Nathan Rourke Joins the ToT-Cast


Edgewood Academy (AL) quarterback, Nathan Rourke (Oakville, ON), joined the ToT-cast last week to discuss his time in Alabama, the team’s 68-game win streak, his recent visits to Alabama and Mississippi State, and what’s next for the talented Canadian pivot.

Edgewood Academy (AL) quarterback Nathan Rourke joined us on last week’s ToT-cast. Here’s what the Oakville, ON native had to say:

Natey Adjei (NA): I’ve heard a lot about you and how you’ve become the No. 1 ranked quarterback in Canada. But first, I wanted to ask you, how did you become the quarterback you are today? What made you want to be a quarterback?

Nathan Rourke (NR): I love football. I love everything around football. I love leading the team and having the control that a quarterback has, and the responsibilities that a quarterback has. Going up to the line and having to think on your feet, think quickly, and the whole aspect of throwing the ball, making reads, controlling an offence up-and-down the field, I just love it.

A lot of people in my life have helped make me the quarterback I am. First of all, my parents, who have raised me in a way that I am really blessed. I was in a great family and great home growing up. Coaches back home, Mr. Joe Moscato, Mr. Larry Justanis, Mr. Tony Mandifino, and my current head coach now, coach Bobby Carr, all influenced me to be the person I am today.

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NA: Me myself, I’ve been around some pretty great quarterbacks, especially this year I’m playing with Ricky Ray, and when you talk you have a lot of the same characteristics he has.

Congratulations on getting to this point, and getting the attention that you’re getting. We’re all very proud of you here.

What is like getting all this attention now? You seem like a very level-headed guy, but what’s it like receiving this extra attention.

NR: I don’t want this to come across the wrong way, but I’m used to it. I had a lot of attention back home at an early age, so it’s not a lot of pressure. I know people are watching all the time and if I want to play at the next level that’s something I’ll have to embrace.

But there is a part of you that realizes, hey, this is Division-I coaches, these are big time schools, and they have a really big say in what goes around in football. So it does click at one point and you [realize] this is something pretty big.

With the position of quarterback you’re going to get attention with whatever you do, whether it’s good or bad, so I’m just having fun with it, and I’m having a good time down here.

NA: What’s it like going from a place like Canada, which is hockey crazed, to football crazy Alabama?

NR: It couldn’t have been a better place. Back home you always thought that this was the heart of football, and it’s true, this is SEC country and people are crazy about football. They love their college football and they love their high school football. It’s a great environment to be in.

The community I’m in right now is a typical small town that loves their football, and loves their high school football. They’re out there cheering us on, whether they happen to have a kid on the team or not, and that’s what’s great about football down here.

You didn’t really get that back home, unfortunately. Football isn’t the biggest thing [at home], but it is down here. So it’s great to be in a place where it is the main focus.

NA: I went through a similar transition going down to the states and playing football, and one of the biggest things I noticed was the speed of the game. Playing in Canada you think it’s fast, but when you get down there, it’s a whole different level. Talk to me about the adjustments you’ve had to make.

NR: There was a little bit of a transition period for me. I’ve had a great coaching staff, and a great group of players to play with, who have helped me grow from my mistakes and learn from it.

There was a time period, especially in the spring, where I struggled.

There are definitely some rules changes you have to be aware of. Some aspects of the Canadian game aren’t really there in the American game at all. Just little things really. I feel like to read defences, there is one less player to read and worry about, and I can see the field a little bit better because it is smaller.

The speed of the game for me hasn’t been any quicker or any slower.

NA: You’re a very level-headed guy, and I’m very impressed with you. What do you miss most about home?

NR: I left a lot of people back home, and I left a lot of good friends. I played with the same football program, the Burlington Stampeders, for a long time, and I was moving on from them at a time where I didn’t think I was going to be moving on from the, so leaving them was really tough.

I’m really glad that I get to live with my Mom, my Dad, and my brother right now, so that has made it a little bit easier. I miss a lot about home, but this is where I want to be, and this where I need to be if I want to take football any further, so I try not to focus on what I miss, and more on what I want to achieve.

Chris Okrainetz (CO): You’re in the midst of a 68-game win streak at Edgewood Academy, you guys are 9-0 this season, you’ve been lighting it up posting video game like numbers. Have you felt any pressure at all during this win-streak?

NR: The expectations for this program isn’t to have one or two losses and make the playoffs, that’s not the mentality of this team, or the team last year, or the years before. The mentality is to win, and win the state championship, and win every single year.

It’s not about just this team, it’s about all those teams that are a part of the 68-game win streak. It’s the coaching staff who deserves it, and the community who deserves it, so there isn’t really any pressure.

I feel that there is not a lot of pressure here because someone told me that you should only feel pressure if you’re not prepared, and I feel like this organization, and this team, really knows how to win and we are prepared.

CO: You said that there is no reason to feel pressure, and I know there’s a lot more school taking interest in you, and you seem to be dealing with everything quite well, but most recently UCLA and Florida have reportedly taken interest in you. What’s that been like?

NR: It’s been awesome. It’s been a little bit of a blur too, and I’m hoping that more comes out of it. But, those are schools you watch as a kid and are so far away from you, and you never think you could be a part of them and to even be mentioned by them is quite the honour. I would be blessed and very fortunate to be a part of either of those programs, and I’m just hoping everything works out down the road.

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CO: With these programs taking interest you, earlier in the season before we spoke, you said you went to visit Mississippi State, and I understand that you went to visit Alabama down in Tuscaloosa earlier this year. What was that like visiting Alabama?

NR: Alabama was something else. The program Nick Saban has is something amazing. To visit there and walk out during the home field warm ups and see the stadium was so cool for me because, for me, it was the biggest stadium I’ve ever been in and it had the most people I’ve ever seen, and it wasn’t even full yet. To see that was something else.

To hear the crowd when it was game time was something else. It was something I never experienced before. You don’t see that in the CIS. It was pretty crazy. I don’t think anything will happen from Alabama, but I’m just glad they gave me the chance to visit recruiting wise. It was a great experience.

NA: For people who have never seen you play, what type of quarterback would you say you are?

NR: That’s a tough question. I don’t describe myself as a dual-threat, or a pocket passer, I just think the No. 1 priority as a quarterback is to move the chains, no matter how you do it.

The way I like to approach the game is throw from the pocket and try to spread the ball to as many people as you can. But if something breaks down, I will try to make a play for the team and do whatever I can. At the end of the day, that’s what you need from a leader, and that’s what you need from your quarterback.

I have a lot of fun when I play, so I’m hoping when you see me play, you can see that aspect. You can’t really categorize it, and I have a hard time categorize myself as either or. I think there is a lot more to a quarterback as opposed to who can run it and who can throw it.

NA: With this process of you picking schools, what are you looking for in a school, a system, or a coach? You can start first with a system. What’s your preferred system?

NR: The system I’m most comfortable in is a spread offence. That’s because that’s what I played back home and here. But I’d be open to a lot of other ones.

NA: What kind of coach are you looking for? A coach that’s a teacher? Or sometimes coaches are yellers, or a combination of both. So what kind of coach are you most comfortable with?

NR: I think that the most important thing when choosing a university or school is the coaching staff. For me, that will be what I consider the most, which is who I will be working with.

I’ve worked with both, so I think it will be about the relationship we can find, and something we can build upon, and what kind of player I can be over the next four-or-five years in that program.

CO: For kids up here that want to follow a similar path to you, what kind of advice would you give them?

NR: I would say that kids should [head down] at least they’re junior year, if not sooner.

CO: Nathan, you’re setting a great example up here for a lot of players, but I got to ask you, is it Roll Tide or War Eagle for you? Or, are you a UAB Blazer fan?

Like I said earlier, you can only be one in the state of Alabama, so which one are you?

NR: I’m still Canadian, so I don’t have any vested interest.

Next: ToT Podcast: Argos WR Natey Adjei Joins the Show

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking on the link above. As always, thanks for listening and be sure to follow us on Twitter @TipoftheTower, and like our Facebook page @Tip of the Tower.