3 to stay in Hamilton with McMaster

Marauders add three local recruit to their 2017 class.

The steel-mills and high-rise buildings of Hamilton, Ontario have surrounded free safety Joe O’Brien, long snapper Blaise Barber and linebacker Jake Baker from St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School during their football careers and will continue to do so after they signed with the McMaster Marauders.

Joe O’Brien

Joe O'Brien (right) and his Knights teammates.

Joe O’Brien (right) and his Knights teammates.

Joe O’Brien has been calling Hamilton, Ontario his home for quite some time. He first put on the helmet at the age of five. Now, he has the chance to put on the Marauders’ helmet. “McMaster has always been one of the top programs in the country and I’m very familiar with the coaching staff. As a defensive player, I am looking forward to learning from Coach Knox,” he said.

In most recent years, O’Brien hit the field with the St. Thomas More Knights (Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association) and the Hamilton Ironmen (OVFL). “McMaster has a very experienced coaching and as local kid, I’ve been around them for a long time and I’m very excited to get working with them,” he said.

The future social science student won two HWCAA senior championships in 2014 and 2016. The 5’11, 185lbs football player is also a two-time OFSAA champion in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, he was the Knights’ defensive MVP.

Blaise Barber

Blaise Barber and his family. Courtesy of Blaise Barber.

Blaise Barber and his family. Courtesy of Blaise Barber.

Blaise Barber is a five-year veteran of the sport who began his career with the Knights. Hamilton, however, hasn’t always been his home. He was born in Brainerd, Minnesota and spent his days south of the border before moving to Canada in the summer of 2011.

“That was the start of my football career,” Barber said. “In my second season of junior football, I was asked if I knew how to long snap and I had never tried before. But, I gave it a shot and wasn’t very good.”

Never swayed by disappointment, he took matters into his own hands. “I decided I wanted to be better at it so I could be someone the coaches relied on to snap the ball. So, I started watching YouTube videos and began to teach myself to long snap. Since then, I work on my craft, making adjustments and trying to get better constantly. And so far, it’s payed off,” Barber said.

Indeed, it has for the 6’3, 215lbs athlete who has found himself playing on Team Ontario in the International Bowl. Now, he will be bringing his self-taught talents to the Marauders. “Mac had what I believed necessary to achieve my athletic goals and work to become better,” he said.

“My decision was a long process,” Barber added “Mac has so much to offer athletically and more importantly academically. When on my recruiting process, Mac was a stand out school. It has some of the best athletic facilities to train in, from weight rooms, gyms, fields and athletic therapy.”

Blaise Barber gets ready to snap the ball. Courtesy of Blaise Barber.

Blaise Barber gets ready to snap the ball. Courtesy of Blaise Barber.

Under the tutelage of the Marauder’s coaching staff, Barber hopes to bring his long snapping to new heights. “Coach Segin was a coach who I got to know very well throughout the process and I believed he was the coach who could make me the best long snapper I could be and I knew he would be willing to do it,” he said.

Barber believes the coaching staff is one of the best. Throughout the recruitment process, he said they were great at answering his questions and keeping him well informed. “The staff at Mac from the head coach to recruiters to positional coaches have made Mac a great team and created a family environment with their players. I’m truly honoured to be apart of their family now” he added.

The multi-sport athlete, who has played high school basketball, frisbee, badminton, and touch football as well, ultimately chose football as his focus. Academics was not far from his mind either. “Academically Mac is known to have a strong history program and that is what I intend on taking,” he said.

“The program peeked my interest from the start and the courses I would be able to take suites me the best. Mac was just what I needed to attain all my goals academically and athletically. I would like to be a teacher and history (more specifically, Ancient Rome and Greece) is something I love so it just seemed like the perfect match,” he added.

Although his career is not as long as some, Barber has had his far-share of successes. He intends on playing on the Varsity Tiger-Cats (OFC) this summer.

Junior Football City Championships 2012-2013
Senior Football City Championships 2014
OFSAA Golden Horseshoe Bowl Championship 2015
Senior Football City Championships 2016
OFSAA Eastern Bowl Championship 2016
Special Teams Player of the Year (Knights) 2016

Jake Baker
Jake Baker, who has played as a linebacker and has been featured in the offensive backfield, was the Knights’ team MVP. He is 5’11, 200lbs. He told the Hamilton Scores that he wasn’t originally going to go to university, however he had the grades for it so he decided to pursue a post-secondary degree.

 

 

 

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About Canadafootballchat.com

Canadafootballchat.com (CFC) is the number one national amateur football website (source: ComScore.com) and most respected source for high school and recruiting news in Canada.  CFCs mission is to promote players, coaches, administrators, teams, & leagues from coast to coast. Powered by 40+ local reporters, CFCs content driven network covers Canadian NCAA & CIS recruiting, and high school players & teams like no one else.

About CFC Insider

The ‘CFC Insider’ section is for the fan, player, coach, parent, looking for MORE. The mission of this exclusive membership section is to give more recruiting news, exclusive rankings and multi-series stories as well as coach-player instructional videos.

 
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