McGill beefs up their O and D-line with these newcomers

Redmen’s Class of 2017 grows by two more.

The bright lights, the big city, and the academic prestige of Montréal have drawn James Tees, an offensive lineman from Robert Thirsk High School and Nassim Ouadhi, a defensive lineman from Collège de André-Grasset to the McGill Redmen.

James Tees

Courtesy of James Tees.

Anyone who has been to Montréal knows that the city has a certain aurora around it. James Tees picked that up on his visits to McGill. “The facilities are amazing and the city itself is very historic and diverse,” he said.

Tees, who is interested in Nursing and Food Sciences, said he also chose McGill because of the school’s academic prestige. “The university has a lot of history and having a degree from McGill opens so many doors and it allows you to connect with a large list of alumni worldwide,” he added.

The 6’5, 330lbs lineman played nose guard during his three years with his high school team, the Robert Thirsk Comets (Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association). He found inspiration in two McGill alumni, which helped solidify his choice. “They’ve created an NFL offensive lineman as well as an NFL and CFL prospect in Qdar Spooner. I play offensive line so one day I hope to be like one of those guys,” he said.

“Another point is the coaching staff was very genuine and most of them are former U Sports players themselves so they know what it’s like to play the game. As well. the Québec division is the toughest in U Sports.”

While balancing school and sport can be a challenge, Tees has confidence in his new environment. “The coaching staff is very encouraging and wants the best for the players. They’ve created a good support system in order for you to succeed at McGill academically,” he said.

In 2015, the Calgarian played with the Calgary Cowboys (Calgary Area Midget Football Association). He won a division 2 city championship in this year. In 2016, he joined the Mavericks midget team (CAMFA).

James Tees (#64) displays the City trophy. Courtesy of James Tees.

Nassim Ouadhi

Courtesy of Nassim Ouadhi.

While Tees is trekking in from Alberta, Nassim Ouadhi is already pretty close to his new school. The Montréaler knows just what McGill has to offer. “It’s probably the best university in Montréal and one of the best around the world,” he said. “A degree from this school has a lot of value on the job market.”

On the football side of things, Ouadhi is impressed with the work of the Redmen’s head coach, Ron Hilarie. “Since Ron Hilaire’s arrival in the program, the Redmen have improved their recruitment, their number of wins, their defense, who has become one of the best in the country, and much more! The program seems to be growing in the right direction and I want to be a factor of their success,” he said.

“Head coach Ron Hilaire has a great football resume and I’m sure that he’ll be able to improve my game.”

Nassim Ouadhi goes to block the pass. Courtesy of Nassim Ouadhi .

As a resident of a bilingual country, Ouadhi understands there is a value knowing two languages. “I wanted to attend an Anglophone university because I think it can benefit me on a personal and professional level to be able to speak fluently in two languages since my mother language is French,” he said.

He added that he would like to take Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is fascinated with physics and math and he believes this bachelor degree will hold a lot of value when he enters the job market.

Ouadhi, who has played with Les Phénix du Collège André-Grasset (RSEQ Division 1) and Les Aigles du Collège Jean-Eudes (high school, RSEQ), is 6’0, 225lbs. While he is not very familiar with the Redmen’s coaching staff, he said they have all been very welcoming.

“I’ve been more in contact with the training staff. They look really professional. They gave us detailed plan of what our offseason looks like and the few workouts I had with the team gave me a good impression on them as well,” he said.

While with Les Aigles, he won a Bol d’Or in his second year. In his third year, he was awarded Lineman of the Year. In his final season, he torn his ACL. But, undeterred, he stayed with the team and helped coach his defensive unit. He as given a sportsmanlike conduct award for his efforts.

During his time with Collège André-Grasset, he and his team were unable to capture a Bol d’Or championship win twice, once in division 2 and once in division 1. He has been recognized as a RSEQ student-athlete with Les Phénix as well.

It has been quite the journey for Ouadhi, but he is not short of gratitude for all those who have helped him. “I would like to thank everyone that has supported me throughout my football career, my friends, coaches, teammates, family, volunteers and all the hidden actors that surrounded my growth as a football player,” he said.

“I would also like to thank the sports itself for all the good things it has done to many that have tried, for the life teachings it brought me and for the unbreakable friendships it created.”



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