Acadia beefs up linebacker core

Acadia brings in two commits from Ontario to their Class of 2017.

Linebackers Franck Kemayou from St. Joan of Arch Catholic Secondary School and FPC Mitch Karel from Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School have had their different journeys to reach this point, but both can agree that they belong with the Acadia Axemen.

Franck Kemayou

Courtesy of Franck Kemayou.

When Franck Kemayou was 16, he decided that after five years of playing as a defensive end and offensive guard, he would switch to linebacker. “I always felt like I could put my athleticism to better use,” he said.

Two games into the season, disaster struck. Not only did he bruise his bone, he also tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus. But he came into his rebound year as a force to be reckoned with, starting with the Mississauga Warriors Varsity team (OVFL) and being named a defensive captain.

Now, the eight-year veteran from Toronto, Ontario, will have a chance to show the U Sports league what he is made of. “I just wanted a chance to compete at the next level, and the coaching staff made that possible for me,” he said. “I truly admire the staff because they displayed honesty on my visit. They were direct. They didn’t promise playing time or any other promises you could make.”

While the switch from a metropolitan hub to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, will be a serious change of pace, Kemayou is ready for something new.

“Being from a big city, I wanted to see how it would feel to live in a small town and discover other parts of Canada,” he said. “On my visit, it was amazing. The view was beautiful, the people are kind and genuine and the atmosphere of the campus is amazing.”

He added that he also committed to Acadia because of the value placed on family within the community. He said he is looking forward to working with the coaching staff. As for his academics, he plans on taking kinesiology.

Standing at 6’1, 205lbs, Kemayou has suited up with the Don Bosco Eagles (Toronto District Catholic School Board) before switching to the St. Joan of Arc Angels (Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association). In 2014-15, he was a defensive captain and defensive MVP for the Eagles’ junior football team. The following season, he was also a defensive captain and defensive MVP for the Angels varsity team. This past season, he won a True Warrior award with the Mississauga Warriors.

Mitch Karel

Courtesy of Mitch Karel.

Mitch Karel knows what it’s like to live in a small town. Coming from Greater Napanee, Ontario, which is west of Kingston, he will fit right in with Wolfville. “When I arrived at Acadia, I fell in love. The team made me feel extremely welcome and accepted me with open arms. The small-town feel reminded me much of home,” he said.

Coaches are often the driving force behind making a player feel welcomed in their present surroundings. While Karel was on his visit, he said the coaches took excellent care of him. “The entire coaching staff seemed super passionate for the game and extremely knowledgeable,” he added. “I especially realized that each coach had a personal connection with each and every player. I am very excited to get to work with these coaches for the next four years.”

University will be a balance between sports and academics, but the future sociology student said the main reason he chose Acadia was because he is a student athlete who also needs an education. “I felt I would benefit from the small class sizes and more personal relationship with my profs,” he said. Once he finishes his undergrad, he plans on becoming a police officer.

In his nine-year career, the 6’0, 230lbs middle linebacker has played for OPP football in Kingston, the Kingston Grenadiers (OVFL) and the Ottawa Myers Riders (National Capital Amateur Football Association). He also spent five years with the Holy Cross Crusaders (Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association).

While Karel has won a few championships in 2012 and 2013 with the Crusaders junior program, he was never able to clinch a title with the senior team. While with the Riders, his team advanced to the OVFL provincial final, however they weren’t able to capture the win.

Entering Acadia with a determination to add a few titles to his name, Karel will be taking the offseason to train with Sports Specific Training’s Tim Cronk, a Grey Cup champion veteran, to be in his best form for university.

In a few months’ time, Karel will be wandering the Acadia University campus: “I felt that this was an atmosphere where I could get a good education and strive to become the best player I can while still having fun.”

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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