Three players from the G.W. Graham football program are set to make the next level leap this fall.
Two players, Colton Mocon and Tyson George-Kelly, are taking the U-Sports route while Joshua Caverly heads to NCAA Div 2.
Caverley is signing on with Simon Fraser University, which is making the move to the Lone Star Conference in 2022.
In a weird geographical setup, his team will join Central Washington and Oregon competing against eight schools based in New Mexico and Texas.
“I find it really cool, and it’ll definitely be warmer,” the Grade 12 receiver said. “But it’s going to be good competition and I’m ready to adapt to it.”
Texas is arguably the ‘heartland’ of football in the United States and Caverly said he’s always enjoyed playing four-down football more than three-down.
He said the SFU football staff, led by head coach Mike Rigell, made him feel welcome, and after a long talk with his family he settled on Simon Fraser over the University of Calgary’s Dinos.
“I met with some of the players and they felt really welcoming too,” he said. “I like the school and the vibe was really nice for me.
George-Kelly did choose the Dinos, and looks forward to seeing Alberta this fall.
He’s joining one of the traditional powerhouses in Canada West football, a team only two years removed from a Vanier Cup title as national champs.
“That didn’t factor too much into my decision, but it’s definitely a plus for me, and I want to help them get back to that same spot,” said George-Kelly, who was initially recruited as a defensive back, and was later given the opportunity to choose between DB and receiver. “I love both positions, but I fell in love with the game as a receiver and I think playing that will help me out as I make the transition.“
George-Kelly said he really clicked with the Calgary coaching staff on his campus visit and he’s been impressed by the way they’ve continued to check in with him since he’s committed.
“A couple times a week, and not only about football but also academics,” he said. “They’re making sure I’m always focused in on football and setting up my future.”
Teammates on last fall’s AAA provincial champion Grizzlies, George-Kelly and Mocon will be rivals at the next level.
Mocon has committed to a nemesis of the Dinos, joining the UBC Thunderbirds.
“We’ve had some not-so-friendly friendly conversations towards each other,” Mocon said. “Kind of friendly trash talk.”
A hulking presence in high school football, he’ll be among other giants at UBC.
“The big challenge is going to be going up against older players, who are maybe stronger and have more experience,” he said. “But the way the coaches are talking, they seem to have a lot of confidence in me and think I’ll do well.”
Like George-Kelly, Mocon is joining a team that isn’t far removed from a Vanier Cup championship. UBC won theirs in 2015 and have been a little unsteady since, but Mocon believes in T-Birds head coach Blake Nill.
“He’s a proven winner who’s rebuilt two programs before this, Calgary and Saint Mary’s,” Mocon said. “I have confidence in him and believe he’ll build a team that can win a championship.
“It’s going to be a team effort to get there, but I think I can make a big impact on that.”
G.W. Graham head coach Luke Acheson is happy to see the Grizzlies program sending more players on to university ball.
“We strive to provide the development, mentorship and exposure that our players need to be successful at future levels beyond high school football,” he said. “We continue to explore new avenues to increase athlete exposure. We continually foster new relationships with coaches all over the country to provide our athletes with as many options and opportunities as possible to continue playing this great game.”
On Mocon, Acheson had this to say.
“Colton is a dominating road-grading offensive lineman. He is focused and has a true love for the game of football and his teammates.”
“Tyson is an amazing combination of size speed, passion and leadership. He will be a dominant player at the next level no matter what side of the ball he plays.”
Josh has been a dominant athlete all of his life. One of the most focused, driven and intense players I have ever coached. He is a big play type player who has a nose for the end zone. He will be a big piece of the SFU program going forward.”