Rams announce offensive players

Recruiting class grows to 36 as Rams announce commitment of 19 offensive players

University of Regina Rams head coach Steve Bryce announced Thursday the commitments of 19 student-athletes on the offensive side of the ball for the upcoming 2018 season.

Just like the defensive class announced Wednesday, the offensive class is headlined by a pair of players that have accrued experience at the international level with Team Canada. LeBoldus quarterback Josh Donnelly (pictured) was part of Canada’s U19 team at the 2017 North American Championship, while offensive lineman Nathan Raymond (Moosomin Generals) is a two-time member of Team Canada’s U18 program.

“We’re exceptionally excited to add what we consider to be the top graduating athletes in the province at their position,” Bryce said. “Josh might not only be the top Grade 12 quarterback in Saskatchewan, but across the entire nation. Nathan anchored the Team Canada line at right guard and has the raw ability to develop into a CFL prospect down the line.”

The Rams also pick up a pair of talented local receivers in Kris Calcutt (Regina Thunder) and Bennett Stusek (Campbell Collegiate). Calcutt had a promising 2017 season cut short due to injury, but showed his talents in 2016 when he earned Prairie Football Conference all-star honours after catching 32 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns with the Thunder. Stusek, who was a teammate of Raymond’s for Team Canada at the U18 level earlier this year, comes to the Rams directly from the high school ranks and last year helped lead the Campbell Tartans to the school’s first 4A provincial championship since 2010.

“Both Kris and Bennett are extremely exciting football players that will make our offence significantly better with their crisp route-running and ability to be very active after the catch,” Bryce said. “With Thomas Huber, Mitchell Picton, Mitch Thompson, and Brady Eurich all graduating, these two players will have a chance to come in and make an immediate impact for us.”

Calcutt is one of eight offensive recruits coming to the Rams from the junior football ranks. Receiver Sam Mike (Saskatoon Hilltops) was an All-Canadian in 2016 and won four consecutive Canadian Bowl titles alongside teammate Colin Stumborg, a fullback who will also join the Rams in 2018. The Rams also pick up a talented receiver in Shamar Donelson (Okanagan Sun), while the other four are all on the offensive line – Isaiah Breland (Winnipeg Rifles), Brayden Moroz (Regina Thunder), Matthew Robinson (Okanagan Sun), and Brayden Vandermeer (Calgary Colts).

“We were very particular about going after this group of players because of what we feel they’ll be able to contribute to this team,” Bryce said. “Calcutt and Sam Mike come in at a time when we’ve graduated four receivers, we love the leadership abilities that Colin Stumborg showed with a winning program, and the four offensive linemen will help solve the depth issues we ran into at that position last season.”

And besides Donnelly, Raymond, and Stusek, the Rams will add eight other offensive players directly from high school. Matt Rivers (Campbell Collegiate) quarterbacked the Tartans to the provincial championship this past season but will come in as a receiver, while Dallen Keen (Miller Comprehensive HS) and Tyler Lalonde (Michael A. Riffel HS) also come to the Rams from Regina-based schools. The Rams add five players from high schools elsewhere in Saskatchewan including Raymond and his teammate Jayse Easton (Moosomin Generals), who put up gaudy numbers as a running back in the Manitoba Rural Football League. Offensive linemen Zach Miller (Indian Head HS), Brodan Rempel (Albert E. Peacock Collegiate), and Apete Tuiloma (North Battleford Comprehensive HS) will also come to the U of R, while receiver Riley Boersma is the lone out-of-province recruit coming from Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada based in St. Catharines, Ont.

“We’re bringing in a very diverse group of athletes out of high school this season, but these are guys that have a chance to develop into quality players at the U SPORTS level,” Bryce said. “Riley Boersma is ranked in Canada Football Chat’s top 100 players nationally, and Dallen Keen and Tyler Lalonde are both prolific receivers that have played well at the high school and provincial levels.”

The Rams will get their first look at their recruiting class at their annual spring camp, which they’ll hold this Friday through Sunday. Friday’s walkthrough is planned for 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the U of R Field, with Saturday and Sunday morning practices to be held from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM at the EventPlex at Evraz Place.

CFC100 REC Riley Boersma • 5-11, 170 • 1st • Cambridge, Ont. (Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada)
–    Teammate of fellow Rams recruit Chase Ellingson at RICC in St. Catharines, Ont.
–    One of the Knights’ team captains in 2017
–    Bryce: “Riley is quick, has great hands, and an obscene vertical. He’ll come to us having played against some pretty good American competition. There were a couple of OUA schools after him, but we’re happy he chose to head west.”

OL Isaiah Breland • 6-6, 255 • 1st • Winnipeg, Man. (Winnipeg Rifles)
–    Attended Sisler HS in Winnipeg before joining the Rifles for the 2016 and 2017 seasons
–    Was originally recruited as a defensive lineman with the Rams last year
–    Bryce: “Isaiah has grown almost two inches in the last year. I love the way he moves, and he’s shown with the Rifles that his natural position is on the offensive line.”

REC Kris Calcutt • 6-1, 175 • 2nd • Regina, Sask. (Regina Thunder)
–    Caught 17 passes for 405 yards and two touchdowns in an injury-shortened season for the Thunder last year
–    Named a PFC all-star and was the Thunder’s leading receiver in 2016 (32 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns)
–    Played for Campbell Collegiate before beginning his three-season junior career in 2015
–    Attended training camp with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in both 2016 and 2017
–    Bryce: “Kris will not only be a go-to possession receiver for us, but his ability to punt increases his stock even further. He’ll make an immediate and positive impact on this team.”

REC Shamar Donelson • 5-10, 165 • 2nd • Regina, Sask. (Okanagan Sun)
–    Tied for Okanagan’s team lead in receiving touchdowns (4) in 2017 despite injuries limiting him to only two games played
–    Had career totals of 30 catches, 631 receiving yards, and six touchdowns in three seasons with the Sun
–    Attended Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS in Regina
–    Bryce: “Shamar has had some standout performances for Okanagan, but had his rapid development derailed by the injury last season. He’s extremely fast and will be a legitimate deep-threat receiver for us.”

CFC100 QB Josh Donnelly • 6-1, 160 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS)
–    Competed for Team Canada’s U19 squad at the 2017 North American Championship
–    Played for Saskatchewan’s U18 team at the Football Canada Cup in both 2016 and 2017, earning tournament all-star honours following the 2017 event
–    Won 4A provincial championships with LeBoldus in 2014, 2015 and 2016
–    Threw for 1900 yards in seven league games for LeBoldus last season, completing 61% of his passes while also throwing 15 touchdowns and just one interception
–    Bryce: “Josh’s greatest tools are his football mind and his attention to detail. He’s very similar to Noah Picton in his level of preparation and filmwork, which is one of the greatest compliments I can give to a young player. He’s tall, has a strong arm, has good vision, and we expect him to have a bright future here at the U of R.”

RB Jayse Easton • 6-0, 185 • 1st • Moosomin, Sask. (Moosomin Generals)
–    Recipient of the Chris Bauman Award in both 2016 and 2017 as the Rural Manitoba Football League’s top offensive player
–    Piled up 1414 rushing yards, 24 rushing touchdowns, 214 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns in just six league games last season for Moosomin
–    Bryce: “Jayse caught our attention two years in a row at our high school camp and has been on our radar since. He’s showed impressive overall athletic ability and we’re excited to see how his skill set will translate to an increased level of competition this season with the Rams.”

REC Dallen Keen • 6-3, 170 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Miller Comprehensive HS)
–    Was a member of Saskatchewan’s U18 team at the Football Canada Cup in both 2016 and 2017
–    Had 18 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown last season as a receiver with Miller and also had 14 tackles including three sacks while playing on the defensive line
–    Bryce: “Dallen is a big, solid receiver and the fact that he also played defensive end speaks to his toughness and durability. With his size and skill set, we project him to be a wide receiver at the next level.”

REC Tyler Lalonde • 5-9, 175 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Michael A. Riffel HS)
–    Played for Saskatchewan’s U18 team at the 2017 Football Canada Cup
–    Had 24 catches for 440 yards last season with Riffel while also tying for the league lead with seven touchdown catches
–    Bryce: “Tyler’s route-running, tenacity, and attention to detail reminds me of Ryan Schienbein. He’s already shown a high level of commitment and we expect him to develop into a very good slotback for us.”

REC Sam Mike • 5-11, 190 • 3rd • Saskatoon, Sask. (Saskatoon Hilltops)
–    Named a CJFL All-Canadian in 2016 after catching 35 passes for 558 yards and eight touchdowns for the Hilltops
–    Won national championships in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 with the Hilltops
–    Had career numbers of 66 catches, 934 receiving yards, and 13 receiving touchdowns during his four CJFL seasons
–    Attended Holy Cross HS in Saskatoon before embarking on his junior career
–    Bryce: “Sam is very quick and is great under man coverage, and I see him as a guy that can be a very effective deep-route receiver for us. We’re excited to be able to add another player from that championship program up there in Saskatoon.”

OL Zach Miller • 6-3, 270 • 1st • Indian Head, Sask. (Indian Head HS)
–    Helped the Indian Head Broncs advance to the provincial championship game in 2A nine-man football last season
–    Played both offensive tackle and defensive end for Indian Head
–    Bryce: “Zach was one of the top offensive linemen in the RMF spring league this past year. He’s got a really good combination of size and foot speed, and he plays with heavy hands. Zach comes from a solid Indian Head program has a huge ceiling as far as his development goes.”

OL Brayden Moroz • 6-2, 280 • 2nd • Brandon, Man. (Regina Thunder)
–    Played for three seasons with the Thunder mainly at the centre position
–    Attended Crocus Plains Regional Secondary in Brandon before beginning his CJFL career
–    Bryce: “Brayden has been an important part of the Thunder’s line and he’s going to have an opportunity to come in and make the same sort of impact here with the Rams. We’re excited about the skill set he’ll be bringing to our team.”

OL Nathan Raymond • 6-3, 280 • 1st • Moosomin, Sask. (Moosomin Generals)
–    Competed for Team Canada’s U18 squad at both the 2017 North American Championship and the 2018 International Bowl
–    Played for Saskatchewan’s U18 team at the Football Canada Cup in both 2016 and 2017, earning tournament all-star honours following the 2017 event
–    Named the Rural Manitoba Football League’s top offensive lineman in 2017
–    Bryce: “I don’t know if I’ve seen a harder-working offensive lineman coming out of high school. Nathan has a love for football and is passionate about playing on the line. He’s been very well coached throughout his career, so he’s already fairly polished and is as good of a lineman as there is out there right now.”

OL Brodan Rempel • 6-6, 265 • 1st • Moose Jaw, Sask. (Albert E. Peacock Collegiate)
–    Advanced to the 3A provincial championship game in both 2015 and 2016 with the Peacock Tornadoes, winning it in 2015
–    Bryce: “Brodan originally struck our interest through his performance in the RMF spring league. He’s got an intriguing combination of both size and speed, and we’re hoping he’ll be able to continue his rapid development at the U SPORTS level.”

REC Matt Rivers • 5-11, 170 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Campbell Collegiate)
–    Played for Saskatchewan’s U18 team at the 2017 Football Canada Cup
–    Recruited to the Rams as a receiver, but quarterbacked Campbell to a 4A provincial championship last season
–    Completed 93 passes for a total of 1058 yards and seven touchdowns in seven league games for the Tartans in 2017
–    Bryce: “Matt impressed our coaching staff with his efforts at our camp last year and showed he could play multiple positions. His well-rounded athleticism will allow him to make a transition to receiver at the U SPORTS level.”

OL Matthew Robinson • 6-4, 275 • 2nd • Kelowna, B.C. (Okanagan Sun)
–    Named a PFC all-star last season for Okanagan
–    Helped the Sun win the Cullen Cup as the BCFC champions in 2015
–    Joins former Sun teammates Cord Delinte, Kealey Heintz, Layne Hull, and Michele Vecchio on the Rams
–    Also played with current Rams offensive lineman Andrew Becker while at Rutland Secondary
–    Bryce: “Matt is a big, physical raw talent coming out of quality Okanagan program. We have high expectations that he’ll be able to compete very quickly for a spot at one of the interior positions on the line.”

FB Colin Stumborg • 6-1, 210 • 4th • Saskatoon, Sask. (Saskatoon Hilltops)
–    Played five seasons with the Hilltops, winning national championships in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017
–    Attended Bishop James Mahoney HS before joining the Hilltops
–    Bryce: “Colin was a team captain for the Hilltops and comes over to the Rams with wonderful character references. We’ve heard he’s a great team guy and an extremely hard worker and we hope he brings those exact traits over to the Rams – including that Hilltop winning tradition.”

REC Bennett Stusek • 5-11, 160 • 1st • Regina, Sask. (Campbell Collegiate)
–    Competed for Team Canada’s U18 squad at the 2018 International Bowl
–    Played for Saskatchewan’s U18 team at the Football Canada Cup in both 2016 and 2017, earning tournament all-star honours following the 2017 event
–    Was the top receiver for the 4A provincial champion Campbell Tartans, finishing with 44 catches for 515 yards and four touchdowns in seven league games
–    Bryce: “Bennett is a versatile, well-rounded athlete. He’s got a very fluid running style and is very good after the catch – I’d use the term “slippery” to describe him. He projects as a slotback at the next level, and he’s a pretty cerebral kid so we expect he’ll be able to be a contributor for us in the years to come.”

OL Apete Tuiloma • 6-2, 255 • 1st • North Battleford, Sask. (North Battleford Comprehensive HS)
–    Helped the North Battleford Vikings win the 3A provincial championship last season
–    Would have played for Team Saskatchewan at the 2017 Football Canada Cup, but couldn’t participate due to illness
–    Bryce: “Apete is a very physical, quick big man that has played both sides of the ball to this point. We think he stayed under the radar because of the illness that kept him from playing for Team Saskatchewan. We’ve recruited him as an offensive lineman, but there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll see him playing on the defensive line for us.”

OL Brayden Vandermeer • 6-3, 285 • 1st • Airdrie, Alta. (Calgary Colts)
–    Has played three seasons as an interior lineman with the Colts, but will come to the Rams with five full seasons of U SPORTS eligibility thanks to his October birthdate
–    Spent time last season practicing with the Calgary Stampeders
–    Attended Bert Church HS in Airdrie before joining the Colts
–    Bryce: “Brayden is a huge X-factor in this class. He’s been very well coached, has great athleticism, and plays even bigger than his listed size. The time he spent training with the Stampeders will serve him well as he looks to make the jump from the CJFL to the U SPORTS level.”


Source: Regina Rams

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