Golden Bears stocking up on commits early

Two Alberta commits will stay in Alberta after signing with the Golden Bears.

The University of Alberta Golden Bears are in a little bit of a rebuilding phase, but Riley Szafrankski, a defensive lineman from #CFC50 No. 15 Harry Ainlay high school, and Austin Gordon, an offensive lineman from St. Joseph high school, will add skill and size to their lines after the two committed to the team.

Riley Szafranski and his sister. Courtesy of Riley Szafranski.

Riley Szafranski and his sister. Courtesy of Riley Szafranski.

Szafranski will be joining the team next season after finishing his final year with the Harry Ainlay Titans (ASAA). The defensive tackle adds size to the defensive line as he stands at 6’2, 240lbs. The Edmontonian will feel right at home on the University of Alberta campus, which is located in the city he’s currently living in.

“I chose the U of A because I’ve always been a fan of their program since I was a little kid, as well, my whole family went to the U of A. I look forward for studying at and playing for one of the top 5 schools in Canada,” Szafranski said. His father is a Golden Bear alumni, having played as a receiver for the team. His sister is currently on the U of A soccer team.

“The Golden Bears are not at their peak right now, but I think that they’re on the upswing and I would love to contribute to a program that has the amount of potential that the Golden Bears have,” Szafranski told Canadafootballchat.

He added that, “I’ve known coach Morris since I was playing peewee football and I’m a big fan of his coaching style, especially after working with him at Football Canada Cup this summer.”

Szafranski was a member of the 2016 edition of Team Alberta U18, which participated in the Football Canada Cup that was hosted in Winnipeg this past July.

The young defensive lineman has been playing football for eight years. In that timeframe, he won the Lineman of the Year award in 2013 with the Edmonton Mustangs (Capital District Minor Football Association) and in 2015 with the Titans.

While his football career is still in the works, Szafranski knows he owes his current success to his family. “I’d like to thank my parents for being great influences and helping me along the way of achieving my goal of playing football at the next level.”

Austin Gordon (right, #52) and his teammate, Alex Noel. By Logan Clow.

Austin Gordon (right, #52) and his teammate, Alex Noel. By Logan Clow.

Gordon, who hails from Grande Prairie, Alberta, was a member of the Grande Prairie Broncos bantam team (Grande Prairie Minor Football League) and currently plays with the St. Joseph Celtics (Mighty Peace Football League). The young lineman, who’s main positions include guard and tackle, is already familiar with Chris Morris, the head coach of the University of Alberta, having played under him with Team Alberta U18 at the Canada Cup in 2016.

“I have no words for it. It’s amazing. I have a lot of faith in Chris Morris. With him coaching the U18’, I got to know him and how he is as a coach, and who he is as a person, and I know that (the Golden Bears program) is only going up from here,” Gordon told the Daily Herald Tribune.

He added to the Tribune that, “(Chris Morris) was saying it’s not easy. Going down there is not going to be something simple, right? It’s going to be hard work and I just need to be physically and mentally prepared for what’s to come. I just need to seize this year and try to make it a memorable year.”

According to the Tribune, Gordon’s decision to commit to the Golden Bears was influenced by his former Celtics teammates, Zach Mann, Taylor Rempel and Zach Woodman, who were recruited by the Bears last season.


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