Football Canada Top 70 unveiled

by footballcanada

By Mike Still

The 2020 IFAF World Junior Championship has been postponed, however Football Canada has still unveiled their Top 70 list to recognize the top under-19 athletes across the nation.

The selection process was extensive and detailed, including seven different identification camps which ran from April to June 2019 across the nation.

Standout showings from this past year’s Canada Cup, as well as individual performances in the fall played a role in trimming the list down to 100. The final step in the lead-up to cut-downs was the U18 International Bowl, which took place this past January.

All eight provinces from the Canada Cup have at least one athlete in the top 70, led by Quebec’s 19.

Offence

Over two dozen of the athletes selected have previously represented Canada at the U18 international level, including 5’11”, 170-pound running back Ryker Frank (Regina, SK).

The University of Saskatchewan commit represented his nation in both 2019 and 2020, with a particularly strong showing in the latter. Capable of burning you with his speed or pass-catching abilities, the provincial champion and two-time Canada Cup gold medalist out of Dr. Martin LeBoldus is a threat whenever he’s on the field.

Three of the other six backs listed have donned the red and white at the U18 level, including Alberta native Matthew Peterson. The 5’10”, 195-pound downhill runner made his U SPORTS debut this past year with the Alberta Golden Bears, finishing with just under 200 rushing yards and a major, as well as 104 yards receiving.

The four quarterbacks selected blend a strong mix of experience and athleticism.

Quebec native Xavier Tremblay — a member of Canada’s U18 roster in 2019 — had a solid debut in Division 1 CEGEP with College Andre-Grasset, while 6’4”, 210-pound Ontario native Ryan Licandro made a promising rookie debut at Queen’s University.

The latter has a cannon for an arm, finishing with 739 yards and four scores as a 1-2 tandem with fellow Gaels pivot James Keenan. Licandro’s best game came in a 37-33 win over Toronto in week five, where he threw for 280 yards and two scores.

Five of the receivers listed come courtesy of Alberta, including former Bishop O’ Byrne team MVP Adley Mayala. A member of Canada’s U18 roster in 2019, the 5’11”, 160-pound multi-purpose threat had 362 receiving yards and two scores this past season as a impact player for the Calgary Colts in the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL).

Fellow Albertans Luc Nonda and Lucas Robertson have U SPORTS experience and strong skill sets at 6’4”.

Nonda recently finished his first season at the U of A and is capable of making plays as a wideout or slotback, while Robertson — a much bigger body at 230 pounds — is fresh off of his first season with UBC. The latter also played a big role in Canada’s offence during the 2019 International Bowl, lining up as a versatile h-back.

Canada’s selection committee has also included two tight ends in Aiden Arnott-Smith and Connor Holborn. Both athletes are from Ontario, with the former — a 5’11” 250-pounder — suiting up for Carleton at the university level.

There’s Team Canada experience aplenty amongst the 14 o-linemen who made the top 70. Alberta’s Jacob Weller, Ontario’s Erik Andersen and Saskatchewan’s Colby Joyes are just three examples.

Weller — a 6’5”, 315-pound guard who can also play tackle — is a former University of Alberta commit, while the 6’5”, 280-pound Andersen — a Western commit — was a huge part of AB Lucas’ championship team this past year at tackle. Joyes just completed a redshirt season with the Regina Rams and is a towering interior presence at 6’7”, 331 pounds.

Additionally, 6’9”, 322-pound Ontario native Evan Loisel was on the Yates Cup champion McMaster Marauders roster this year as a tackle.

Defence

Included in the secondary are a number of International Bowl veterans such as 6’2”, 205-pound New Brunswick native Lucas Cormier, 6’1” Saskatoon resident Tanner Reiber and 6’3” Alberta product Tyshon Blackburn.

Cormier is a rangy safety who recently completed his first year at Mount Allison, where he was named an AUS All-Star after collecting five interceptions along with 25 tackles.

Fellow safety Reiber had a standout season at Bishop James Mahoney, and also made a key goal line stop in this past year’s triumphant Canada Cup gold medal game against Quebec. He’ll be suiting up for the University of Saskatchewan next season.

Blackburn — a product of the powerhouse St. Francis Browns — is a dynamic athlete who can line up at SAM or halfback. He recently finished his first season at the U of A.

Among Canada’s list of defensive linemen are two Manitobans who’ve both previously claimed Lineman of the Year honours in the Winnipeg High School Football League.

Kelvin product Isaiah Letander, a converted basketball player with international team experience, won the award in Division 2 in 2018. He was a member of the Valley Huskers roster last year in the CJFL and had 20 tackles and three sacks..

Dakota standout Jordan Friesen, a 6’3”, 235-pounder with a huge wing-span, was this past year’s Division 1 Lineman of the Year at defensive end and was also a co-winner of the Player of the Year award. The International Bowl veteran will suit up for the University of Manitoba next year.

Nova Scotia and British Columbia have strong representation in the linebacking corps, in Jacob Yazbek and Matteo Viani.

The former — part of a dominant Citadel program in Halifax that’s won 11 of the last 12 Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF) Division 1 titles — has great range at middle linebacker, and is also a former Rookie of the Year for the Phoenix.

The latter, a 6’1”, 230-pounder out of Kamloops has been all over the map making plays. He most recently completed a year with the St. Mary’s Huskies in the AUS, tallying 12 tackles and half a sack. Prior to that he collected over 100 tackles as a member of Royal Imperial Collegiate, a prep school in Ontario that plays against top level American competition.

Another middle linebacker on the list is 6’1”, 215-pound Tyson Krushelniski out of Bishop James Mahoney. The University of Alberta commit was all over the field during the 2019 Canada Cup for Saskatchewan, and also displayed his range at the 2020 International Bowl.

Canada’s top 70 also includes two kickers in Nova Scotia’s Ben Hadley and Ontario’s Cameron Creechan. The former is another Citadel standout who currently plays for Queen’s, while the latter is 5’11”, 185 and also suited up at linebacker for Ursuline College.

Football Canada Top 70

Position First Name Last Name Height Weight Hometown Province
QB Xavier Tremblay 5ft. 11in. 185lbs. Montreal QC
QB Ryan Licandro 6ft. 4in. 210lbs. Orleans ON
QB Maxime Lambert 6ft. 2in. 187lbs Lévis QC
QB Eloa Latendresse-Regimbald 6ft. 3in. 175lbs Montreal QC
WR Adley Mayala 5ft. 11in. 160lbs. Calgary AB
WR Mikel-Ange Desjardins 6ft. 0in. 174lbs. Gatineau QC
WR Luc Nonda 6ft. 4in. 200lbs. Calgary AB
WR Tanner Shaw 6ft. 0in. 175lbs. Sherwood Park AB
WR Lucas Robertson 6ft. 4in. 220lbs. Edmonton AB
WR Xavier Gaillardetz 6ft. 180lbs. Trois Rivières QC
WR Jaxon Hume 6ft 178lbs. Edmonton AB
WR Nolan Ulm 6ft. 2in. 190lbs. Kelowna BC
WR Keelan White 6ft. 1in. 180lbs. North Vancouver BC
RB Matthew Peterson 5ft. 10in. 195lbs. Brooks AB
RB Anthony Renault 5ft. 8in. 188lbs. Laval QC
RB Ryker Frank 5ft. 11in. 170lbs. Regina SK
RB Jayden Simmonds 6ft. 0in. 190lbs. New Minas NS
RB Merton Theagene 5ft. 11in. 180lbs. Blainville QC
RB Malcom Bussey 5ft. 10in. 185lbs. Halifax NS
OL Colby Joyes 6ft. 7in. 331lbs. Clavet SK
OL Keven Belanger 6ft. 4in. 285lbs. Quebec QC
OL Jacob Weller 6ft. 5in. 300lbs. Sylvan Lake AB
OL Erik Andersen 6ft. 6in. 280lbs. London ON
OL Gavin Reid 6ft. 4in. 266lbs. Brandon MB
OL Jean-Simon Verreault 6ft. 5in. 265lbs. Boucherville QC
OL Adam Lachance 6ft. 4in. 375lbs. St-Gédéon de beauce QC
OL Alexandre Masri fliss 6ft. 4in. 300lbs. Quebec QC
OL Samuel Sévigny 6ft. 1in. 305lbs. Laval QC
OL Cullen Wagner 6ft. 2in. 280lbs. Kistcoty AB
OL Evan Loisel 6ft. 8in. 320lbs. Bowmanville ON
OL Logan Scott 6ft. 5in. 317lbs. Centreville NS
OL Thomas Brow 6ft. 2in. 253lbs. Saint John NB
FB/TE Aiden Arnott-Smith 6ft 240 Ottawa ON
FB/TE Connor Holborn 6ft. 2in. 220lbs. St Thomas ON
DB Romeo Nash 6ft. 2in. 184lbs. Calgary AB
DB Lucas Cormier 6ft. 2in. 195lbs. Sackville NB
DB Tyshon Blackburn 6ft. 3in. 190lbs. Calgary AB
DB Ashton Miller-Melancon 6ft. 2in. 188lbs. Dorval QC
DB Keegan Vanek 5ft. 10in. 180lbs. London ON
DB Aron Massaquoi 6ft. 0in. 180lbs. Windsor ON
DB Tanner Reiber 6ft. 1in. 170lbs. Saskatoon SK
DB kairo Hassan 5ft. 11in. 190lbs. Surrey BC
DB jaden severy 6ft. 1in. 170lbs. Coquitlam BC
DB Kaleb MacNeil 6ft. 0in. 140lbs. Edmonton AB
DB Daniel Bell 6ft. 2in. 200lbs Saint John NB
DB River Cameron 6ft. 3in. 185lbs. Edmonton AB
DL Isaiah Letander 6ft. 4in. 285lbs. Winnipeg MB
DL Dorian Daniel-Royal 6ft. 5in. 265lbs. Quebec QC
DL Bradley Alexandre Nseka 6ft. 4in. 333lbs. La Prairie QC
DL Jordan Friesen 6ft. 2in. 235lbs. Winnipeg MB
DL Luigy Josil 5ft.10 290lbs Montreal QC
DL Scott Letourneau 6ft. 2in. 218lbs. Montreal QC
DL Isaiah Neil 6ft. 3in. 237lbs. Leduc County AB
DL Michael Lightbody 6ft. 2in. Arnprior ON
DL William Russell 6ft. 3in. 235lbs. Quispamsis NB
DL Conner Franzisi 6ft. 2in. 230lbs. Keswick ON
DL Ty Anderson 6ft. 3in. 285lbs. Calgary AB
DL Tyson Hergott 6ft. 3in. 240lbs. Waterloo ON
LB Braden Hart 6ft. 3in. 229lbs. Napanee ON
LB Jaxon Runge 6ft. 0in. 165lbs. Regina SK
LB Jacob Yazbek 6ft. 0in. 217lbs. Halifax NS
LB Tyson Krushelniski 6ft. 1in. 215lbs. Saskatoon SK
LB Jacob Dakiniewich 6ft. 2in. 205lbs. Emerald Park SK
LB William Naud 6ft. 0in. 205lbs. Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures QC
LB Jeremy Mercier 6ft. 0in. 205lbs. Victoriaville QC
LB Matteo Viani 6ft. 1in. 230lbs. Kamloops BC
LB Xavier Malone 6ft. 0in. 180lbs. Dieppe NB
K/P Ben Hadley 6ft. 2in. 175lbs. Halifax NS
K/P Cameron Creechan 5ft. 11in. 185lbs. Chatham ON
K/P Nathan Kasowski 6ft. 2in. 185lbs. Edmonton AB

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