Laurier – Preview

2009 CIS FOOTBALL TEAM PREVIEW:
(Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks)2008 regular season record: 6-2
2008 regular season standings: Third place
2008 playoff record: 1-1
2008 playoff finish: Lost to Western in conference semifinal

With another stellar recruiting class the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks will continue to stick to their strategy of reloading, not rebuilding. After finishing the 2008 season with a 6-2 record while starting the most freshmen in recent memory, the purple and good will continue to improve with another years experience under their belts.

The Hawks will return 19 starters in 25 positions, and head coach Gary Jeffries feels that many of the newcomers will be strong additions.

There are ten starters back on defence, including two time first team all-star corner Taurean Allen and East-West bowl invitee’s linebacker Giancarlo Rapanaro and defensive end Chima Ihekwoaba.

Jeffries also adds that last season ended too early for the Golden Hawks and that this year will be the time for Wilfrid Laurier to bounce back and get into both provincial and national championship contention

Quote from head coach:
On Recruiting
“We’ve had a terrific recruiting class this year and it has the potential to rival last year’s group.”

“We are young and we have some talent, we’ll need to mold that group into our system.”

On offence
“With most of the offensive-line back, and the addition of Michael Knill we should be stronger up
front.”

“It is very important for us to be able to establish the running game this season and a strong offensive line helps us with that.”

“With Luke Thompson having another year under his belt and a strong receiving core, our offense should be among the best in the league”

On Defence
“The defence has the potential to be one of the best in the league. We’re big, strong and fast right across the board.”

One the upcoming season
“Our goal this year is to get back into championship contention on both the provincial and national stages.”

Head Coach:
– Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2009): 7
– Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2009): 7
– Career regular season record with team: 41-7-0
– Career regular season record in CIS: 41-7-0
– Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only):51-17-0
– Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only):51-17-0

Offence
Key returning players:
REC Josh Bishop (Mississauga, Ont.) returns for his 4th season. The OUA 2nd team all-star led the Golden Hawks in receiving yards with 537 and was tied for receiving TD’s with five.

QB Luke Thompson (London, Ont.) returns for his 3rd season, but his first as starting quarterback. Thompson threw for 1686 yards and 16 TD’s in 2008.

OL Adam Bestard (Markham) returns for his 5th season. The senior player will provide veteran experience and improve the running game. Bestard was selected 27th overall in the CFL draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

FB Peter Quinney (Belleville, Ont.) returns for his 5th season. Also selected by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 35th overall, Quinney brings veteran experience to the Golden Hawk back field.

WR Dillon Heap (Waterloo, Ont.) returns for his 3rd season. This veteran receiver was a key component on Golden Hawk special teams, racking up a team high 305 return yards last season in five games played.

Key recruits (or newcomers: transfers):
WR Alex Anthony from Mt. Douglas H.S. in Sidney, B.C. was a Western Conference all-star in 2008. A terrific athlete who played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships this past summer.

OL Michael Knill a transfer from the University of Michigan who went to Adam High School in Michigan will bring both experience and leadership to Laurier’s offensive line. He was a walk on at both Michigan State and U of M and made both teams.

RB Rashad LaTouche from Donald A. Wilson H.S. in Whitby, Ont. A 5-11 power back who won the OVFL championship playing for the Toronto Thunder.

Key losses (about 3-4):
Fifth-year OL Scott Evans, a 2008 CIS second team all-Canadian and former Metra’s trophy winner was a key component of Laurier’s offensive line.

Fifth-year RB Ryan Lynch was Laurier’s leading rusher in 2008 with 474 yards and two TD’s.

The former OUA all-star compiled 2634 yards in his career.
Fifth-year REC Troy Leach was third on the squad with 249 receiving yards and tied for first with five TD receptions.

Defence
Key returning players:
CB Taurean Allen (Etobicoke, Ont.) returns for his 4th season. One of the Hawks fastest players is also one of the squads best at covering receivers. A two time OUA first-team all-star and former all-Canadian, Allen was also invited to the 2009 East-West Bowl.

DE Chima Ihekwoaba (Burlington, Ont.) returns for his 4th season. Ihekwoaba finished third on the Hawks with 2.5 sacks in 2008 in five games played. He also picked up 7.5 tackles.

LB Giancarlo Rapanaro (Niagara Falls, Ont.) returns for his 4th season. A 2008 OUA first team all-star, Rapanaro was fourth on the team with 34 tackles. He also had two sacks, two knockdowns, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

LB Mitchell Bosch (Langley, B.C.) returns for his 2nd season. In his first year in the purple and gold Bosch won a starting role right out of training camp and finished second on the team in total tackles with 36. He also had four knockdowns, a sack and two interception returns. One
return was for a touchdown.

FS Courtney Stephen (Brampton, Ont.) returns for his 2nd season. The 2008 team rookie of the year and OUA second team all-star was third on the Golden Hawks with 35.5 tackles and led the team in interceptions with four and knockdowns with eight.
Key recruits (or newcomers: transfers):

DT Delbert Williams from St. Marguerite d’Youville C.S in Mississauga, Ont. A 6-3, 300 lb lineman who will challenge for playing time with his excellent size and athleticism.

DE Tommy Griffiths from Brother Andre C.H.S. in Markham, Ont. At 6-3, Tommy’s height and quickness off the ball make him a solid addition to the Golden Hawks.

LB Simon Ryder-Burbidge from Frontenac S.S. in Kingston, Ont. Played in the National Capital Bowl and will compete early for a spot on the roster.

Key losses (about 3-4):
Fifth-year LB Luke Pinder was the Golden Hawks leader on defence with a team high 39 tackles.

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