Western signs six provincial recruits (VIDEO)

Ontario recruits span five different cities, join OUA team’s 2015 class

Western Mustangs have announced the addition of six provincial recruits to their football program.

Marc Liegghio, Jack Vernon, Mark Vita, Nathan Christopher, Aaron Heffernan and Jordan Burrell are among the newest Mustangs.  All six will join the team for the 2015 OUA season.

Marc Liegghio commitment 2


During the 5’8, 190 pound kicker/punter from Woodbridge, Ontario’s three year gridiron career, he has built up a resume of experience.  Liegghio has previously suited up for the Newmarket Bucs of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) where in his rookie season; he broke a long-time punting record (50.1 yard average).  For his efforts, he was selected to participate in the OVFL Prospects Game as an All-Star.

Additionally, he played for the Bill Crothers Colts of the York Region Athletic Association (YRAA).  During his time with the team, he was selected two consecutive times as an YRAA All-Star.

Liegghio has also been invited to the CanadaFootballChat.com Ontario Prospects Challenge (OPC) game twice in his career.

“Marc is an excellent kicker/punter,” commented Mustangs Head Coach Greg Marshall.  “We feel like he can compete for the kicking and punting duties early in his career as a Western Mustang.”

For his part, Liegghio said his commitment has been the culmination of years of hard work and determination in his quest to achieve his ultimate gridiron goal.

“I have been playing football for three years and since I started, my goal was to play in the CIS and beyond – hopefully in the CFL,” expressed Liegghio.  “It’s been an exciting journey getting to this point, thanks to my great coaches, especially Hank Ilesic.”

Marc Liegghio

While he was heavily sought after during his recruitment process, there was no doubt where he wanted to commence his CIS career.

“When it came to choosing which university I would attend, I knew in my heart where I wanted to play, but going through the process was tough,” explained the kicker/punter.  “I was fortunate enough to receive multiple offers from some top schools.”

“Each university offered something unique as well as great coaches, but Western was where I have always wanted to play. When touring Western’s facilities, I was impressed with their history, their pride of achievement and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The coaches are very professional and made me feel at home. The Universities academic reputation speaks for itself. It had the program I am interested in and multiple paths I can take as I progress toward my degree. I am excited to begin the next chapter of my life at Western and contribute to their history.”

The Mustangs are looking forward to having a kicker with tremendous talent and experience on their squad.

“Marc is a hard worker, and he’s a competitor,” added Mustangs Recruiting Coordinator Tom Flaxman.  “He’s a great fit in our locker room, and is welcome addition to the Western Family.”

Jack Vernon commitment 1


The 6’0, 195 pound pivot from Toronto, Ontario recently completed a stint with Canada Prep Academy.  Additionally, Vernon previously suited up for both Metro Toronto Wildcats of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) and Lawrence Park Panthers of Toronto District Secondary School Athletic Association (TDSSAA).

“We’ve had our eyes on Jack for a while now,” offered Marshall.  “He went to Canada Prep last year and we saw him develop into an excellent quarterback.”

Jack Vernon commitment 2

After his official visit to the London, Ontario campus, the Mustangs knew that he would make a great addition due to intangibles that will be an asset for the team in future years.

“Jack has a lot of the things you look for in a quarterback,” assessed Flaxman.  “He’s a great leader, he’s a student of the game, and most importantly he’s a competitor.”

“Jack fit in great with our team when he was down on his visit. We’re excited to welcome Jack to the Mustang family.”

Vernon wanted to become part of the Mustangs tradition of excellence.  Moreover, he extends a family affiliation with the football program as well as school.

“The reason I chose Western was for their excellent history of football as well as the great academics it offers as I would like to get into their law program,” elaborated the Toronto quarterback.  “Another big part of why I chose Western was because my grandfather and his brother both played for the Mustangs back in their days, along with my parents both attending Western.”

Mark Vita commitment 1


The 6’0, 175 pound defensive back from London, Ontario will be commencing his CIS career in front of the hometown crowd.

This past season, Vita amassed 278 yards on 14 receptions (average of 19.9 yards per reception), 180 yards on 18 carries (average 10 yards per carry) and scored two touchdowns with the London South Lions of the Thames Valley Region Athletic Association (TVRAA).

“Mark couldn’t make it to our recruiting announcement; he was in South America building homes for people less fortunate,” commented Flaxman.  “He has tremendous character and is a great addition to our program.”

Vita is ecstatic to join a renowned campus such as Western.  He is also looking forward to further instruction from Mustangs Special Teams Coordinator Chris Marcus.

“I committed to Western because of the academic reputation it has and the prestigious football program,” said Vita.  “Western offers a great Kinesiology program which suited all my needs and wants.”

“Proximity to home was an added bonus as well as my relationship with Special Teams Coordinator Coach Marcus. Western has a tradition of excellence and I’m very happy with my decision to join the program.”

The Mustangs believe the defensive back’s character will fit perfectly in their football program.

“Mark is an impressive young man,” added Marshall.  “He’s a hard worker, an excellent student and a great football player.”

Nathan Christopher commitment 1


Another local recruit has opted to stay home and play for the Mustangs.

The 6’3, 220 pound defensive end joins the team after completing his high school career with St. Thomas Aquinas Flames of the Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association (TVRAA).

“Nathan comes from a winning program here in London,” commented Marshall.  “He played linebacker in high school but will be making the move to defensive end for us.”

Christopher decided upon the London, Ontario campus after his official visit.  It ultimately came down to both academic and gridiron factors.

“I chose to commit to Western because of the outstanding kinesiology program it has to offer,” explained Christopher.  “They also have several support systems to help you be successful academically.”

“Western being close to home was also a factor in my decision. When I visited Western, I saw all it had to offer and I could envision myself being a Mustang. I also felt very welcomed by the coaches and players. It’s a top football program that I am excited to be a part of.”

As for the Mustangs, the team is looking forward to greet another recruit from within their own backyard.

“He has a great frame and is an excellent athlete,” added Flaxman.  “Nathan is a good young man and we’re excited to welcome him the Mustang Family.”

Aaron Heffernan commitment


The 6’1, 180 pound defensive back from King City, Ontario will be reunited with his older brother by virtue of his commitment to the Mustangs.  Heffernan’s brother, Austin (linebacker) just completed his first season with the Mustangs.

“Aaron is a great student, we’ve known him for a long time having recruited his brother last year,” expressed Marshall.  “He’s going to be a great fit on our football team.”

Recently, Heffernan played for King City Lions of the York Region Athletic Association (YRAA).

On the field, the Mustangs are expecting great things from the defensive back in years to come.

“Aaron will be joining his brother Austin on our team,” commented Flaxman.  “Aaron is an athletic defensive back who isn’t afraid to hit.”

Aaron Heffernan 1

Heffernan issued the following statement regarding his commitment to the Mustangs:

“I had my eyes set on becoming a Mustang since I stepped foot onto the facilities this time last year when I tagged along on my brother’s recruiting trip as he’s a first year member on the squad.”

“It has always been my goal and I always strived to wear the purple. I just felt that this was the place I was always meant to go to and be a part of. I just knew this will be my home and my next destination for my football career.”

“Moreover, the coaching staff is outstanding from Coach Marshall to Coach Flaxman and to the rest of the staff. I just know with these coaches I shall excel as a student as a player and become a better person as well. I am counting down the days till training camp where I may prove myself and do work on and off the field.”

Aaron Heffernan commitment 1

“In my senior seasons, I have been mixed around from linebacker to defensive back, but I excelled and worked for my success no matter the position. I was a leader on King City Lions squad and came away with several hits, interceptions, sacks as well as forced fumbles. Also in this offseason, I became a member of the OPC (Ontario Prospect Challenge) Top 100 Central Team to expand my credentials and improve my playing ability.”

“I never played OVFL football as I was never greatly inspired to do so. As my brother Austin Heffernan made it to Western without doing so, and also Nick Shortill who also only played for King City and is now a top CFL linebacker prospect.”

“King City football crafted me into the player I’ve become today, from my brothers on the field to the coaching staff. Coach Rick Wood specifically taught how to excel at my position as he coached me and gave me insight how to always get improve my game.”

“I am currently gaining size, speed and strength as every week passes so I may be an impact on the field when August comes around.”

Jordan Burrell commitment 1


The 6’4, 275 pound defensive lineman from Cambridge has previously played for both Preston Panthers of the Waterloo County Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WCSSAA) and Cambridge Lions of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL).

“He will provide us with some much needed depth along our defensive line,” commented Flaxman on Burrell’s addition.

For his part, the defensive lineman credits Flaxman, the Mustangs Recruiting Coordinator, for introducing him to Western.

“Coach Flaxman and I actually started talking roughly a month before I had planned to commit anywhere,” recalled Burrell. “Coach had me down for a visit probably a week later which was impressive as most visits I had taken in the past took a month at least to plan.”

“I think that’s when I started to realize that UWO was a real contender, as it seemed they were truly excited to meet with recruits, and they made it seem like it was more than just their job to get good players, but you could actually connect with a lot of the coaches on a personal level. As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew it was the place I wanted to be. After meeting with Coach Marshall, Coach Flaxman, and Coach Marcus, I was sure that it was the right decision. They made me feel at home right away, and were very approachable and showed a lot of care for their athletes. Western has always been a school that had been of high interest for me personally, so committing there for me was a must.”

Jordan Burrell commitment 2

This past season, Burrell had to overcome adversity during the recruitment process.  However, he credits the Mustangs for supporting him throughout that time.

“My last season was actually cut short due to a knee injury, which kind of scared me as it was a prime time for recruiting,” reflected the defensive lineman. “Luckily, the coaches at Western had seen my tape and seen me play before so he had prior knowledge to my ability and playing style to base their judgement.”

The coaching staff is thrilled to welcome Burrell into the Mustang Family.

“It was a pleasure to get to know Jordan over the recruiting process,” added Marshall.  “He is a very good young man.”

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


Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply