Windsor commits ready to win

Windsor adds three southern Ontario commits to their Class of 2018.

Linebacker Bennett Vani and lineman Collin Campbell from St. Patrick’s Catholic High School, as well as offensive lineman Blake Collinson from Strathroy District Collegiate Institute, have confidence that one day, their new team, the Windsor Lancers, will be one to fear in the OUA.

Bennett Vani

Bennett Vani grew up on the southern-most shore of Lake Huron in the border city of Sarnia, Ontario. Soon to be in another border city, he is already seeing similarities to his home. “The city feels very blue collar and hardworking, like my hometown, so I felt at home in Windsor,” he said.

“The coaches were also very inviting and sounded very smart. They helped me with my thoughts of being recruited and helped me through the whole process,” he added. “(I think that) they have what it takes to coach a winning team. They talked to me a lot about my potential at Windsor and I feel so excited to work under them and learn from them.”

Vani has a career that spans over ten years that has been spent with the Sarnia Sturgeons (OFC) and the St. Patrick’s Fighting Irish (Lambton-Kent Secondary School Athletic Association). In 2016 and 2017, he and his team captured senior championships. In his own personal achievements, the 6’2, 205lbs middle linebacker has been awarded such titles as defensive player of the year and rookie of the year.

“I want to thank my senior football coaches at St. Patrick’s,” said Vani, who applied to political science and criminology. “I (also) want to thank the Western Mustangs coaching staff for recruiting me, as well as the Winsor Lancers coaching staff for also recruiting me.”

Collin Campbell

Collin Campbell will not be walking into the Lancers’ locker room without recognizing a few faces. “I think it’s kind of cool how we have four guys from the same football team committing to the same school,” he said. “I like the City of Windsor and I think that it will be a great fit for me and my education and football.”

(Windsor commits Evan Blakely and Jared Pageau are also from St. Patrick’s Catholic High School).

The Lancers have been busy this offseason recruiting players. Campbell said that the staff has been great so far. “They’re able to answer any questions I need them to and are already helping us get prepared for what’s to come,” he said. “I’m excited to be able to work alongside them and I know it they keep up what they’re doing, Windsor is going to be one of the top teams in the league.”

Campbell also played with the St. Patrick’s Fighting Irish, winning two back-to-back LKSSAA championships with the team. He was also given an academic achievement award and the Jim Latham Award, which is given to someone who demonstrates catholic leadership. The 6’4, 240lbs right tackle will be taking electrical engineering.

Before the interview ended, Campbell left off with one final phrase: #GoIrish.

Blake Collinson

It didn’t take long for Blake Collinson to realize the seriousness of the Lancers team. “The atmosphere as soon as I walked in told me (that) they are ready to win and I’m hoping I can be apart of that,” he said.

“It (also) felt like I was at home with the way I was treated on my tours,” the potential criminology student added. “(The coaches) are terrific and I’m excited to get to work…the facilities (also) really blew me away.”

Originally from Strathroy, Ontario, which is west of London, Ontario, Collinson has played with the Strathroy Renegades (London Minor Football Association), the Forest City Thunderbirds (OFC) and the London Jr. Mustangs (OPFL). In 2016, the 6’3, 275lbs lineman was a member of bronze medalist Team Ontario at the Football Canada Cup.

While with the Jr. Mustangs, Collinson won an OPFL championship this past summer. He is a three-time all-star with the Thunderbirds. With his high school team, the SDCI Saints (Thames Valley Regional Athletics), he was both the offensive and defensive lineman of the year in 2016. In 2014, he was named as the team’s defensive MVP.

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