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Mustangs first wave of recruits span over five provinces; four CFC 100 have signed with OUA team

The Western Mustangs have announced their first wave of recruits for the 2015 season.

14 recruits have committed to the team, including four CFC 100 players – running back Cedric Joseph, wide receiver Brett Ellerman as well as offensive linemen Dylan Giffen and Nicholas Pinelli.

“We’re very excited to announce the commitment of these young men to our football program,” commented Mustangs Head Coach Greg Marshall.

Not only were the Mustangs successful in London, their home base, but their recruitment success spanned from coast to coast.  The composition of this group is from five regions -Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.

“It’s important at a place like Western to recruit nationally, we are always looking for top student athletes from across the country,” expressed Mustangs Recruiting Coordinator Tom Flaxman.  “Of equal importance is to make sure we are doing a good job recruiting in Ontario and our own backyard in London.”

With the addition of these 14 recruits, the Mustangs are one step closer in their quest to reach their ultimate objective.

“We’re glad these student athletes decided to join our program,” said Flaxman.  “All of these recruits will help us to achieve our yearly goal of winning the Vanier Cup.”

The following are the 14 newest members of the Western Mustangs football program:

Cedric Joseph commitment



Brett Ellerman commitment





Nicholas Pinelli commitment


The 6’6, 345 pound offensive lineman from London, Ontario guided the AB Lucas Vikings of the Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association (TVRAA) to an OFSAA Bowl victory this past November.

“Nick has the size and athleticism to be the next in a long line of great mustang offensive linemen,” assessed Marshall.

Jacob Misk commitment 1


The 5’11, 200 pound running back/wide receiver from London, Ontario will be reunited with his former teammate, CFC 100 Nicholas Pinelli. Misk recently led the AB Lucas Vikings of the Thames Valley Region Athletic Association (TVRAA) to an OFSAA Bowl victory this past November.

“Jacob joins Nick Pinelli as our second commit from OFSAA Bowl Lucas Secondary here in London,” commented Flaxman.  “These two players come from a winning program and know what it takes to compete for a championship.”

Jacob Misk commitment 3

Misk found everything he was looking for in the London, Ontario campus.

“I chose Western because it’s a great school known for its academics and athletics,” said the offensive standout.  “I’m looking forward to being a part of the program.”

As for the Mustangs, the team is looking forward to having a player of Misk’s calibre on their offensive unit.

“Jacob is a versatile player who can play both in the slot and as a running back,” added Marshall.

Tanner Cadwallader



Fraser Sopik Western Commitment


The 6’0, 205 pound linebacker from Aurora, Ontario comes to the Mustangs after completing his high school career with St. Andrew’s College Saints of the Conference Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA).

For Sopik, he ultimately chose the Mustangs over Queen’s and Wilfrid Laurier because it was the perfect fit for him academically as well football wise.  Moreover, family as well as his lengthy recruiting relationship with the Mustangs played a significant role in his decision.

“It has a great academic reputation and the football program is second to none in my opinion,” explained Sopik of his decision.  “Also, the relationship I have with the coaches is excellent.”

“Western was the first school to recruit me in grade 10 and was the first to offer me, so I liked that they were the first to truly recognize my talents.  When it came down to my final schools, I committed to Western ultimately because my Brother was there, and I can’t think of a better situation for me to enter in.”

Fraser Sopik 2

As for the Mustangs, the team has been familiar with the linebacker for quite some time and are looking forward to welcoming him into the fold.

“Fraser is an instinctive football player and that became clear while working with him at Team Ontario this summer,” added Flaxman.

Now with his decision behind him, Sopik is ready to compete at his new home.

“People often say that Western is too competitive and recruits too much but I am not afraid of competing and earning my spot,” said the defensive standout.  “There is a spot there for me to compete early on, and dress year one so it is up to me to work hard in the off season and win the job.”

Ben Bergamin commitment 1


The 6’2, 180 pound quarterback from London, Ontario recently capped off a successful campaign with London Central Golden Ghosts of the Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association (TVRAA).   This past season, Bergamin racked up 1723 passing yards (average of 287 yards per game) in 199 attempts, 15 passing touchdowns and threw only two interceptions in six games.

In 2014, Bergamin was named the co-recipient of the Bob Gooder Award as League MVP, selected as a London Tier 1 All-Star and Golden Ghosts Offensive MVP.  Moreover, he was a Team Captain.

“Ben had a great season this year; he was the co- winner of the Gooder Award given to Most Outstanding Player in London high school football,” added Flaxman.

Ben Bergamin commitment 2

For his part, the London pivot said that academics played a huge part in his decision to remain home.

“First and most importantly Western has a great reputation for academics,” elaborated Bergamin.  “I had a chance to meet with an academic advisor during my visit and I learned about a program offered that combines both of my interests in kinesiology and business.”

With his commitment, it is a childhood dream realized for Bergamin. Overall, he is looking forward to being instructed by a top notch core of coaches while contributing to the team cohesion in future years.

“I’ve grown up watching the Mustangs; I know it’s the top CIS program in the country and it is all because of their coaching staff,” expressed Bergamin.  “Greg Marshall has been successful in all levels of the game; he is a coach I trust and the coach I want to play for.”

“Position coaches are very important in my opinion and I knew Jamie Bone was the best. I’ve gotten to know Coach Bone over the past few years attending his QB Nation Camps and he truly understands quarterbacks, he has knowledge for the position that no one else has. I trust the coaches at Western and I know they will not only help me become the best player I can be but the best person I can be as well. Everything from the coaches to the team chemistry I felt at Western has made my decision very easy. I always believed in them, and I know they believe in me.”

Ben Bergamin commitment 3

Ultimately, the Mustangs welcome not only Bergamin’s talent and experience, but also the intangibles that will be an asset to the team.

“Ben has the tools to be an outstanding quarterback at CIS level,” said Marshall.  “His work ethic and leadership qualities are unquestioned.”

Josh Pinnock commitment 2


The 6’4, 315 pound offensive lineman from Ajax, Ontario joins the Mustangs after completing a stint at Canada Prep Academy.  Moreover, Pinnock has suited up for the Ajax-Pickering Dolphins of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) since the age of nine.

“We’re very excited about Josh joining our program,” commented Flaxman.  “He plays with a bit of mean streak and will be a great fit on our o-line.”

Marshall echoed Flaxman’s sentiments.

“Josh has a nice blend of size, athleticism and strength,” added the Mustangs Head Coach.

Josh Pinnock commitment 1

From the moment Pinnock stepped foot on the London, Ontario campus for his official visit, he knew it was the place where he wanted to commence his CIS career.

“As soon as I finished my visit at Western, I knew I wanted to go there,” expressed the offensive lineman.  “The coaches were amazing and did a great job making me feel like I was a part of the Mustang family already even though I didn’t go there.”

“The Mustang football program is easily one of the best in the country and produce o-linemen year after year.   Of course you can never go wrong by having a Western degree when your four to five years are up.”

Trevel Thomas Wright Commitment


Among the teams the 5’10, 180 pound defensive back from Etobicoke has played for include the Toronto Junior Argos of the Ontario Football Conference (OFC) and Etobicoke Eagles of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) as well as the Etobicoke Rams of the Toronto District Secondary School Athletic Association (TDSSAA)

Like Sopik, Flaxman has previously instructed Thomas-Wright provincial teams and is looking forward to having him as part of the Mustangs fold.

“Trevel was a pleasure to coach at the Canada Cup in 2013,” said the Mustangs Recruiting Coordinator.  “He will be a great addition to our locker room.”

Marshall added that the defensive back’s talent will be an asset to the team.

“Trevel is an outstanding all-round athlete and will help us in our defensive secondary,” assessed the Mustangs Head Coach.

While he felt comfortable at the London, Ontario campus, Thomas-Wright was also swayed by the tradition of academic and gridiron excellence.

“I really liked the family atmosphere I felt on my visit,” elaborated the Ontario defensive back.  “The players and coaches were all very welcoming, and the beautiful campus immediately felt like home.”

“I also was drawn to western’s historically elite football program, winning tradition, and solid academic reputation. The Mustangs Training Centre, led by Strength and Conditioning Coach Jeff Watson was a huge factor as well.”

Mohammed Sarikahya commitment


The 6’4, 320 pound defensive tackle will begin his CIS career on the home stage. Sarikahya previously played for London South Lions of the Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association (TVRAA).

“Mohammed is the epitome of a true student-athlete,” commented Marshall.  “He carries a high 90 percent average while excelling on the field.”

Ultimately, the strengths of both the academic and football programs tipped the scale towards the Mustangs.

“I signed to Western Football because the football program is incredible,” expressed Sarikahya.  “I didn’t sign up to Western only for football though as the academics at western are one of the main reasons why I’m going there.”

“I want to get into medical school, and Western has one of the best medical programs in Canada, so it wasn’t really hard to choose which school I would go to from the get go. Also London is my hometown, where my family lives, and I didn’t want to go to other provinces where I was offered scholarships, but were too far away from home. I get to see my family whenever I want.”

For their part, the Mustangs are ecstatic to welcome a player of Mohammed’s calibre to the team.

“Moe has a relentless work ethic both on and off the field,” said Flaxman.  “His blend of true strength and athleticism will be a force in the middle of our defensive front for the Mustangs in the years to come.”

Eli Sacco commitment 3


The 5’11, 215 pound linebacker from Saint Catharines, Ontario joins the Mustangs after completing a stint with Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs of the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association (NRHSAA).  In addition to the Bulldogs, he also suited up for the Niagara Spears of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL).

“Eli is a welcome addition to the Mustangs,” commented Flaxman.  “He is a consummate football player –tough, physical and smart.”

Eli Sacco commitment 1

Sacco said the Mustangs were the right fit for a couple of key reasons.

“Academically you can’t go wrong and the atmosphere at Western is great,” explained Sacco of his decision.  “As for football, they have great facilities, one of the best coaching staffs in the CIS and the culture of the program is phenomenal.”

Malik Besseghieur commitment 2


The Mustangs have once again been successful in their recruitment efforts on the West Coast.

Besseghieur, the 5’11, 173 pound receiver from Nanaimo, British Columbia continues a long standing tradition of Mustang recruits to come from that province.  He recently completed his career with Nanaimo District Islanders of the British Columbia High School Football Association (BCHSFA).  This past season, he racked up 693 yards on 23 receptions and scored 11 touchdowns.

Malik Besseghieur commitment 3

“We’re very excited to announce the addition of another student -athlete from BC,” commented Flaxman.  “Malik is an explosive playmaker who can turn a 5 yard reception into a 50 yard reception but has the speed to stretch the field vertically.”

“On top of being a great receiver, Malik is a dynamic returner and will help our special teams in years to come.”

Malik Besseghieur commitment 1

After his official visit, the British Columbia receiver knew the London, Ontario campus was where he wanted to continue his academic and gridiron pursuits.

“I chose Western because of the combination of their strong academic program and their tradition of winning football games,” said Besseghieur.  “The coaching staff and players made me feel at home during my visit and I could easily see myself living here for the next four to five years.”

Tyrone Hastings commitment 1


The 6’1, 250 pound defensive lineman from Winnipeg earns the distinction of becoming the third Manitoba player to be on the Mustangs roster.  Current players Sean Jamieson and Alex Taylor are the other players from the Manitoba region.

“Tyrone played for Team Manitoba two years in a row,” said Marshall.  “Tyrone is a welcome addition to the Mustangs.”

“He’s an added boost to the defensive line.”

Tyrone Hastin commitment 3

Hastings recently guided Oak Park Raiders of the Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL) to Provincial ‘AAA’ Title.  This past season, the lineman registered 48 tackles, recorded seven sacks, blocked two kicks and recovered a fumble. Previous to the Raiders, he suited up for the WHSFL’s Daniel McIntyre Maroons.

Overall, Hastings was impressed by the way he was received and recruited by the Mustangs football program.

“I have committed to Western because during my stay here,” elaborated the Manitoba defensive lineman.  “I honestly couldn’t feel anymore appreciated and respected as a football player.”

“Western is also one of the top academic universities across Canada’ the football players here seem so close and have a very strong brotherhood bond, so I really love that.  They also have a very great work out facility and have one of the best strength and conditioning programs in the country, but the thing that stood out most is that the coaches really care about their players and make sure the players are very much taken care of.”

Tyrone Hastings commitment 2

Furthermore, Hastings believes the Mustangs will enable him to achieve his future gridiron goals.

“They have also sent over a hundred athletes on to play professional ball so I feel that playing here will benefit me and increase my chances of one day playing professional ball,” added Hastings.

As for the Mustangs, the team welcomes the impact that Hastings will have on their team through his playmaking abilities.

“We have had a chance to observe Tyrone for the past two seasons representing his province on the national stage,” commented Flaxman.  “Tyrone’s pass rushing ability will be a welcome addition to our interior defensive line and will help to fill a need on our defense.”



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