OPC: Team Halton-Peel Underclassmen RB Brathwaite’s competitive fire

The countdown begins to CanadaFootballChat.com Ontario Prospect Challenge on the May 1st weekend.  In the days leading up to OPC, CFC will preview the teams, coaches and players participating in the big event.

Israel Brathwaite is a fierce gridiron competitor.

“It is who I am,” commented the 5’9, 135 pound running back.  “I am always competing with other players, against other teams and with myself.”

“I want to be the best.”

For the past seven years, Brathwaite has played for the Mississauga Warriors football organization. During that time, he has demonstrated his passion for playing a prominent role on offence.

“I play my position because to me it’s the best position on the field and it is best suited to showcase my strengths,” explained Brathwaite.  “I love to run, I’m fast and flexible.”

“I have elusiveness from the backfield. I think the responsibility the running back has to the game is my favourite part. I enjoy it because I can be the offensive weapon and I want to be. It’s fun to also have that pressure from your coaches and teammates. The pressure is what motivates me to become the beast during a play.”

A few years back, he experienced the highlight of his gridiron career.

“My best moment would be in 2011 in our championship game,” recalled Brathwaite.  “The very first play, I ran 62 yards and that won us the game against the Brampton Bulldogs beating them 6-0.”

Throughout his career, he has idolized and emulated NFL star running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.

“He exemplifies good character,” elaborated the Ontario standout.  “Despite the controversy he faces outside of the game, he has never let it interfere with his field play.”

“He’s never let his team down or his fans, especially me. He is a tall speed back with the physical ability to drop his shoulder when necessary. He’s been my favourite player ever since I’ve touched a football.”

This weekend, Brathwaite will compete in the Ontario Prospect Challenge (OPC) as a member of Team Halton-Peel’s Underclassmen squad.

“It was hands down a no -brainer because of my experience last year,” said the running back of why he decided to try out for OPC.

Every facet of the OPC process has been rewarding but also educational for Brathwaite.

“It’s been exciting to have my name out there and have the exposure to reach my goals as a player,” reflected the Team Halton-Peel running back.  “I also like to meet other young players and learn new drills.”

“The training and the drills are so much more extensive than my usual team training with the Warriors. It’s interesting to see how coaches from different organizations think. They all have brought something different to the table.

Head Coach Pete Wilson takes a different approach to offensive plays in comparison to other coaches I have trained with in the past. He uses different formations; his play-calling style is unique.”

Brathwaite is confident that he will deal with any nerves on game day with ease and is doing his part to prepare for the game.

“I believe I will handle the pressure just as well as I usually do,” offered the offensive standout.  “As I said before, the pressure I feel only pushes me to play the best game I can.”

“So I’m ready, I’m excited.  I’ve been doing various footwork drills, going to the gym and working on my durability with my older brother who plays CIS football.”

As OPC is a chance to impress and showcase abilities to recruiters, Brathwaite hopes to seize the opportunity of playing in a big game.  Already, he is interested in a few CIS schools including Western, Bishop’s and Guelph.  Moreover, his main aspiration is to play south of the border for an NCAA Division 1 team and would love to play for Rice, University of Southern California or Louisiana State.

While his career aspiration is to play in the NFL, the Class 2019 running back has a backup plan which is to pursue sports medicine and become a doctor.

Brathwaite’s current focus is on Saturday’s game against Team West and the objectives he’s like to accomplish on the field.

“My personal goals include improving myself and my position as a running back,” commented the Team Halton-Peel standout.  “I definitely need to improve my first step to increase my explosiveness.”

“I would like to end the game with 150 yards rushing, three to six yards per carry.”

Additionally, he hopes that his performance will put some attention on him.

“I am looking forward to the exposure and it’s an opportunity to meet other talented and dedicated players,” added Brathwaite.  “Getting to train with them and coaches with different techniques.”

One thing he cannot wait for is the opportunity to play with and play against other competitors participating at OPC.

“I am most excited to play with Jett Elad and Christian Porter, they have been like brothers to me, they’re a huge part of my life and throughout my football career so to take the next steps to achieve our NFL dreams together, it’s amazing,” said Brathwaite.  “I am also excited to play against Josh Munoz, he is a huge running-back who is trying to reach the same goals and exposure as I am so it is definitely going to be a battle but a good one.”

The running back hopes that OPC will take him one step further in achieving his future long-term goals.

“I want to be respected and recognized,” said Brathwaite.  “I want everyone to be able to see me and all the dedication, and the love of the game I have and for that to take me to the highest level possible.”

“I just want to achieve greatness.”

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




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