National Signing Day: 6 Ontario Players Sign to Division-I Teams


National Signing Day: 6 Ontario Players Sign to Division-I Teams

For fans of NCAA college football, today is the recruiting Super Bowl. It is intense, entertaining and highly anticipated for 364 days of the year. Hats will be picked, props will be used, Twitter feeds will blow up, fan bases will react, it’s all apart of the spectacle that is now known as National Signing Day.

Today, North America’s top high school football players can officially commit to NCAA programs for next season.

Although it is just another day north of the border here in Canada, we do have a number of Canadian athletes signing today. Led by top-50 recruit Neville Gallimore, here is a look at where some of Canada’s best football talent will be playing next year.

Neville Gallimore, Defensive Line – Oklahoma Sooners (Ottawa, ON)

Last month Gallimore became the first non-American player ever selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Although he was injured and did not play in the game, the Ottawa native took the opportunity to announce his intentions for next season when he verbally declared for the University of Oklahoma.

His announcement highlights what has been a remarkable year for Gallimore, as he is easily the most heavily recruited Canadian football player ever, fielding offers from over 20 different schools.

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Brendan O’Leary-Orange, Wide Receiver – Nevada Wolfpack (Toronto, ON)

Another player from Canada Prep Academy, O’Leary-Orange is a 6-5, 203 pound receiver who should make a full commitment to the Nevada Wolfpack today.

O’Leary-Orange and Gallimore represent an excellent accomplishment for Canada Prep head coach Geoff McArthur, as his program joins New Westminster high school as the only two programs with two Division-I signees.

Jonathan Femi-Cole, Running Back – Minnesota Golden Gophers (Vaughan, ON)

Although not a high school program, the next two Ontario players both hail from Target Training in Mississauga, where trainer Jesse Korona has helped numerous players reach the NCAA, including Natey Adjei, Akeel Lynch, Tevaun Smith and now, Jonathan Femi-Cole and Julien Laurent.

Standing at 5-11, 218 pounds, Femi-Cole is a powerful running back who looks to follow in the footsteps of Tim Biakabutuka, Akeel Lynch and Tyler Varga, as the next Canadian running back to make a mark south of the border.

Fielding offers from Nevada, Buffalo and Minnesota, Femi-Cole verbally committed to Minnesota last summer and should be a great fit for head coach Jerry Kill’s upstart program.

Julien Laurent, Defensive Line – Georgia State Panthers (New Market, ON)

The second Target Training athlete to sign with a Division-I school is 6-4, 325 pound defensive tackle Julien Laurent. Laurent is a very strong player who fielded offers from New Mexico, South Florida and Georgia State, as well as interest from Illinois and South Alabama.

Prior to committing to Georgia State, Laurent spent last season at New Mexico Military Institute where he was a force along the defensive line. Since he was transferring from junior college, Laurent is already enrolled in classes at Georgia State and should be on the field when the team opens spring practice in a couple of weeks.

Wesley Annan, Defensive Line – Stanford Cardinals (Whitby, ON)

A member of Lake Forest Academy in Chicago, Annan fielded offers from numerous schools such as Boston College, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Rutgers, Syracuse and Virginia, before committing to Stanford.

Although he had offers from over 15 different schools, Maryland and Stanford were perceived as the front-runners for Annan since those were the only two schools he officially visited.

At 6-4, 280 pounds, Annan is a great get for Stanford, as tight ends coach Morgan Turner is accredited with recruiting the three-star defensive lineman.

Michael Tarbutt, Kicker – Connecticut Huskies (Grimsby, ON)

Most recently a player for Canisius high school in Buffalo, NY, Tarbutt will head to Storrs with fellow Canadian Hergy Mayala.

Tarbutt is a first-team All-Western New York selection and nailed a 60-yard field goal in the first quarter of the New York State Catholic High Schools Athletic Association championship game.

FCS Schools:

Dejon Brissett, Wide Receiver – Richmond Spiders (Mississauga, ON)

The second player to sign from Lake Forest Academy, Brissett is a 6-2, 175 pound wide receiver who is a phenomenal three sport athlete, starring in football, basketball and long/triple jump.

Brissett also trains at Target Training in Mississauga where he showcased his strength by trap bar deadlifting 465 pounds.

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  • Malcolm Chaka, Defensive Back – Cornell Big Red (Mississauga, ON)

    The third player to sign from Lake Forest Academy is defensive back Malcolm Chaka. At 6-3, 205 pounds, Chaka has excellent size for the cornerback position and should be a great addition to the Big Red’s secondary.

    Graydon Campbell, Offensive Line – William & Mary (Greely, ON)

    Playing at Episcopal high school in Virginia, Campbell earned himself a scholarship to William and Mary University.

    The Greely native also fielded offers from Bucknell, Elon, James Madison, Marshall, Buffalo, Liberty and Old Dominion.

    Elsewhere Across Canada:

    Harper Sherman, Offensive Line – Arizona Wildcats (New Westminster, BC)

    Matt Seymour, Defensive Back – Ohio Bobcats (New Westminster, BC)

    As mentioned above, the New Westminster Hyacks also have two players signed to Division-I schools, tying Canada Prep for the most Division-I signees.

    Head coach Farhan Lalji will send offensive lineman Harper Sherman to Arizona, and wide receiver Matt Seymour to Ohio. Sherman is widely considered the top offensive lineman in Canada and did also field offers from California, Oregon State, Washington State and Nevada.

    Seymour did receive a lot of attention from Canadian schools as a defensive back, but decided to play at Ohio as a wide receiver instead.

    Hergy Mayala, Wide Receiver – Connecticut Huskies (Montreal, QC)

    Dev Lamour, Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bulls (Lasalle, QC)

    A pair of wide receivers from Quebec will be playing Division-I ball next season, as Dev Lamour from Vanier College will be attending the University of Buffalo, while Hergy Mayala will be joining the Connecticut Huskies this fall.

    Brady Oliveira, RB – North Dakota (Winnipeg, MB)

    Zack Williams, OL – North Dakota (Winnipeg, MB)

    Mason Bennett, DE – North Dakota (Winnipeg, MB)

    A trio of players from Winnipeg high schools will join the University of North Dakota next year.

    6-6, 260 pound offensive lineman Zack Williams is capable of playing both tackle and guard for North Dakota.

    Mason Bennett was a member of Canada’s Under-18 2015 International Bowl team and has drawn interest from U.S. schools since his junior season.

    Running back Brady Oliveira will join Bennett and Williams to North Dakota after he bulldozed through the Winnipeg high school ranks. After attending Canada Prep Academy in his junior season, Oliveira returned home to Winnipeg for his senior year.

    Aside from North Dakota, he fielded interest from Eastern Michigan, Liberty, Nevada, Oregon State, Western Carolina and Wyoming.

    Troy Hansen, Line Backer – North Dakota (Kent School, AB)

    After playing at Canada Prep Academy, Hansen earned himself a scholarship to North Dakota this past season. He also visited the University of California last November.

    News & Notes:

    According to head coach Geoff McArthur, junior offensive tackle Sage Doxtater (Glencoe, ON) will officially visit Toledo University this spring and participate in Junior Day.

    – Running back Chivon Gallagher (Whitby, ON) of New Mexico Military Institute is fielding offers from schools, but is likely to sign after signing day.

    – Running back Jayde Rowe (Toronto, ON) of Chabot is fielding interest from Eastern Michigan and San Jose State, but will more than likely sign after signing day.

    – Penn State quarterback Michael O’Connor (Ottawa, ON) is leaving Penn State and will more than likely be pursued by many of the schools who recruited him coming out of IMG Academy.

    Those schools include: Akron, Buffalo, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Rutgers, South Florida, Southern Miss, Toledo and Vanderbilt.

    – A number of Canada Prep players including Kadel King, Mike Miller, Justin Deuce Julien, Justin Julien Sr. and Tyler Turner all have multiple D-II offers but are undecided.

    – Canada Prep Lineman Jonathan Zamora has enrolled early at Seton Hill.

    Next: Kitchener's Tyler Varga Impresses at Senior Bowl