University of Regina Rams head coach Steve Bryce announced Wednesday the commitment of 13 players for the 2017 season, including highly regarded LeBoldus linebacker Nick Cross.
The additions also include offensive linemen Maguire Abell (Peacock) and Tim Gauthier (Riffel), receivers Devin Csincsa (Kamloops Broncos), Blake Draper (Valley Huskers), and Nolan Slusar (Riffel), defensive linemen Garrett Beardy (Winnipeg Rifles), Travis Pelletier (Regina Thunder), and Paxton Seib (Campbell Collegiate), linebacker Dalton Kornum (Greenall), defensive back Dillon Zimmermann (LeBoldus), and athletes Carter Hewson (Luther) and Gray Lund (O’Neill).
Ranked by CanadaFootballChat.com as the top Grade 12 prospect in the province of Saskatchewan, Cross won 4A provincial championships with LeBoldus in each of his three seasons with the Golden Suns. He led the Schwann Conference with 41½ tackles in six league games played while also recording four sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception. As a fullback and running back for LeBoldus, Cross had 15 rushes for 233 yards and four touchdowns and 11 receptions for 201 yards and another four majors.
Cross also has extensive experience with Football Canada’s national teams. He competed for Team Canada’s U18 team at the 2016 International Bowl, won gold with the U19 team at the 2016 IFAF World Championships in China, and is currently in Florida with the U19 team at the 2017 North American Championship.
“Nick is a versatile player that plays the game at a high rate of speed,” Bryce said. “He’s an extremely physical player and is very adept at separating opposing players from the ball. Nick is a dynamic athlete that we expect to come in and make an immediate impact for us on both defence and special teams.”
Considered by the Rams coaching staff as the top graduating offensive lineman in Saskatchewan, Abell won three 3A provincial championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015 with Moose Jaw’s Peacock Collegiate. Abell, who played at centre and on the defensive line for the Toilers, played at two Football Canada Cups with Team Saskatchewan and won bronze in 2015 and silver in 2016. Abell also played for Team Canada’s U18 team at the 2016 International Bowl in Texas.
“Maguire is extremely powerful, has great balance, and good feet for a big man,” Bryce said. “He plays very aggressively, finishes his blocks, and just as importantly he’s an exceptional student.”
Zimmermann won a silver medal with Team Saskatchewan at the 2016 Football Canada Cup and is competing for Team Canada’s U18 team at the 2017 North American Championship this week in Florida. He finished his Grade 12 season with 13 tackles, two interceptions, and two pass breakups for LeBoldus, winning his third provincial championship in as many years with the Golden Suns.
Csincsa was a CJFL All-Canadian in 2015 after leading the country in receiving yards, finishing his final Kamloops Broncos season with 67 catches for 1102 yards and eight touchdowns. Draper comes to the Rams with four seasons of U SPORTS eligibility remaining after leading the Valley Huskers in receptions (43), receiving yards (487), and touchdown catches (3) last year, while Slusar had a completion percentage of over 60% as Riffel’s quarterback in 2016 but will come to the Rams as a wide receiver.
Beardy has four years of U SPORTS eligibility and compiled 28 tackles, three pass deflections, and a half sack last year with the Winnipeg Rifles, while Pelletier comes to the Rams after five years with the Regina Thunder. Seib helped Team Saskatchewan to a silver at last year’s Football Canada Cup and went on to collect 10½ tackles for Campbell Collegiate last year in his final season at the high school level.
Hewson, Lund, and Gauthier were also teammates of Abell, Seib, and Zimmermann – and previously announced commits Lucas Nurkowski, Ryder Varga, Dawson Mucha, Parker Hodel, Tanner Schmekel, and Ty Cappo – for Team Saskatchewan’s silver medal-winning team at the Football Canada Cup. Last season, Hewson rushed 110 times for 778 yards and five touchdowns for Luther and Lund finished with 49 rushes for 293 yards to go along with six catches for 186 yards and two majors for O’Neill. Gauthier was primarily a left tackle for Riffel. Kornum had 24 tackles last year for Greenall and also picked up 1½ sacks and a pair of blocked kicks with the Griffins.
The Rams now have 29 players committed as part of their 2017 recruiting class.
OL Maguire Abell • 6-0, 270 • 1st • Moose Jaw, Sask. (Albert E. Peacock Collegiate)
OL Parker Auchstaetter • 6-5, 295 • 1st • Assiniboia, Sask. (Assiniboia Composite)
DL Garrett Beardy • 6-2, 275 • 2nd • Winnipeg, Man. (Winnipeg Rifles)
RB Kyle Borsa • 5-11, 180 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Michael A. Riffel HS)
SB Jonah Branning • 6-1, 170 • 1st • Moose Jaw, Sask. (Central Collegiate)
OL Ty Cappo • 6-3, 245 • 1st • Muscowpetung First Nation (Greenall HS)
OL Theren Churchill • 6-6, 280 • 3rd • Stettler, Alta. (Edmonton Huskies)
LB Nick Cross • 5-11, 180 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS)
WR Devin Csincsa • 5-10, 190 • 5th • Winnipeg, Man. (Kamloops Broncos)
SB Noah Dheilly • 6-0, 180 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS)
SB Blake Draper • 6-3, 225 • 2nd • Chilliwack, B.C. (Valley Huskers)
OL Tim Gauthier • 6-2, 260 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Michael A. Riffel HS)
ATH Carter Hewson • 5-7, 165 • Regina, Sask. (Luther College HS)
OL Parker Hodel • 6-3, 275 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Winston Knoll Collegiate)
OL Matt Knight • 6-2, 300 • 4th • Regina, Sask. (Regina Thunder)
LB Dalton Kornum • 6-2, 190 • 1st • Pilot Butte, Sask. (Greenall HS)
ATH Gray Lund • 5-7, 160 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Archbishop M.C O'Neill HS)
DB Zachary Moore • 6-0, 180 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS)
OL Dawson Mucha • 5-11, 280 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Sheldon-Williams Collegiate)
SB Lucas Nurkowski • 6-0, 170 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Michael A. Riffel HS)
RB Jacob Palmarin • 5-10, 205 • 3rd • Lethbridge, Alta. (Kamloops Broncos)
DL Travis Pelletier • 6-2, 240 • 4th • Regina, Sask. (Regina Thunder)
DB Noah Sampson • 5-11, 180 • 1st • Pilot Butte, Sask. (Greenall HS)
DL Tanner Schmekel • 6-1, 230 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Michael A. Riffel HS)
DL Paxton Seib • 6-0, 260 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Campbell Collegiate)
WR Nolan Slusar • 5-11, 160 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Michael A. Riffel HS)
DL Blake Turner • 6-1, 255 • 1st • Calgary, Alta. (Bishop O'Byrne HS)
LB Ryder Varga • 6-2, 215 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS)
DB Dillon Zimmermann • 5-11, 170 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS)