Falcons earn their T’Bird wings

Two Foothills Falcons have grown into Thunderbirds.

Falcon quarterback Trey Kellogg and runningback Landon Rose signed letters of commitment to play for the UBC Thunderbirds upon graduating in June.

“I’m really excited,” Kellogg said. “UBC has an amazing campus and a really good team. Coach (UBC head coach Blake Nill) is really turning things around there. Especially with the signing of these four other guys, it is going to be great.”

Also signing with the T’Birds during a ceremony in Okotoks Friday were Priddis products, twins Michael and Christian Sherman, a quarterback and runningback, respectively, for the Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats as well as Centennial Coyote receiver Shea Priest from Calgary.

The six-foot-two, 185-pound Kellogg will play receiver for UBC, a position he played with the 2013 Falcons and most recently with U18 Team Alberta at the Football Canada Cup last summer.

“I love quarterback, but I feel receiver is my best position,” Kellogg said.

Nill said the T’Birds are loaded at receiver, and Kellogg will add to the arsenal.

“Our receiving corps at UBC is maybe our strongest area but it still needs to improve,” said Nill, who was in Okotoks as the T’Birds play the U of C Dinos in the Hardy Cup tomorrow.

“Trey is going to give us another body on the field that teams are going to have to deal with.”

Rose came out of nowhere for the Falcons last year after playing behind Josh Koshman when he was a Grade 10 student.

“Going into high school I didn’t think about it (a scholarship),” Rose said. “I didn’t play a ton in Grade 10 behind Koshman, but I thought I was a good player.

“But I trained a lot, so when I got the playing time to show, I did well.”

The six-foot, 195-pound Rose has good speed, but also plenty of power. Nill compared him to former Dino standout and current Stampeder, Matt Walter, who he recruited while at the U of C for nine years before signing with UBC this season.

Rose doesn’t mind the comparison and he’ll be ready in the fall.

“There is always going to be pressure, but it’s excitement right now,” Rose said. “To see what coach Nill has done in such a short time, we will only grow off it.”

Runningback Christian Sherman has played against Rose throughout his high school and Bantam football career. Now he is finally going to be a teammate, but will compete for a job.

“It’s going to give me more fight — to push myself a little bit more if I didn’t have him there,” Christian said. “If he starts over me, I am just going to push a little bit more.”

He said signing with Michael was just a natural thing to do.

“Playing with Michael is a relationship type thing — where he goes, I want to go,” Christian said with a smile. “Kind of that inseparable bond type thing.”

His brother Michael, like Kellogg, will be switching to a different position at UBC after playing quarterback at Bishop O’Byrne.

He said he feels he can help UBC at another position.

“I talked to the (UBC) coaches and they asked: ‘where do I want to play?’” Michael said. “I said either slot or defensive back. I think my height, I’m only six-feet, and I am more of a running quarterback (doesn’t help). They have a really good quarterback (Michael O’Connor).”

Seeing his new recruits will be a familiar sight for the UBC headman come next fall.

During Nill’s days as head coach of the U of C, he saw plenty of the local players UBC signed on Friday.

“They are the same age as my youngest boy. I saw them play a lot during their minor football and in the high school ranks,” he said.

Kellogg has been playing against the Shermans brothers throughout his Bantam and high school career.

“It will be great to play with them and not against them,” Kellogg said with a laugh.

Christian agreed.

“Competing against them all these years and being some of the top players,” he said. “Now we can all show what we can do together on the same team.”

It’s not the first time Nill has dipped his toes into Foothills football pond.

Nill signed former Falcon receiver Anthony Parker to the University of Calgary as well as former Falcon QB Hunter Karl.

Parker is now with the Stampeders, while, Karl, who threw to Kellogg in 2012 is seeing some action at receiver for the Dinos.

Nill said the signing of the five players is a big day for the T’Birds’ future.

“We need to have a larger Alberta contingent,” Nil said. “There’s no question that this is an important step for UBC football.”

Nill stressed football is secondary as academics is the top priority for the five new birds.

Kellogg and Rose aren’t done playing high school football yet. They will play the Catholic Central Cougars in the Southern Alberta Tier II provincial semifinal Saturday at the Comp at 11:30 a.m.

(Photo: A quartet of Foothills area high school football players signed with the UBC Thunderbirds Friday. They are, from left, Priddis’ Michael and Christian Sherman, Foothills Falcon Trey Kellogg, Calgary Centennial’s Shea Priest and Falcon Landon Rose. Brent Calver/OWW )

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