Oakville kicker commits to NCAA’s Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (VIDEO)

This past April, Merrick Sproule ended a two year recruitment process.

The 6’4.5, 210 pound kicker/punter from Oakville, Ontario committed to NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team, Central Connecticut State Blue Devils.  Sproule wlll join the team for the 2016 season.

“I have been visiting a number of D1 and D2 schools for the last two years,” recalled Sproule of his recruitment process. “I thought that last fall was going to be really busy, but ended up only visiting three schools.”

“My visits picked up a lot in January and my dad and I were all over the United States in January, February and March.”

Sproule and his father took in visits to 16 different schools including other FCS programs at Youngstown, Austin Peay and Robert Morris as well as Division 2’s Seton Hill. He did receive six offers but declined to comment on which teams offered him.

“While my coach knew what I was looking for in a school, it was important for me to understand whether or not the school and the program was a good fit for me,” expressed the Ontario kicker.  “There were a number of great schools that we visited that I immediately removed from consideration because the fit wasn’t right for me.”

Throughout the entire period, the Blue Devils were always high on the Ontario kicker’s considerations. During the winter months, Sproule was reconsidering his gridrion path when the Blue Devils resassured him that what he was looking for in a gridiron home was there.

“CCSU had always been on my radar but like I wanted to see what all of my options were,” elaborated Sproule, who took a visit to the school prior to March Break and officially committed to the Blue Devils on April 18th. “Very late in the process, I started to get cold feet and started talking to a bunch of JUCOs thinking that this could be a better path.”

“My kicking coach and I had spoken with Coach [Daryl] Daleen, CCSU’s Special Teams Coach, a number of times and really liked what the new coaching staff were doing and the way the team was responding.”

Overall, there were many things about the football program and campus that appealed to Spoule.

“I had the opportunity to meet the entire coaching staff before I committed and the vibe that I got from all of my discussions was really positive,” explained the Oakville kicker of his decision.  “CCSU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program is well regarded as academics are important for me.”

“It was also important for me to not be part of football factory, like so many of the large programs are. I wanted a good balance of academics and athletics.”

Moreover, a couple of other addirtional factors played a role in his decision to commit to the Blue Devils.

“Distance was also important for me,” added Sproule.  “Family is important to me and I wanted my parents to be able to see as many games as possible.”

Sproule began his gridiron career in grade 10 as he accidentally fell into the kicker position. During the past few years, he took measures to improve and develop into an elite kicker.  While he did that, he came upon the realization that he could be successful on the field.

The kicker began to have a different perspective which enabled him to make some changes in his academic life as well.

“At the end of the school year, I was introduced to my coach Adam, by a friend of my father’s,” reflected Sproule.  “There were a whole bunch of issues with the way I kicked, but something about the role clicked.”

“The impact that the role and my coach had on me has been substantial. In grade 9 and 10, I was going through the motions at school and not really knowing what I wanted to do. When I figured that kicking could take me some place, I started to approach school with a different outlook. My marks improved and I took more difficult courses. Kicking became a way for me to continue doing something that I loved and a way to continue my education..”

Merrick Sproule 1

Sproule spent his gridiron career playing for multiple teams including White Oaks Wildcats of the Halton Secondary School Athletic Association (HSSAA) as well as both the Halton Cowboys and Mississauga Warriors of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL).

Despite experiencing a roller coaster of emotions the past couple of years, Sproule is at ease now that he has made a decision on his future.

“The entire recruiting process is very stressful,” said the kicker.  “So the decision to commit was a huge sense of relief.”

“In the back of your mind you are always asking can I really do this and is this the right fit.”

Currently, Sproule is focused on preparing for the next phase of his career by training during the offseason.

“The school has me on workout plan which sees me in the gym five days a week,” described Sproule. “I’m already seeing some progress so I am very happy.”

“Besides school, I practice with the Mississauga Warriors twice a week, I try to see my kicking coach, Adam Tanalski, at least once a week and if I have the time I will go to the field and kick.”

While the Ontario kicker would like to make an immediate impact with the Blue Devils, he recognizes that it will come in due time and will seize any oppportunity that the Blue Devils will give him.

“I hope that I will be able to contribute immediately to CCSU,” commented Sproule.  “Ed Groth, a senior at CCSU, has handled all of the kicking duties for the last two years.”

“As a result, Ed missed four games due to injury. Ed has been kicking really well the last few weeks but has said that he can’t do all the kicking. While it would be a dream to start this year, I am hoping that we can push each other to do better and that I might be able to help CCSU in whatever way possible, being kick off or field goal.”

As he is about to embark on a new gridiron chapter, Sproule said he would not have been able to achieve his main goal without the encouragement and motivation of several individuals.

” I would like to thank my family for believing in me and pushing me to do my best,” expressed Sproule.  “They have been a great source of inspiration and have been with me at almost every camp and practice session.”

“I wouldn’t be anywhere without Adam Tanalski of Hammer Kicking Academy. Adam and his counsellors have helped to develop and refine my technique, as well as increase my range. I was looking at video from three years ago of me struggling to kick 30 yards. I’ve come a long way. I also want to thank the other kickers that I have had the opportunity to kick with. Each of them makes me work harder”

(twitter: http://twitter.com/vohra_ameeta)

 

 

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