Rams offer well-rounded opportunity for commits

Rams add a local commit and a provincial commit to their team.

While they may be at different stages in their career, offensive lineman Derek Walde from the Kamloops Broncos (CJFL) and defensive back Payton Williams from Winston Knoll Collegiate, will be continuing their journeys on the University of Regina Rams.

Derek Walde

Having spent the last five years in British Columbia, Derek Walde is ready to return home. “Being close to my hometown was very important to me,” he said of his commitment. “It is nice to be able to play in front of friends and family again.”

By Jim Motokado.

The biggest draw for Walde, however, was the school’s post-graduate Bachelor of Education. He has a degree from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. He said this post-graduate degree was an easy transition and is seen as a high-end program.

“The size of the school is nice,” he added. “It has all the programs and support services of a large school, yet it still has a small university feel, which creates a great atmosphere.”

On the football side of things, Walde was impressed with the Rams’ level of professionalism. “Everything from the head coach to the front office staff resembled a professional sports team. Everything from a student-athlete perspective is taken care of there,” he said.

He added that the team has an explosive offence laden with great playmakers, “and have been in the mix every year. So, it’s exciting to come onto a team that is competitive every year in the CanWest and (to) have a chance to make a big run in the playoffs.”

In terms of coaches, Walde has nothing but confidence in the staff. He said that Sheldon Neald, the offensive line coach, is one of the best in the country and has a highly impressive track record with offensive lineman. “He is passionate and stresses the technical components of offensive line play,” the 5’11, 295lbs lineman added.

As for Steve Bryce, the head coach, and Mark McConkey, the offensive coordinator, Walde said they are both highly organized and thoughtful in their approach to not only offensive schemes but practice schedules as well. “Every detail is thought about and considered,” he said. “I was also impressed with the coaches’ interactions with players on the team already as they clearly care about all their players at more than just a football level.”

Hailing from Kindersley, Saskatchewan, Walde spent his high school career with the KCS Kobras (3A). After graduating in 2014, he joined the Kamloops Broncos and has spent four years with the team. He is a two-time BCFC all-star in 2015 and 2018. He was the Broncos’ offensive lineman of the year in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This past season he was named the BCFC top offensive lineman and was a CJFL all-Canadian.

Payton Williams

Ever since Payton Williams was young, the product of Regina, Saskatchewan, has watched his hometown team. “I grew up being a fan of the Rams. It was a dream as well (to go) play for the Rams one day. I also wanted to stay put in my hometown,” he said.

“For me, another reason to choose to sign with the Rams was their coaching staff, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” he added. “They have a lot of coaches who played football at the university level or an even higher level, which, for me, is a great thing because they know what it takes to be successful at the next level.”

Williams, who is interested in business, is already familiar with some of the coaches, having been coached by them during his time on spring and summer football teams.

The 6’1, 180lbs halfback has been hitting the gridiron for nine years. He split six years between three teams, the Thunderbirds, Razorbacks and Stampeders in the Regina Minor Football League. He then spent the latter three with the Winston Knoll Wolverines (RHSAA). He was the Wolverines’ defensive MVP for the 2018 season.

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