Quebecers to watch among our neighbors to the south

More and more Quebecers tend to shine on the American university football scene. This season, no less than five student-athletes from Quebec are identified as contenders for the Jon-Cornish Trophy, awarded annually to the best Canadian playing in the NCAA.

Two Syracuse teammates, Victoriaville tackle Matthew Bergeron and Montreal receiver Damien Alford, find themselves on the Jon-Cornish Trophy “watch list”.

Added to this duo are Montreal defensive lineman Francis Bemiy, with Southern Utah, Lévis linebacker Geoffrey Cantin-Arku, with Memphis, and Bromont guard Sidy Sow, with Eastern Michigan.

« It’s becoming more and more common to see players from Quebec occupy important roles in the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] “, mentioned to the Log Football Canada President Jim Mullin.

“Program recruiters are increasingly recognizing that the CEGEP structure is solid to then evolve in the United States. They understand that they can get players of equal or better talent than they find in the United States in junior colleges “, he continues.

Canadian invasion

Football Canada estimates that more than 200 Canadian players currently play in the NCAA, up from just 64 just five years ago. Last season, no less than 32 of these players were from Quebec.

“Before, we saw small programs recruiting our Canadians. Now it comes from everywhere and our players are recruited younger and younger. It’s not the best thing for the development of football in the country, but it’s a great opportunity for our players. It also validates what we do,” Mullin said.

The Jon Cornish trophy, awarded since 2017, is worth its weight in gold.

Quarterback Nathan Rourke, who got it in the first two years after his success in Ohio, has since established himself with the BC Lions.

In 2019, it was running back Chuba Hubbard, for his exploits at Oklahoma State, who inherited the honor.

Observed by the NFL

The latter played his first season in the NFL last year with the Carolina Panthers, collecting 612 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

In 2020 and 2021, receiver John Metchie III, with Alabama, was chosen. He was drafted in the spring by the Houston Texans.

This season, 18 Canadian players are in the running for the award.

“Many of them will be seriously watched by NFL scouts. For example, receiver Josh Palmer was ranked sixth on our list in 2020 when he played in Tennessee and this season he will be in the starting rotation with the Los Angeles Chargers,” noted Mullin.

The prize will be awarded in December.

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