By John DeCoste
Acadia football head coach Jeff Cummins and his staff have been busy since their second straight Uteck Bowl appearance last November, filling holes on the Axemen roster resulting from graduating players.
Last week, Cummins announced the commitment to Acadia of a group of 16 recruits, several of whom had already been profiled. The list spans the country from east to west and includes a couple of Valley players.
Heading the list are Kory Morgan, a receiver and return specialist from Ottawa; former Horton standout Adam Melanson, a defensive lineman; and Brandon Jennings, a defensive back from St. Albert, AB who has both size and athleticism.
Morgan is a six-foot, 185-pounder who was an all-star receiver with the Myers Riders and also the OVFL Rookie of the Year with the Ottawa Junior Riders.
Melanson, a 6’2”, 270-pounder, will be familiar to most local fans from his stellar career at Horton. He spent last season at Champlain College in Quebec.
Jennings, a 6’3”, 180-pounder, has starred with both Paul Kane and St. Albert High School as well as with the Alberta U-17 provincial team that won a silver medal at the 2011 Football Canada Cup.
“We have put great effort into finding some of Canada’s top recruits this season, and momentum is continuing from our AUS championship this year,” said Cummins. “The effort appears to have paid off with several blue-chip athletes deciding to attend Acadia this fall.”
The Axemen have several holes to fill and positions to shore up, including quarterback. Two-time AUFC Player of the Year Kyle Graves, last year’s quarterback, is now with the Montreal Alouettes and has both graduated and used up his eligibility.
Other fifth-year Axemen who will not be back are receiver Mike Squires, linebacker Ed McNally, linebacker Jerret Laycock, running back Brett Haenni, offensive linemen Tyler Honeywood and Wade Conrad and defensive lineman John Wilson.
In addition, fourth-year players Sean Adamson, Cam Wade and Simon Grimard, all of whom were impact players last season, will not be returning – though Wade will represent Acadia at the 2013 CFL combine.
A pair of offensive linemen, 6’5”, 280-pound Bauer Negrych from Oniping, ON and 6’3”, 260-pound Steven Timlick from Calgary, will be solidly in the mix to fill the vacancies created by the departures of Conrad and Honeywell.
Four other recruits are Maritimers, and all but one are Nova Scotians. Josh Sampson is a 5’10’, 175-pound defensive back from Halifax West, Brennan Turner is a 6’3”, 275-pound O-lineman from Sir John A. Macdonald and Andray Brady is a 5’7” receiver from J.L. Ilsley.
The Nova Scotians are expected to provide depth for what Cummins hopes will be another championship roster in 2013.
“We always find great players locally who are exceptional athletes and great people who fit into our team mold,” he said.
The other Maritimer is 5’11” Kris Brine from Harrison Trimble High in Moncton, who was named Offensive MVP for his conference in New Brunswick in 2012.
According to Cummins, Brine, a quarterback in high school, is slated to move to receiver at Acadia, as will another former quarterback, Cody Cluett, a 6’0”, 200-pounder from Dartmouth High.
Cummins said Darcy Lavoie, a highly-regarded, 6’3”, 185-pound quarterback from Orleans, ON will join the returning Evan Brown in the mix to replace Graves.
Lavoie starred the past two seasons with both the Orleans Dukes midget team and the OVFL Cumberland Panthers.
He had over 2,300 passing yards and threw for 22 touchdowns for the Dukes in 2012, and more than 1,400 passing yards and 14 touchdowns for the Panthers.
Along with Cluett and Lavoie, other committed players have already been announced or profiled on the national website www.canadafootballchat.com.
This list included a pair of players developed here in the Valley, Melanson and 6’1”, 235-pound A.J. Whitehead, who starred as both a fullback and linebacker during his high school career at Avon View in Windsor.
Matt Nettle is a 6’0”, 192-pound LB from Citadel High, Brady Switzer a 6’3”, 235-pound LB from Oakville, ON, Liam Schreiter a 6’3”, 270-pound O-lineman from Braeside, ON and Erik Richard a 6’5”, 270-pound D-lineman from Moncton.