The Gryphons feel the search to add members to their Recruiting Class of 2017 has been a fruitful one.
“We’re really happy with recruiting,” head coach Kevin MacNeill said. “We’ve gotten bigger and that was a big thing that we wanted to do, bring in some big guys both on offensive and defensive line. We were able to do that.”
The Gryphons had six players who used up their fifth and final year of eligibility in the 2016 season: receiver A’dre Fraser, defensive backs Colin Manditch and Tristan Doughlin, offensive lineman Kyle Fraser-Audit and defensive linemen Corey Flude and Donnie Egerter. Others who have been at the school for five years and not expected back include receiver/returner Ryan Nieuwesteeg, linebacker Andrew Graham, receivers Rob Carnegie and Colin Booth and offensive lineman Daniel Urbshas.
The Gryphons have had around 40 players sign letters of intent to attend the team’s training camp this August. While they wanted to add linemen to the mix, they’ve not narrowed their focus to a single position.
“We have a saying. We recruit to replace and we train to remain,” MacNeill said. “That’s the philosophy that we have with our players and they know they have to earn their spots every year. We want to bring in the best at every position so if there’s a deficiency somewhere, we also try to add more to that deficiency. For the most part, our recruiting has been solid enough over the years that it’s more of a steady trying to bring in a good group to every position to create more competition.”
The Gryphons have had nine offensive linemen commit. They include the Brampton pair of Daniel Miller (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) and Muyiwa Ojo (6-foot-3, 255) who both played at D’Youville Catholic Secondaty School. They’ve also signed Stuart Allan (6-foot-7, 340) of Oakville, Scott Johnston (6-foot-4, 295) of Hamilton, Thomas Williams (6-foot-4, 280) of King City, Andy McFalls (6-foot-4, 265) of Mississauga, Tyler Grisolia (6-foot-3, 295) of Richmond Hill, Collin Reece (6-foot-3, 275) of Smithville and Braedon Ashford (6-foot-3, 255) of Stoney Creek.
The defensive linemen include Eric Anton (6-foot-5, 210) from St. Thomas, Sandor Mod (6-foot-4, 255) from Welland and Mitchell Thiele (6-foot-3, 275) from Stoney Creek.
The search this off-season has also taken the team into New York State.
“We sent (offensive coordinator Todd) Galloway down to several games south of the border to watch a couple of prep schools,” MacNeill said. “We’ve kind of expanded down there and sent more guys down to that area.”
And that effort to get players from those schools was successful as they signed Grisolia from St. Francis high school of Athol Springs, N.Y., and wide receiver Zeke Margaritis (6-foot-3, 200) from Canisius high school. He’s a Hamilton native.
“We got some Canadian kids from down there that we’re really excited about,” MacNeill said. “All in all, we’ve got a really solid class coming in – one of the better classes that I think we’ve had in a long time.”
The Gryphons have signed quarterbacks Alex Brophy (6-foot-3, 180) from Mississauga and Alex Douglas (6-foot-3, 190) from Cambridge who also plays for the Guelph Junior Gryphons.
They’ve also added running back Aksum Polk (5-foot-10, 226) from Hamilton and wide receivers Tevin Doyley (6-foot-2, 190) of Oakville, Luke Williams (6-foot-2, 180) of London, A.J. Chase (5-foot-10, 180) of Pierrefonds, Que., Kyle Lavergne (5-foot-10, 170) of Haliburton, Ryan Isenor (5-foot-9, 164) of Delhi and Ethan Hill (5-foot-8, 160) of King City.
Defensive backs signed include Tyler Scholz (6-foot-3, 185) of Niagara Falls, Kyle Funk (6-foot-3, 180) of Markham, Ben Slinger (6-foot-2, 180) of Cambridge, Ben Lack (6-foot-2, 165) of Burlington, Brandon Schofield (6-foot-1, 170) of Burlington, Local District 10 MVP Simon Chaves (5-foot-11, 178) of Guelph, Sean Bennett (5-foot-11, 170) of Toronto, Ben Cadman (5-foot-11, 170) of Burlington, Kosi Onyeka (5-foot-10, 180) of Brampton and Joe Diorio (5-foot-9, 185) of London.
Linebacker/defensive back Dawson Elliot (5-foot-11, 195) of London has signed as have linebackers Jared Beeksma (6-foot-2, 186) of Cambridge and Aiden Mielczarek (6-foot-2, 185) of Keswick and punter/kicker Chris MacLean (6-foot-3, 195) of Brampton.
Among those signed are six ranked in canadafootballchat.com’s top 100 eligible recruits – Beeksma, Douglas, Margaritis, McFalls, Mod and Thiele.
While the players have committed to the Gryphons, the team won’t know until this spring what their recruiting class really looks like until the players are accepted into the University of Guelph.
“It’s too early to see,” MacNeill said. “For us, it’s still kind of a waiting game and we won’t know until really the end of May what the class is looking like in terms of everyone being able to get in.”
The Gryphons have scheduled their Meet the Team Luncheon for recruits and their families for May 27.