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Gaels introduce seven football recruits
Posted: March 14th, 2014 @ 3:35pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Seven new prospects were inducted into the Queen's football freshman class of 2014 Friday, and whether its members yet know it, they're already generating high expectations.
"This is a good group," Golden Gaels coach Pat Sheahan said after the recruits - five from Ontario, one from Manitoba and another from British Columbia - signed their letters of intent at a news conference in the Athletics and Recreation Centre.
"I would put this one up there with the 2005 class, which ended up being a pretty good football team at the end."
No fooling. Among the players who attended their first training camp that fall, 10 - Jimmy Allin, Dan Bederman, Danny Brannagan, Vince DeCivita, Marty Gordon, Chris Ioannides, Jon Koidis, T.J. Leeper, Blaise Morrison and Osie Ukwuoma - were on the field in Quebec City on a cold day in November, 2009, helping Queen's win the Vanier Cup. Four others who were rookies in the autumn of 2005 - Thaine Carter, Trevor Potts, Tim Poffley and Dee Sterling - ended distinguished intercollegiate careers the year before.
That's lofty company, indeed, and quite an expectation to place before the new group.
"The criteria I use (to judge a recruiting class) is, 'Did you get what you need?' and this year it looks like we did," Sheahan said of the 15 players introduced so far, and 10 others he hopes to unveil soon.
"There are years when we needed a cover corner, and couldn't get one. Or we needed a great running back and there was none available in our academic range. The idea that we got what we needed is really what makes it (special)."
Before hitting the recruiting trail, the Gaels identified the greatest need as being on defence, where the team could lose as many as seven players who have been conference all-stars at some point in their careers. "There's no question we exported a lot of experience," Sheahan said.
"I'm happy to say that we've taken some steps. We've got some good linebacker types here, some good D-line types. We have some good speed and athleticism coming in this year, which never hurts.
"I think you'll be impressed with the work that the staff has done, the quality of kids that are coming. It's starting to shape up. Now, if we could just get rid of that foot and a half of snow out there, we'll get on to spring practice."
The players introduced Friday were:
* Avery Baker, a 6-1, 290-pound defensive lineman from Oshawa who attends Salisbury School, a prep school in Salisbury, Ct.;
* Cameron Fischl, an offensive lineman from Kanata;
* Donovan Hillary, a linebacker from Winnipeg;
* Michael Moore, from St. Michael's College via the Phillips Academy, a prep school in Andover, Mass.
* Carson O'Sullivan, a defensive end from Pickering, where "the first time we met him he was 6-6, the next time we saw him he was 6-7 and now he's 6-8," Sheahan said;
* D'Antal Sampson, a linebacker from Lorne Park in Mississauga, the school that sent Mike Boone to Queen's. Sampson is the third member of the team that defeated Frontenac in last year's OFSAA Bowl game to commit to Queen's;
* Jason Shamatutu, a defensive lineman from Coquitlam, B.C.
"They were all widely recruited," Sheahan said. "There was significant interest expressed by a number of schools for each and every one of them.
"Recruiting over the years has had its challenges here, there's no question about that. Trying to meet the mandate of a nationally competitive football program and also meet the mandate of a top-ranked academic university, sometimes we don't always get mutual co-existence. There's always a little bit of drama when you're going through that when you're trying to get your hooks into (recruits) and they've got to make their choices.
"This is a good group. I'm pleased with this group."
The Gaels are scheduled to start their spring camp March 26, and run it through April 8.
"My hope is that at some point, spring arrives," Sheahan said. "If we can't get out there on March 26, then hopefully shortly thereafter."
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