This year will offer a number of young players the opportunity to step up in a big way. Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
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Men’s football team in the thick of 2017–18 season recruiting

This past year, the University of Ottawa men’s football team finished with a solid 6–2 regular season record in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference. However, for most fans, the 2016 season will be remembered for two devastating losses to cross-town rival Carleton Ravens, including the one that eliminated the Gees from the playoffs.

But with that behind them, the Gee-Gees are already in the process of figuring out what their lineup will look like for the 2017–18 season.

This process is a year-long affair, and with big players graduating, such as U Sports second team All-Canadians like quarterback Derek Wendel and wide-receiver Mitchell Baines, the Gees are looking for a big recruiting year.

Nathan Taylor, the Gees’ recruiting and special teams coordinator, provided the Fulcrum with an update on how the process is going.

“So far we think we’ve done a pretty good job. Coach Barresi has a lot of experience recruiting with 20 years in the NCAA,” said Taylor. “That went a long way going into how we are trying to develop a really solid plan going forward, targeting certain players.”

With quarterback Derek Wendel graduating, Taylor addressed who Gees fans should expect to suit up under the centre.

“For us, quarterback, we didn’t need to replace Derek (Wendel) (with a recruit) because we have a lot of confidence in Victor Twynstra, who is going into his fifth-year now.”

The air-attack will obviously take a hit, since both Baines and Wendel led the OUA in receiving and throwing this year. But head coach Jamie Barresi has been known for his great offensive mind, having experience with multiple NCAA and CFL teams.

Addressing the defensive side of the ball, Taylor feels that the Gees have some young, promising talent.

“We’re kind of hoping that we brought in some young talent to help out. We also have guys like Charles Goulet and Parker Bolton, who are second years that have played with us as freshmen.”

The Gees had three first-year linemen named to the OUA all-rookie team: Patrick Spelman and Piri Sinnathurai on the offensive side, and Tramayne Clarke-Stephen on the defensive side. These rookies have shown promise in their first year, and may prove to be impact players down the road.

Taylor indicated that they have between 34 and 36 recruits signed for the upcoming season. He suggested that number could definitely grow, since the Canadian process allows recruits to sign up mere days before training camp starts.

“We’re trying to really fill some holes, so it’s been a good class so far. We’re really happy with it. There is still a couple of players out there that could be impact players for us.”

Despite the loss of super-stars Wendel and Baines, the future still looks bright for the Gees going forward, with a big recruiting class this year.

Hopefully the Gees will manage to build on their record from last year, and have a better showing against their arch-rival Carleton Ravens in the 2017–18 season.