Glenn Rogers Sr to be honored by the University of Memphis at upcoming game

On November 10th when Tulsa visits the University of Memphis for a Thursday night football matchup, the Tigers will be honouring former Tiger Glenn Rogers Sr. Rogers Sr will be a guest captain, out on the field during the coin toss, honoured at half time and will have his name and number on the field. He played with the University of Memphis for three seasons from 1969 through 1971, at the time called “Memphis State University” and was the first African American football player to play for the Tigers.

The defensive back was a student at the University and when he watched Memphis State University take on the Florida State Seminoles he took a good look at the team that was playing and thought to himself ‘I can play for them.’

He then went on to walk on for the Tigers becoming the first African American to suit up in blue, and 53 years later he will be recognized by the University for his mark on the school’s history. Nathaniel Brown, on the coaching staff at the University of Memphis and in charge of the alumni engagement told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “being a former player myself I take a lot of pride in this job. My outlook, and my vision (with his job) was how would I want to be treated currently because I’ve had some bad experiences myself and if I can have some kind of control over this then I don’t want anyone to feel how I felt.” He states, that a lot of the time for athletes, “when the team is done with you, the team is done with you and thats the one thing I want to make sure that the alumni doesn’t feel that way here.”

After hearing about Glenn Rogers Sr, Brown took responsibility to make him feel at home at the University of Memphis still. After reaching out to himself, and speaking with those at the University to make things happen, Rogers Sr is thrilled for the November 10th game between Tulsa and Memphis. In an interview held at the football facility, conducted by current Memphis Tigers defensive lineman Cormontae Hamilton, from Memphis, Tennessee, Rogers said, “what the University of Memphis is doing for me right now gives me a more inward fulfilment in my heart for the university itself as well as the city of Memphis.”

“The last couple of weeks have given me a good sense of pride in saying I’m a Memphis State graduate and former football player.” he explained, “I feel more comfortable today (being on campus) than I have ever felt in over 50 years… I get a lot of love here that I should have had years ago and I am happy to be honoured the way I’m being honoured today by the University.”

Miguel and Diego Camboia; being Canadians at Mobile Christian School

In 2022 it is a common theme for Canadian athletes to cross the Canada-USA border to pursue a career in their sport. From hockey, to track and field and all of the sports in between, the United States of America, as corny as it sounds is looked at to be the land of opportunity for athletes. Within the sport of football, a lot of Canadians tend to go to prep schools or boarding schools in America to further their careers in football.

These schools typically provide better coaching, development, exposure and opportunities than any places in Canada. Schools like IMG Academy have become more and more popular because of the success they have had with international student athletes, and the opportunities they have given athletes from around the world, but there are also a number of athletes that have crossed the border without going to a boarding school the traditional way. Two players that fit that exact description, and attend Mobile Christian School in Mobile, Alabama are both Miguel and Diego Camboia.

The Camboia brothers were born and raised in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. They were introduced to the game of football through their father, Chris, who played football at Toledo University (coached by Nick Saban at the time) and in the CFL, and it didn’t take long after their introduction to the sport for them both to get serious about it. Each of them saw the bigger picture within the game of football early on in their playing careers, starting up with the Woodstock Wolverines, and now continuing with the Mobile Christian Leopards, a jump not many would be able to make, but they’ have’ve made the jump, and have done so successfully. Miguel Camboia, a senior quarterback is in year three at Mobile Christian and has not only had a great time at the school, enjoying his time as a student, athlete and a citizen of the United States, but he’s also been playing the best football he’s ever played and he’s getting recognized for it. Being coached by coach Ronnie Cottrell for the Leopards, Miguel has been able to visit, and talk to a number of coaches at division one football programs across the country including Maryland where he has been offered a scholarship, a scholarship he once dreamed of getting, and something he had on his mind when he made the move to Mobile.

Making that move to Mobile, as easy as it may sound to some from the outside looking in, took a lot of sacrifices. It was a big leap of faith for Miguel during the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, and he wouldn’t want to have made such a big leap of faith without getting what he wants out of it. What he wants would be a long playing career within the game of football, starting off with the opportunity to play high level college ball, leading towards a professional career in the NFL.

Some could say he’s already at that point considering his offer from the University of Maryland, but like his younger brother Diego who joined him at Mobile Christian, Miguel Camboia is focused on getting better, and getting the best opportunity possible. In interviews with Jordan Zlomislic of JZ Media, the brothers from Woodstock told their stories, and explained why they are both in Mobile, Alabama, pursuing careers in football.

The interviews can be seen through the YouTube link above, and will be available on JZ Media’s social media channels as well. For more regarding class of 2023, senior quarterback Miguel Camboia you can visit his twitter attached, and same with class of 2024 offensive lineman Diego Camboia here.

Ottawa Redblacks receiver Siaosi “Sauce” Mariner to make CFL debut

On Friday October 14th 2022 Siaosi Mariner, wide receiver of the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks will hit a milestone in his football career. He will be playing in his first ever CFL regular season game.

Coming all the way from Kansas City, Kansas to do so, Mariner has taken a long journey to get to this milestone in his playing career and he is only going to keep going on this journey, and the path he is on. His first football experience was in Orange County, California where he and his family lived for the majority of his childhood, and then his career continued at Tustin High School. At Tustin he played not only on the football team where he made a large impact, but the basketball team as well. As a high school football player he did indeed have some hype to his name, and he tore it up in his senior year, but he still wasn’t as highly recruited as he would have liked, or thought he could be. “Me personally, I felt like I was under recruited.” he said, “I should have had like 50 offers or something like that, but it didn’t go like that for me.”

Mariner kicked off his collegiate career at Utah where he caught passes for the Utes. In 2018, in what was his junior year with Utah, he caught 17 passes for 209 yards and a score. Following that season, in pursuit to make it into the NFL, he entered the transfer portal and joined the instate rivals, the Utah State Aggies. He finished his career with the Utes with 52 receptions for 785 yards and four touchdowns, with a goal to improve at state.

As a senior with the Aggies, catching passes from Jordan Love who is now seen wearing number 10 for the Green Bay Packers, Mariner had the best season yet, solidifying his spot into the pros heading into the draft in April. In that season with Love, he was just 13 yards short of 1,000 yards, gaining a whole 987 yards in the 13 games on 63 catches with 10 touchdowns. The performance alongside one of the most talked about quarterbacks in college football that season set up Mariner very well leading into the NFL Draft, but once the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, things started to go down hill for him and his chances at the NFL. Without an invite to a major bowl game, or a combine invite, his real test for the NFL was going to be at the Utah State pro day with Jordan Love, but that was all cancelled due to Covid-19, and that led coaches at the next level to judge Mariner strictly on game film.

The pandemic made things hard on Mariner and his shot at the NFL, but he was still able to crack a shot at it, getting a contract with the Raiders. Not only did he come out of the pandemic with an opportunity still, but he came out of it better mentally as well. He was able to shine light on his creative side during the shutdowns, and it all set him up for where he is now, a couple professional football opportunities later in Ottawa, with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks, not only getting ready to play his first CFL game but in the mix of releasing his first ever custom clothing line as well in honour of the city of Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

Talking about that 2020 year, he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic in an interview about his creative side, and how he began “The Sauce Team” alongside his brother, and what he has in motion for the city. To learn more you can watch the JZ Media interview above.

“I’m in a place that I prayed to be at.” Melique Straker’s journey from Brampton to Jonesboro

There are nearly 130 division one, FBS football programs across the United States, each team carrying rosters north of 100 players, making it a total close to 13,000 football players on FBS rosters. In each of those locker rooms across the country, it took every player a different journey to make it to where they are and where they are heading. A star wide receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide is guaranteed to have a different story than a walk on linebacker at Middle Tennessee. As for Arkansas State Red Wolves linebacker Melique Straker, not many can say they took a similar journey.

Coming from Brampton, Ontario, Canada it is already hard enough to make it as a division one football player. From the coaching, development and exposure to the surrounding talent and competition, there isn’t much help in Canada to get to the division one level. It takes a certain type of football player, and a certain type of person with a certain mentality to get to that level. For Straker, he has proven to be all of that since the moment he stepped foot on the football field, and from that moment he’s been focused on becoming the athlete he is today. “I definitely got serious about football right from the beginning.” he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “since I started playing I always was focused on a dream I had.”

Those dreams that Straker had were to go to the NFL, something he is now getting close to, but even where he is at now, at Arkansas State, it took a long ways to get here.

He started playing football as a kid in Brampton in club football. He remembers getting into football through his dad, and his older cousins. “My dad told me before my first football game, ‘you’re going to go out there and there is going to be a play where you get hit really hard and from that moment on you’ll figure out if you want to play football or not.’ And what happened was exactly what he predicted. I went out there, got hit, and I bounced right back up. From then on I knew I wanted to play football, and I knew I had something in me to play football.” He then went on to play at Saint Roch Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario where he excelled on and off the field, getting an opportunity across the Canada-USA border at Saint Francis High School in Buffalo, New York. In Buffalo he got the opportunity to play American football, get better and showcase his talents on a bigger stage than the one previously set for him in Brampton. Then, for his senior year of high school, in 2018 Straker returned to Canada to play for Football North, a high school football team in Clarkson, Ontario that plays an all American schedule. At Football North he played with a number of other athletes that went on to play division one football, and he remembers it as, “a great experience.” he said, “playing in the states against some of the best teams was a great way to get better, and I will always appreciate the time I spent at Football North because of the experience and everything I gained out of it.”

While a few of his teammates from Football North went on to division one schools, unfortunately Straker didn’t get an opportunity to play across the border straight out of high school, but that didn’t stop him from working to get there. Out of high school, Straker committed to Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada where he played the 2019 U Sports season in Canada. That season he won the Carleton Ravens rookie of the year award, and made an impact for the Ravens despite the lack of playing time and opportunities.

The following Carleton Ravens season was then cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and without a season to play, Melique Straker wanted to become better in football, and he wanted to take advantage of the time he had to make something out of nothing. That following summer Straker went to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to spend time and train with good friend John Metchie at the University of Alabama. He was able to train, workout, eat and be around the Crimson Tide facilities as if he was on the team, to a point where players forgot he wasn’t on the team when it came time for the staff at Alabama to help him through the recruiting process to play division one football. Talking about the time in Alabama, and how he landed the opportunity at Arkansas State University, Straker told Zlomislic, “I was around the team a lot. And it was a great experience to be around that program with (John) Metchie and my brothers. When I was there the coaches took a liking to me, really seeing a kid with a dream, a kid with aspirations and a kid that can play ball. They ended up getting some good film of me when I was there and started sending it off to other coaches and schools around the country, and when Butch Jones at Arkansas State saw my film and some other coaches, they wanted to see me in for a workout.” A few combine activities and drills later the name Melique Straker was officially affiliated with Arkansas State University.

In just one of his first games at Arkansas State, he made a big impact, making 6 tackles against power five opponent University of Washington, which was then followed by another 44 tackles over the season, giving him a total 50 tackles in his first division one football season, alongside 3 tackles for loss and a fumble.

That season for Straker, despite it being a huge moment for him didn’t seem like a ” ‘I’ve made it’ moment” he said because, “I was already there.” explaining, “even when I was in the process and working out that summer I was mentally already there. I was working like I was, and even if I wasn’t there at that moment I knew I was going to (be there).”

At that stage, playing division one football, fulfilling his dreams, he is taking full advantage of what he has in front of him and the journey he has taken will only help him on and off of the football field moving forward in his career and life. Talking about that journey; playing for three high schools, going to University in Canada, spending a summer in Alabama, and making it to Arkansas State he said, “it’s taught me to be emotionally resilient, to emotional resolve and allowed me to have a standard of performance, of things I do over how I feel and thats something that allows me to say that I’ve learned, I have made it farther. With this emotional resiliency, times are tough, you can be in practice and something doesn’t go your way, you could be in a game and things don’t go your way but life is all about how you respond so I think that football itself is a microcosm of life so the better you are at the game in controlling your emotions, doing your job, being consistent, having a staggered performance day in and day out, thats the biggest thing I’ve learned and will continue to learn throughout the journey and in football.”

Being at Arkansas State, he did talk more about just being there in the moment with a full season of eligibility following the 2022 season. He said, “I’ve learned to try and base yourself in gratitude as well so like as all of this is happening and moving so fast at times you have to re-set yourself sometimes and remember there was a time where you were and now there’s a time where I prayed to be at so I think thats on elf the biggest thing, now that you’re here, also being grateful for it.”

Grateful for everything that he has, and what he is still in the process of getting, Melique Straker has 6 games left in his 2022 season, and with the NFL on the mind and in the picture, expect nothing but greatness from number 21 for the Red Wolves moving forward.

“I live football.” Memphis’ Geoffrey Cantin-Arku working hard to make a name for himself from Canada

At the University of Memphis, and across the NCAA there are plenty of football players with plenty of different goals. Many have the goal of getting drafted into the NFL and making a name for themselves as football players, some want to be good in the class room and get their degree, and some even have goals of just being good enough to have played college football, and be able to play on Saturdays, but for Tigers’ linebacker Geoffrey Cantin-Arku from Levis, Quebec, Canada, he has set goals for himself to not only be drafted into the NFL like many others have, but to also make his mother back home proud.

To be playing at the University of Memphis, a lot of sacrifices had to be made by Cantin-Arku. Moving across the border was one, and was something he did in 2019, first playing at Syracuse University, and another big sacrifice made by Cantin-Arku would be how he put aside any other possible hobbies to focus on the game of football, and the game of football only. In a sit down interview with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic the Quebec native told Zlomislic, “I live football.” explaining, “I don’t really have any hobbies. This is all I know, and I love it. I’m a grinder, so you will always see me getting better, and I want to be as good as I can at football because of how much I love it.”

Coming from Canada, football wasn’t his first sport, hockey was, but after playing football for one season it didn’t take much for him to forget about hockey. “I fell in love with it right away. After that (season) I never asked my momma to play hockey again.” he said, “I think I liked football because I was good at it.”

“I was always taller, and built a bit more than kids my age so I was able to play football well.” Cantin-Arku told Zlomislic, “I played quarterback, running back, linebacker, safety, I played everywhere when I started. I even played on the line at edge. It was a good experience.”

His football experience continued through high school and took him to CEGEP where he played at Garneau. CEGEP for those that do not know is similar to a Junior College, or a Prep School, just located in Quebec, Canada, and not in the United States. “I played at CEGEP for three years, when I was 18,19, and 20 years old. I played safety all three years there and my CEGEP coach took me to a camp in Syracuse where I ended up getting my offer.” he mentioned, “it was my first NCAA camp. I remember the only thing on my mind going to that camp was that offer. They visited me twice I think in Quebec before that so I knew they were interested, but it was the camp that made them offer me and it was great to have that opportunity.”

From that point on, he played in a total of 30 games with the Syracuse Orange. Starting off as a freshman, he mainly played on special teams, making just one tackle in 9 games. In 2020 in his true sophomore season he broke through, making 63 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble for a score against Duke. With less playing time than he would have liked the following year, considering the snap count, he had an even more impressive season than 2020 with 43 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and a sack. If he had the playing time he would have liked in 2021, things would have been much different, and having been named Pro Football Focus’ 7th top rated linebacker across the NCAA, he would be heavily talked about around the NFL Draft. That is why he entered the transfer portal, and transferred to the University of Memphis in attempt to make a big impact on the Tigers defence and raise his draft stock for when it is time for him to enter the NFL.

Going into this 2022 season, Cantin-Arku was draft eligible, and he still is. With two good seasons behind him, one big season this year with the Tigers would make him a good prospect for any NFL teams in need of a linebacker. 5 games in, he’s made 20 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a sack. To raise his draft stock, he’ll need to have a solid finish to the regular season and a good playoff run with the Tigers, or he can return to the University of Memphis for the 2023 season for his final year of eligibility. Either or, whatever happens, Cantin-Arku’s goals stay the same.

He is focused on being the best football player to his ability, and wants to make his mom, and the rest of his family proud.

Cantin-Arku and the University of Memphis Tigers take on the Houston Cougars on Friday for their 6th game of the season in attempt to go 5-1, on a 5 game winning streak. Next week there will be more content from JZ Media in regards to Cantin-Arku so stay tuned.

Quindell Johnson; a leader on the Tigers’ defense “soaking it all in” as a senior

Going into his last season with the University of Memphis Tigers, there was a lot of talk around defensive back Quindell Johnson. Prior to the season he was being looked at as an NFL prospect, and one of the top defensive backs in the NCAA. To say the least, he’s done a good job of living up to the hype, and staying humble at the same time.

So far into the 2022 season, Johnson has made 38 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups and one forced fumble. With seven games left on the year, along with any playoff games to be played, Memphis’ Quindell Johnson has a good opportunity to prove himself to scouts at the next level, and make his dream of playing in the NFL a reality.

Johnson’s play on the field is what has helped him make it to where he is today, being looked at as an NFL Draft prospect, and the average football fan could mistake that as the only reason why he is an NFL Draft prospect, but a lot of it has to do with who he is off of the football field. He is smart in the class room just recently graduating in business management at the University of Memphis and pursuing his masters in sports commerce right now. But what really catches the eyes of scouts at the next level, as well as people at the next level in general would be his leadership. He has been improving his leadership skills ever since he joined the Tigers squad in 2018 when he was a freshman, mainly on scout team, on a team with key players like Brady White, Darrell Henderson, Patrick Taylor, Antonio Gibson, Tony Pollard, Kenneth Gainwell, Calvin Austin, J.J Russell, Chris Claybrooks, Jacobi Francis, and more, who either play in the NFL or have found themselves in good football positions following their time playing at Memphis. Talking about his early days at Memphis, Quindell told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “coming in as a freshman I had the mindset that I would make a big impact right away, but when I came in I realized it was a bigger atmosphere, guys were way bigger than me, faster and stronger, so I had to really sit back and look at myself, look at what I could do compared to anyone else, nothing wrong with that, I just had to make sure I was ready, and prepared before I take that next step, so coming here was a journey.” and explained, “my freshman year, I didn’t play too much, did a lot of scout team, but going up against guys like Tony Pollard, Antonio Gibson, Patrick Taylor, and even Brady White when he was here, those guys, while I was trying to perfect myself, set up a good stepping stone for me because it gave me an opportunity to perfect my craft, the coaches seen it and by the spring of my redshirt freshman year we got a new defensive coordinator so that changed my mindset even more, because it gave me an opportunity to prove myself and show what I can do to new eyes.”

As a redshirt freshman in 2019, playing in 14 games, Johnson made 58 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 6 pass deflections. He made an impact early on in his first opportunity to do so, and only did more of the same as his time extended at Memphis. In 2020 he made 81 tackles, and as a junior last season in 2021 he broke the 100 tackle marker with 104 tackles, all adding up to 243 tackles, 28 pass deflections, 10 tackles for loss, 10 takeaways and one sack leading up to this season.

The stats and the film is flashy for Quindell Johnson and his resume when it comes time for the NFL Draft in April, but what really will make the biggest difference is how vocal he is on the field, and the leadership he has in the Tigers locker room. What is funny about the leadership he has today, is the fact that it is something he would have never expected when he was younger. Growing up, and early on into his football days he was quiet. He was a leader, and he was able to lead the teams he played on, but up until recently it wasn’t vocally where he was getting the job done. He led by example more.

In his interview with JZ Media and Psychletes he was asked about his leadership, where it came from and more. “Its really the way I grew up.” he answered, “How competitive I am and how competitively I grew up, just how my father installed the things that he did into me to become a leader and that helped me throughout my childhood, in high school and into now. I had to really grow into that role as a leader. In middle school and little league I was always one of the captains and I wasn’t really really vocal at the time but I always led by example and if I had something to say people would listen to me. In high school was where I became vocal. I had to come out of my shell. I had to really open up and talk more, and that was one of my weaknesses before but I know how to talk to people and I used that as a strength of mine as a leader.”

As a leader at the University of Memphis, the defensive back and business management graduate has helped lead the tigers to a 34 win, 17 loss record since joining the program. It has been one of the best runs for the program that he has been able to be a part of. In his senior year he looks to only add to that run and close off his Tigers career with a bang. He isn’t even focused on the future right now, he’s 100% all in for this program.

“I’m just trying to soak it all in and enjoy the process.” he said. It is the advice he got from a lot of guys that came before him at Memphis, players that went on to play in the NFL, and some that still play in the NFL. They encouraged him to simply enjoy the process, and not to stress about anything. A lot of players could be worried about the smallest things in this time period, or have big goals set for themselves to reach prior to hitting the NFL, but for Quindell Johnson, he has stayed calm thus far and is focused on the University of Memphis Tigers Football team. “Its going to be over eventually. (His mentors) know what I can do, but they want me to enjoy this college experience, take it all in, be with my team and be where my feet are at now. Thats one of the biggest messages I got from most of them (guys in the NFL) and thats really it, what I’m focused on.”