June 1 kicked off the first day of the 2018 season that CJFL teams across the country were able to begin signing returning and new players for the upcoming season. In the BCFC some of our clubs are in different situations heading into the season as far as the number of players they are looking to replace due to graduation or just the need to improve in different positions. Some teams may be tweaking while others are in full overhaul. While there are still players to be signed with 2 months to the day before the first game is actually played, the majority of players were inked this weekend as teams looked to solidify their rosters and lock down talent.
We talked to the head coaches from 5 of the 6 clubs to ask them who they felt was their biggest new signing on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball as of the weekend. While in many cases the coaches struggled to highlight their top recruit, VI Raiders GM Glenn Cook spoke on behalf of his team and was the most bullish of all the teams as he discussed the Raiders recruiting class. He hesitated to have the Raiders involved in this story and half joked he wanted it made clear they were doing it under protest because “the Raiders had too many good ones and it was hard to pick just one.”
We asked the coaches to name their “best signing” for their own reasons and didn’t stipulate it had to be their best player signed…although its fair to assume that is the case generally. Most of the players listed come to the BCFC with either junior or CIS experience, although a couple high schoolers made it as well.
A look at the top 6 offensive and defensive new signings by team this weekend along with quotes from their head coach why they are top of the list.
Mike West-REC-Valley Huskers
West rejoins the BCFC after sitting out last season. As a member of the Valley Huskers he was a standout in 2016 when he made the conference all-star team, finishing 6th in receiving with 40 catches for 635 yards and 6TDS
Why he is a top signing-“He is a game changer. Great attitude. Tall, lanky receiver with great hands.”
Khaliel James-RB-York Univeristy
James is a 22 year old native of Scarborough Ontario who last saw action in 2016 with York University.
Why he is a top signing-“The loss of back to back All Canadian running backs is never easy to replace (Trey Campbell & Jamel Lyles). James is a man, a very very mature guy.”
Reid Vankoughnett-QB-Dakota HS Winnipeg
A 6’2, 205 pounder, he is the son of former Winnipeg Blue Bomber centre Dave Vankoughnett. This 18 year is expected to be the lone rookie starting QB in the BCFC this season
Why he is a top signing-“He is our starting quarterback, thats pretty big. He is pencilled in to be the the guy. He has all the attributes as Colby (2017 starter who moved to CIS).
Julian Wytinck-QB-Manitoba Bisons
Huskers head coach Bob Reist didn’t hesitate in showing his excitement about signing a QB who “clearly had other options on the table.” This 22 year old will spend his final year of junior eligibility playing a key role is assisting the Huskers in year 2 of their rebuild.
Why he is a top signing-“He will be in the top echelon of quarterbacks in this conference. But more importantly, to bring in a guy like him shows a belief in the program. He is the type of player that other guys will look to and think, if its good for him its good for me.”
Duncan Little-QB-Calgary Colts
A married 20 year old native of Didsbury Alberta, he brings 2 years of junior experience garnered with the Colts of the PFC and knows Rams head coach Snoop Blokker well, playing for him last season when Blokker was the head coach of the Colts.
Why he is a top signing-“He brings experience. QB is an important position obviously, getting a guy of his character and ability is huge for our team.”
Jakob Loucks-QB-MT Allison
Sun head coach Ben Macauley feels this former CIS rookie of the year is the key to his offensive success in 2018.
Why he is a top signing-“He brings a leadership quality that is not common in this league. We expect to be playing on the national stage this year, so that is something we need to have.
Nils Haeni-DL-Didsbury HS Alberta
6’4, 250 pound Haeni is one of just 2 true rookie straight from high school on this list and the Raiders are bullish about his addition to the defensive line.
Why he is a top signing-“He can play anywhere. Fast, great first move off the line, a strong nasty kid.”
Jameel Moore Williams-DL-UBC
Moore-Williams is one of the many key 22 year olds with CIS experience signed by BCFC clubs this weekend. He sat out last season rehabing a knee injury.
Why he is a top signing-“An absolute character signing. He will be the leader in the locker room. He is a very, very serious player
Damian Person-DL-Valley State University
A native of Saskatoon, this 20 year old played south of the border in 2017.
Why he is a top signing-“He fills a void we have had the last few years of having a guy up the middle who can get pressure there. A guy who can push people around.”
Daniel Mills-DB-University of Saskatchewan
22 year old Mills will bring a veteran presence to the Huskers defensive backfield this year.
Why he is a top signing-“He is a huge signing for us. We expect him to provide leadership back there. We had talent last year but we need some more experience to keep things calm at times.”
Rams head coach overhauled somewhere close to 75% of the roster from last season and considers this 19 year old a key to his defense.
Why he is a top signing-“He is a linebacker who can play in the box and also cover. That was a huge void with this club last year that we just filled.
Jordan Rae-DB-Calgary Colts
22 year Rae brings post secondary experience with both the Calgary Colts and University of Alberta to the Sun secondary.
Why he is a top signing-“He is an all Canadian caliber player who will bring leadership to the field and the locker room.