Latest recruits ready to bring winning mindset to York

York brings in a local commit and a commit from BC to their Class of 2017.

Philippe Girouard, a linebacker from Huron Heights Secondary School, will have a lot less to travel than Brandon Gandire, a defensive back from the Westshore Rebels (CJFL), when the two join the York Lions for the upcoming U Sports season.

Philippe Girouard

Courtesy of Philippe Girouard.

You always want to go somewhere where you feel wanted and that played a role in Philippe Girouard’s decision to become a Lion. “I chose to commit to York because of how interested they were in me. They wanted me to go there and play football for them and made it very clear,” he said.

“From the visit to talking to the coaches, they made me feel like I could come in and be a major part of their team and the plans they have for the future. I was able to meet most of the coaching staff and they were great and very confident in the York program in the upcoming years,” he added.

The Huron Heights Warrior (York Regional Athletics Association) said he thinks the York coaching staff is one of the best: “Head Coach Warren Craney has a very impressive resume coaching football.”

Originally from Newmarket, Ontario, the 6’0, 220lbs former York Simcoe Buc (OVFL) is interested in taking Kinesiology. If not that, he is thinking of doing a liberal arts program that gives him the chance to choose a major after the first year.

Girouard spent five years playing with the Warriors in high school. He said that over the past three years, he has been part of a very strong defense. The defense didn’t allow over 21 points to any team, including the number one high school team in the country, in those three years.

When he reaches the York Lions, he will be doing so with a particular mindset. “I plan the bring the same winning and tough attitude to York and try to accomplish goals similar to the ones I set personally at Huron,” he said.

Defensive MVP 2013, 2015
YRAA Junior Champion 2013
YRAA All-Star 2014, 2015, 2016
Rookie of the Year 2014
YRAA Senior Champion 2015, 2016
OFSAA Champion 2015

Brandon Gandire

Brandon Gandire goes for the catch. Courtesy of Brandon Gandire.

Brandon Gandire will be swapping the mountains of his home in Chilliwack, BC, for the skyscrapers of Toronto this September when he joins the Lions. While the cityscape may be different, he has found familiarity in York’s story.

“They’re building a winning culture from the ground up, just like what we did in Westshore this last season. I want to be a major part in that process like with the Rebels,” he said.

The 6’1, 180lbs corner is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and his goal is to get back to playing in the United States. “The offensive coordinator, Kamau Peterson, is also the strength coach who has CFL and NFL experience. My goal is to play in the NFL. Training athletes to their best is something he does well,” Gandire said.

“York has a great coaching staff with a wealth of knowledge and experience playing and coaching the game while still be relatively young,” he added. “They have a passion for the game and want to win more than anything, which works perfectly with my personality.”

Brandon Gandire celebrates his team’s victory. Courtesy of Brandon Gandire.

Before challenging the States, Gandire will have a chance to taste football in Ontario. “I feel I’m the best corner recruit in the country, so I wanted to go up against the best wide receivers and the OUA offers me that week in and week out,” he said.

He added that, “Blocking kicks is my favourite thing to do on the field and I can’t wait to block my first in the OUA.”

But, to get better, you need some guidance. “Coach Zak Colangelo is a great young defensive back coach who I’m excited to learn from and help me become the best defensive player in the nation,” Gandire said.

At the helm of the York Lions is Warren Craney, the head coach and defensive coordinator. Gandire was impressed with the way he presented himself. “Coach Warren Craney has seen it all,” the future sociology student said. “He’s a players coach with a school-first attitude, which my mom and I really like.”

In his short two and a half year career, he has also played with the Chilliwack Giants (Valley Community Football League). In 2016, he was a BCFC champion. In 11 games in the 2016 season with the Rebels, he had 23 solo tackles, five assisted tackles, two special teams tackles and two interceptions. His stellar play landed him the defensive rookie of the year award for the Rebels.

More from the stats department, Gandire can run 40-yards in 4.58 seconds, has a 38 inch vertical jump, 4.21 seconds in the shuttle and 6.84 seconds in the three-cone.

“Because of my short time playing the sport and my athleticism, I’ve been told I have legit professional potential,” Gandire said. “So why not shoot for the highest?”

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