Windsor commits excited to be part of family

Lancers bring in three Ontario commits to their Class of 2018.

No, defensive back Cole Verlinde from Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School and tight end Johnny Pytka from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in London, Ontario, didn’t attend the same high school, but they will be attending the same university after committing with the University of Windsor Lancers.

Connor Davis, an offensive lineman from Algonquin College, will also be joining the Lancers.

Cole Verlinde

By Rose Foat.

While the Lancers are building up their recruiting class, the school itself is also undergoing some renovations. “I chose to go to Windsor because it’s a young team and I love the city it’s in and the university really, adding some new buildings and making it a lot nicer,” Verlinde said.

Already enthralled with the infrastructure and his new surroundings, Verlinde was also impressed with the coaching staff. “Everyone I talked to made me feel welcome and that I am already apart of the Lancer family,” he said.

Coming from Tottenham, Ontario, Verlinde played with the Saint Thomas Aquinas Stingers (Georgian Bay Secondary School Association) for five years. For the past two seasons, the Stingers have been GBSSA ‘AA’ champions. He is also a three-time athlete of the year.

The 6’0, 185lbs athlete also played with the TNT Express for four years and the York Region Lions (OVFL) for two.

“I am just really excited to start the next chapter of my life,” Verlinde said, “and to work my rear-end off and do as much as I can to help the Lancers return to the playoffs.”

Johnny Pytka

Courtesy of Johnny Pytka.

Johnny Pytka is a multi-sport athlete, having played football, basketball and soccer. “I’ve played soccer all my life growing up, and I still do now, but this past year, I’ve focused down in training towards being the best football player I would like to be,” Pytka said.

Windsor, for one, is glad that Pytka chose to pursue his football career. Pytka, on the other hand, is happy with all the school has to offer. Interested in Kinesiology and Nursing, he said, “I like that the school isn’t overwhelming or too large, but just perfect for what I was looking for, which will make it easy for me to mange my students and athletics.”

While he may be playing in U Sports, Pytka will be keeping an eye on NCAA action. As a border city, Windsor, Ontario, is close to Detroit, Michigan. “I liked the fact that I’d be near the States where I can travel and go watch professional or college football in the States,” Pytka said.

Back on the Canadian front, Pytka is excited to be apart of a young Lancers squad. He said that he likes that the Windsor coaches are brining in a bunch of young talent. “It makes me excited for the future of this organization,” he said. “I’m hoping that we will be big contenders in a couple years.”

Not to be confused with Verlinde’s team, Pytka played with the St. Thomas Aquinas Flames (Thames Valley Region Athletics) in his hometown of London, Ontario. In his five years with the team, he was offensive MVP in grade 10 and athlete of the year in grade 12. In soccer, he was MVP in grade 11 and 12. Standing at 6’4, 215lbs, he plays as an H-back, a hybrid of tight end, slotback and fullback.

Connor Davis

Connor Davis already has post-secondary school experience. Currently at Algonquin College in his hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, the 6’4, 380lbs guard played with the Ottawa Sooners in the Canadian Junior Football League. Already familiar with a small campus, Davis’s transition to university shouldn’t be too difficult.

Courtesy of Connor Davis.

“Windsor (has) a small-town feel that loves their football and the campus is awesome with everything being so close together and classes aren’t that big either, which is good,” Davis said. “The coaches are great, all down-to-earth guys that treat us as a family that loves their football and want us to turn the program around, along with helping us succeed in becoming men and in the classroom.”

In high school, Davis played with Les Faucons d’École secondaire catholique Franco-Cité (RSEQ). He also suited up with the Cumberland Panthers (OPFL), the South Ottawa Mustangs (NCAFA) and the Dukes (NCAFA). In 2012 and 2014, he was the Mustangs’ lineman of the year. In 2016, he was the Dukes lineman of the year. He is a two-time NCAFA all-star in 2012 and 2014. He also attended the AIA All-Star Bowl in 2014 and 2015, where his team was victorious in 2015.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without great help and support from former coaches, players, Greg Pollock, Ben Pollock and the rest of his family from Gladiator Strength and Conditioning for helping me to get in better shape and train to get this opportunity since 2014,” the potential business or finance student said.

He would also like to thank his family, his sister Kari, his brother Brennan, his parents, Bruce and Christine, and all his family and friends, along with CFI’s Hugh Doyle, Carl Tolmie, Brock Flemming, Scott Endicott and the rest of the coaches at CFI for helping him.

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