Canadians in the NCAA

Canadians in the NCAA

Several Canadians have accepted scholarships to play NCAA Division 1A football next season.

Here are five native Canadians to watch for in 2015:

Whitby’s WESLEY ANNAN accepted a scholarship offer from Stanford in November.

Annan played a season of football with the Donald A. Wilson Gators of Whitby before moving South to play at Lake Forest Academy in Chicago.

“Since he’s stepped onto this campus, Wesley’s worked really hard in the classroom and the football field,” Lake Forest Academy coach Robin Bowkett told Chicago Tribune reporter Bob Narang the day he made his decision. “Stanford is truly the pinnacle. It’s one of the best schools in the country and plays at the highest level of football. It’s the best of both worlds. He had some great options.”

The 6-foot-4, 289-pound defensive lineman reportedly had more than 20 NCAA Division 1A scholarship offers to chose from.

“I’ve visited there before and it has everything that I wanted,” Annan told Narang. “Academically, it’s a great school. Athletically, they have everything, and socially you can’t get anything better than that. It’s also such a beautiful place. I just needed to talk to my parents.”

Ottawa’s NEVILLE GALLIMORE also had multiple scholarship options to chose from.

In January he accepted an offer from the University of Oklahoma.

“The hours and the amount of work I put in over the past month and couple years, to see the results pay off, it definitely meant a lot to me. And I mean it’s still very overwhelming,” the 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive lineman told CBC’s Jamie Long.

Long points out that Gallimore was the first Canadian ever invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American all-star game, and now will aim to become the first Ottawa-born player to play in the NFL (Jesse Palmer and Christo Bilukidi were raised in Ottawa, but not born there).

Gallimore spent last season with the Canada Prep Football Academy, a travelling team based in St. Catharines Ontario. He began playing football at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School in Ottawa.

Listen to Gallimore’s CBC Ottawa Morning interview here:

British Columbia’s HARPER SHERMAN, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive lineman, will play football for the University of Arizona Wildcats next season.

The New Westminster Hyacks star accepted a scholarship to the school in August.

“I had this dream of being a Div. 1 football player, but I have to keep pushing forward and putting in the hard work. It’s what it takes to be at this high level,” Sherman told Royal City Record reporter Tom Berridge. “I feel great and really excited about going down there and playing at the Division 1 level. It was just a confirmation of all the research we had done. It was just the right fit.”

Sherman also reportedly received offers from the University of Nevada, Wyoming, San Diego State and Texas-El Paso.

Another high school star, this one from St. Andrews College in Aurora, Ontario, will also be playing football south of the border in 2015.

JONATHAN FEMI-COLE, a 6-foot, 220-pound running back from Vaughn, Ontario, committed to the University of Minnesota while attending the school’s annual July recruiting barbeque.

“Being a Canadian player does have its difficulties,” Femi-Cole told Gopher247’s Dan Meyer during the summer. “A lot of coaches see a Canadian running back and they look at the competition level and that’s reasonable, but the way I see it is if you can play, you can play. Competition level doesn’t make you the player you are and if you have the talent and work ethic you can succeed.”

Femi-Cole also had offers from the University of Buffalo and the University of Nevada.

“Coach (Robert Reeves) sees me fitting in the Minnesota offense very well being a power back that can run the ball 20-30 times a game without getting beat up as much. I’m also able to catch the ball in the passing game. He says that with the combination of those two things I can really succeed there,” Femi-Cole told Meyer. “Minnesota’s run-oriented offense definitely plays a factor in my decision. Being a running back, you want to be running the ball. All the schools have great facilities so that’s really not a factor. What I’m really looking for is a sense of brotherhood within the team. A place where I have a great relationship with the coaching staff, somewhere I can trust the coaches and talk to them about my problems and what I need to do to continue getting better.”

One of the University of Connecticut’s 20 committed new players for 2015, Montreal’s HERGY MAYALA had 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns while also seeing time as a cornerback and punter at Trinity-Pawling School in New York. Mayala also played on the school’s basketball team and competed in track and field.

Mayala, who played minor football with Montreal’s North Shore Lions and North Shore Mustangs, could play either wide receiver or safety for the Huskies.

Neville Gallimore (Patrick Fife/Canada Prep Academy)

Neville Gallimore (Patrick Fife/Canada Prep Academy)