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Forde: Signing Day seeks out Canada's next big thing

Duane Forde
2/5/2013 10:24:46 AM
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In the world of NCAA football, the first Wednesday in February is what's known as National Signing Day, the first day on which incoming recruits can submit their Letters of Intent. For U.S. college coaches, it's their Christmas, as they officially learn which prospects from their respective wish lists they will actually get to work with over the next four or five years.

Canadian kids have positioned themselves more prominently on those NCAA recruiting wish lists in recent years. By attending football camps and combines south of the border or, in some cases, even moving to the States to play at American high schools and prep schools the current generation of Canuck prospects is doing whatever it takes to establish themselves against American competition.

The young men in Canada's Class of 2013, however, aren't the type who usually have to do much to turn heads. In fact, some would say that these guys are virtually impossible to ignore, as this year, our nation's No. 1 football export will be size.

Headlining the list of those Canadians who have already made verbal commitments and are expected to sign with NCAA programs on February 6 is 6'8" offensive tackle David Knevel from Brantford, Ontario's Pauline Johnson Collegiate. While Knevel has committed to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Huskers' longtime rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners have landed a Canadian OT of their own in 6'6" Pickering, Ontario product Josiah St. John, who will transfer from Fresno City College.

Rice University in Houston has found great recruiting success in Canada in recent years, as current Edmonton Eskimo Scott Mitchell, 2013 NFL Draft prospect Luke Willson (2012 Toronto Argonaut pick), 2013 CFL Draft prospect Hosam Shahin, and standout defensive tackle Christian Covington (2016 CFL Draft) have all excelled in the Owls program. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Rice has gone to the well again to land a verbal commitment from 6'4" offensive lineman Peter Godber from St. Andrew's College in Aurora, Ontario.

6'5" North Bay, Ontario native Ryan Hunter has spent the last two years playing football at Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York and the move appears to be paying off, as he is expected to sign to play O-Line with the Bowling Green Falcons of the Mid-American Conference. Breaking up the Ontario Signing Day monopoly but keeping with the offensive line theme is 6'7" Riley Feenan from Vancouver's Notre Dame Regional Secondary School. He has verbally committed to an FCS (formerly Division 1-AA) program, Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania.

This year's most unique Canadian NCAA recruit is 6'6", 300 lb. defensive tackle James Bodanis of Toronto. After spending the last three seasons with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, Bodanis, a raw but highly athletic big man, is expected to transfer to Michigan State University, where he will have two years of NCAA eligibility.

On Wednesday, TSN.ca will have complete Signing Day coverage from a Canadian perspective, including a live online chat with me (@DuaneFordeTSN), Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN), and Canadian amateur football guru Lee Barette (@chatfootball). In addition to our Twitter updates, Kate McKenna (@TSNKate) will keep you in the loop with the latest from these young Canadians on their big day.

Follow TSN.ca on Wednesday for all the NCAA college football signings, along with updates from Duane Forde, Farhan Lalji and Dave Naylor for Canadians on the radar. You can also take part in a live chat with Duane, Farhan and canadafootballchat.com's Lee Barrette, Wednesday at 3:30pm et/12:30pm pt.




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