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds he hasn’t been getting too much attention from the NFL for the 2022 NFL Draft as a safety. Jordan Battle, Alabama safety is headlining the 2022 class at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds but behind the dimensions he and the other top safeties in the draft class have very similar numbers as Addae. Battle making exactly 66 tackles in 2020 with two extra games played, making only one interception and 4 pass breakups, therefore with that into consideration Alonzo Addae, if he stays on track for the season in the fall and tests well next spring could be a safety in the NFL come 2022.
Two other Canadians in the defensive backfield making their way to the pros after the 2021 college football season is both Deane Leonard and Patrice Rene. Rene and Leonard got drafted in the 2021 CFL Draft like Addae and have minimum one more year of NCAA eligibility left. Leonard, a 6-foot-2, 195 pound cornerback at the University of Mississippi played his first three seasons at the University of Calgary in the Canada West division of Canadian University athletics where in 23 games he made 47 tackles, one for loss, one sack, 6 interceptions, 19 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles and one blocked kick. He was then able to transition his talents to the division one stage playing in 8 games with the Rebels, making 14 tackles, 4 pass deflections and recovering one fumble. Leonard will be going into his second year as a division one athlete this fall and has the chance to get an NFL opportunity if he breaks out. Just ahead of Deane Leonard in NFL talks for next year’s draft as for Canadians would be Ottawa defensive back Patrice Rene. Rene has spent the past 5 seasons with the University of North Carolina Tarheels where he’s played a total 43 games, missing a lot of time with injury in 2019.
Over the span of the 43 games as a Tarheel Rene made a total 103 tackles, 4 for loss while also forcing four turnovers and breaking up 14 passes. He will be playing for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights for the 2021 BIG 10 season and should be featured as a starting corner back at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds with the chance to be drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. Rutgers has two cornerbacks drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft and have a good track history with the McCourty twins, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan all drafted into the NFL in recent years as well.
It is clear that these are all players to keep eyes on the stat sheets for in the 2021 NCAA season and should hear their names called on NFL Draft weekend however there are a lot more Canadians with the opportunity to be introduced to the NFL in the 2022 NFL Draft that aren’t as flashy as the skill position players. In the 2022 NFL Draft class Canadians Sage Doxtater, Liam Dobson, Patrick Davis, Sidy Sow and Dontae Bull are headlining offensive linemen and each are eligible for the draft. Doxtater, Dobson and Davis were all drafted in the 2021 CFL Draft and have at least one more season of college football left.
Also with at least one more year of football left at the collegiate level would be specialists Jake Julien, Game Siemieniec and Keegan Markgraf, defensive backs Jonathan Sutherland, Sydney Brown and Enock Makonzo, linemen Luiji Vilain, Tavius Robinson, Deshawn Stevens and Olivier Charles-Pierre, receivers Jared Wayne, Samuel Emilus and Nick Mardner, running back Chase Brown and quarterback Mike Beaudry. Keep all eyes on the Canadian talent eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft and expect there to be a continuous growth in northern talent in the NFL in coming years after seeing 8 Canadians entering the NFL in the 2021 draft class.
In the CFL there are 21 Canadians on every team’s game day roster. On each of every 9 team’s roster throughout the CFL season 7 of 24 offensive/defensive starters are Canadian, and the rest are typically American. The majority of Canadian starters and players in the CFL are found at offensive line, full back/tight end, as well as on the defensive side of the ball at safety, half back and linebacker. Americans are usually found at quarterback, running back, receiver, pass rusher, cornerback and outside linebacker and it is often hard for Canadians to fit in at those positions especially at the quarterback position. Since Russ Jackson’s career ended in 1969 with the Ottawa Rough Riders there hasn’t been too many elite Canadian quarterbacks. As of recent there has been Andrew Buckley and Brandon Bridge who each had small opportunities to play quarterback in the CFL however we haven’t seen a real Canadian starting quarterback in a long time and now we have the chance to see one more Canadian quarterback come in and compete to accomplish what past Canadian quarterbacks have like Russ Jackson.
The quarterback referred to is Nathan Rourke, a second round pick of the B.C Lions from the 2020 CFL Draft out of the University of Ohio. Rourke, a 22 year old from Oakville, Ontario signed a 3 year rookie contract with the Lions on Wednesday and is set to backup future CFL hall of famer Mike Reilly for the 2021 CFL season. Reilly has been a very reliable quarterback in the CFL, having played all 54 regular season games for the Edmonton Eskimos from 2016 to 2018 but after missing two games with the B.C Lions in the 2019 CFL season and at 36 years old there is a chance his time in the CFL comes to an end fairly soon. With that into consideration Nathan Rourke will be entering his rookie year in the summer in a perfect situation. He will have the chance to learn from Reilly in year one and likely year two while also having a 3rd year on his contract which could be used as a “prove-me” year if Mike Reilly retires following the end of his contract in 2022.
Rourke, while at the University of Ohio made a name for himself, being on the radar for the 2020 NFL Draft. Many had him as a top 20 quarterback in his draft class because of the outstanding career he had in the MAC. He’d thrown for over 7,400 yards and 60 touchdowns while running for 2,634 yards and an additional 49 touchdowns in just 39 games played. Adding two receiving touchdowns into the mix he averaged 2.8 touchdowns per game throughout his collegiate career. He is tied for second most touchdowns responsible for in the MAC with 111 alongside New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. That is more than Ben Rothlesberger, Byron Leftwitch, Drew Willy and more notable quarterbacks in the MAC record books. With his mobility and ability to not only move out of the pocket but run the distance makes Rourke’s potential huge, putting himself in a similar situation as a Vernon Adams or Cody Fajardo where he, with a lot of potential has the opportunity to spend a few years in the league prior to starting.
Nathan Rourke was also able to spent a rookie mini camp with the New York Giants just a few weeks ago at wide receiver. He wasn’t able to make the cuts at the Giants camp however he was able to get an opportunity to be around some NFL players and coaches, adding that to the experience he has going into the opportunity with the CFL’s B.C Lions.
In the CFL today both Nathan Rourke and Michael O’Connor are the only Canadian quarterbacks on active rosters, however with a number of Canadian quarterbacks now entering the NCAA there is a chance that we see more come into the CFL in future years, one being Nathan Rourke’s brother Kurtis. Kurtis Rourke played the 2020 NCAA season with Ohio after being sat aside in 2019. Over the span of three games he had thrown for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns on 30 completions and 44 attempt with zero interceptions. He is set to start for Ohio in the 2021 season with a Canadian backup in Callum Wither who just signed with Ohio this off-season.
Last week Wesley Tshimanga, an Ottawa-raised quarterback announced on his YouTube channel “Weezy Football” that he’ll be attending Los Angeles Valley College. Tshimanga spent the 2020 school year at the University of Ottawa where he originally signed to play however due to the COVID-19 pandemic he was never able to suit up for the Gee Gees. Although he hasn’t played in a game of football in over a calendar year and doesn’t have any experience at the collegiate level Tshimanga believes he can play in the NFL someday and is just one step closer to that goal by signing with the LA Valley College Monarchs. He said, “I’ve been training a lot recently. Learning everyday and I’ve been looking a lot better with my mechanics. When my coach (Myles Gibbon) posted a video and one of the coaches (at LA Valley) saw it I got a few messages from him. I did some research on the school and I’m just one step closer go playing on Sundays in LA.”
When Tshimanga got the messages from the coach at Los Angeles Valley College and did the research regarding the school he was sold on the opportunity. He is more ready than ever for the opportunity to play across the border and continue his football journey. “I’m focused.” Wesley Tshimanga commented in an interview with Jordan Zlomislic of JZ Media, “Its a big city, a big opportunity and my goal is to help the team win games, get my name out there and show everyone back in Ottawa that they can do it too.”
The YouTube video that included the news was posted on Tshimanga’s YouTube channel which he has used to help uplift the football community in Ottawa. He also has an educational instagram “QB1 Football” where he teaches the basics at the quarterback position, he said in an interview in January, “Its great being able to provide information to people around the world about football but one main reason why I do it is because I’m learning while I do it.”
Tshimanga mentioned, “If I can do it you can do it.” and continued, “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. You can’t be comfortable with what you’re doing if you want to be great. You have to be uncomfortable sometimes and that’s what I learnt, we have some ballers in Ottawa. I’ve said it a lot on social media and on my YouTube but its true and I’m excited to be able to show what I’ve got across the border.”
Wesley Tshimanga will be joining Ottawa running back Julien Moore at LA Valley College and will be coached by former NFL linebacker Lester Towns. Towns played for the Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins and has coaching experience at both the University of Alabama, Portland State University and Glendale College. He looks to make an impact as soon as possible under Towns and says, “I’m going to bring a different vibe. It’s going to be fun. We’re going to win a lot of games. Weezy Football stay tuned.”