Article by Ryan Mccabe, canadafootballchat.com. View the article here
UBC shocked the country with their Vanier Cup win a few years ago, and after falling a few points shy in the last two editions of the Hardy Cup, they’ve got some unfinished business left to attend. We saw a lot of top talent bleed out of B.C, but the Thunderbirds have done well to attract six CFC100 prospects including a few gems from out of province, and when combined with one of the most expensive staffs in U Sports they should be able to get a lot of mileage out of this class once they show up on campus.
CFC100 LB Daniel Kwamou (CFC50 Notre Dame, AB) Calgary was the landing destination for a lot of B.C CFC100 prospects, but UBC was able to fire back this past week by signing Daniel Kwamou out of Notre Dame in Calgary.
Kwamou originally called South Carolina home and considered soccer his passion – figure that one out – but once he arrived in Calgary for high school he found a new love in his life. He was a natural fit on the football field using his blinding speed and physicality to springboard himself onto the CFC100 rankings in a short amount of time, and Notre Dame enjoyed a ton of success while he was their despite never winning the city title. There weren’t many players on the list who played at the same type of speed as Kwamou in high school, and once he gets his head on straight in university he should become a star at outside linebacker.
CFC100 REC Jacob Patten (Bishop Ryan, ON) I’m not sure about other people, but the signing of Jacob Patten out of Bishop Ryan was a huge surprise, and one that UBC fans will love once he arrives on the West Coast.
Patten has been on the CFC100 for the last two years, and although he sort of got lost in the Hamilton Catholic League, he was clearly garnering nationwide attention for his ability to go above and beyond whenever the Celtics needed. When I first learned of him he was playing receiver, but Patten eventually took over duties under centre for one reason or another at Bishop Ryan and split time between the two positions in 2017. He pulled off a whole bunch of crazy plays running the offence, and it was definitely fun to watch, but it’s going to be a lot more fun to watch him head back to receiver full-time where he’s known as one of the most electrifying players in the province.
For a guy like Patten, I can absolutely see why he’d want to jump ship to CanWest where the passing numbers have been off the charts, plus the rivalry between Calgary and UBC seems to only be heating up.
CFC100 TE Pauljeet Dhami (CFC50 Notre Dame, B.C) You need all the weapons you can get in CanWest, so UBC secured the dynamic Pauljeet Dhami who stacks up at 6’4”, 235lbs and can play either tight end or defensive end depending on how they see him fitting in.
If it’s at tight end or fullback, they’re going to be getting a bull who can open some holes for their tailbacks, but more importantly he can become a constant threat if the coaching staff finds a way to implement him into the passing game. He’s obviously not the fastest guy around, but he’s got great hands and was productive in 2017 catching 28 passes for 487 yards and seven touchdowns. I’m thinking red zone threat whenever the T-Birds get near the goal line, but he could very easily play defensive line after leading the Jugglers last season with eight sacks as well.
Dhami is a prospect who could legit swing either way and should make an impact on special teams early in his career.
CFC100 DL Gavin Murray (CFC50 Seaquam, B.C) We go from one monster to another, but unlike Dhami, I’ve got no doubt Gavin Murray will be digging loads dirt in the trenches while playing for his hometown team.
Murray mostly lined up at defensive end at Seaquam, and he was a huge reason why their transition from Tier II went so smoothly after winning the provincial title in 2016. What impressed me most about Murray is his gap awareness when rushing off the end, which often led to him making plays on the backside when a running back or quarterback decided to reverse field. He’s also shown he’s more than capable of pinning his ears back and eating some quarterbacks after racking up six sacks last season. Murray still looks very raw on film, but you can see all the parts there to make a U Sports star if he puts in the time on and off the field with the coaching staff.
CFC100 OL Giovanni Manu (Pitt Meadows, B.C) They kept some big boys home at UBC, and Giovanni Manu is another massive prospect that pulled double duties on both sides of the line at Pitt Meadows.
I believe he’ll be a tackle at the next level, but he definitely could hold his own in the middle of the defensive line and is a very impressive athlete for 6’8”, 320lbs. You read that right, that’s a mountain of a man and he already seems to be thinking at an advanced level while playing offensive line. It’s tough to judge because of the level of competition in Tier II, but Manu was always looking to get to the second level and he’s got a relentless motor finishing every block, so I’ve personally got high hopes that he’ll turn into wall once he gets adjusted to the speed at the next level. Or he’ll play defensive tackle, who knows.
CFC100 ATH Max Kennedy (Centennial, B.C) We’ve come to our final in-province CFC100 commit, and there’s only one word to describe Max Kennedy – explosive.
Kennedy was a one-man show at Centennial this past season taking care of kick return duties, playing receiver, playing running back, playing defensive back and I think he even played some quarterback. Anywhere he lined up, something was bound to happen and the weirdest part was it looked he was going half speed compared to everyone else. You can clearly see he has blazing speed, but he’s such a fluid runner he makes everybody else look like they’re moving in slow motion, which is a special trait not many players possess. On one play it looked like he was practically walking and absolutely decleated a kid on the sidelines – still trying to figure out where all that leverage came from. He’s always thinking one or two steps ahead of his opponents and I think he’ll become a swiss army knife the coaching staff will fall in love with on offence.
RB Jaxon Ciraolo-Brown (Cathedral, ON) There’s a few guys who could have slipped into this spot, but I got the chance to watch Jaxon Ciraolo-Brown a few times last year live and came away impressed.
I already knew he was feasting on every other team in the Hamilton Catholic League, but I wanted to see how he stacked up against top ranked CFC50 St. Thomas More and CFC50 Cardinal Newman. Cathedral predictably ended up losing both games, but the last person I would’ve blamed was Ciraolo-Brown. I saw a guy who relished the opportunity to lead his team to victory, he wasn’t afraid of the physicality, and against CN they definitely had a chance to win if their coaching staff would’ve just handed him the ball instead of trying to pass in 80km hour winds. He went through the same situation as Patten where he got worn out each game trying to carry the offence, so I’m pumped to see what this duo can do with a little bit of room to breathe at UBC.