Men’s Football News

Kene Onyeka – Carleton Ravens

  • Name: Kene Onyeka
  • University: Carleton Ravens
  • Hometown: Brampton, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: St. Roch’s Secondary Catholic School
  • Position: Defensive Line
  • Academic program: Mechanical Engineering
  • Year of eligibility: 5
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 245

Key stats from 2017: 10.5 sacks, 32 solo tackles, 14 assisted tackles

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career):

  • 2017 U SPORTS 1st Team All-Canadian,
  • 2018 4th round draft pick by Ottawa REDBLACKS
  • OUA 1st Team All-Star


After being picked in the 4th round of the 2018 CFL Draft by the REDBLACKS and a 2017 season full of accolades, Onyeka will be leaned upon to lead the Ravens back to the playoffs in 2018. Having amassed double digit sacks in 2017, Onyeka will be the driving force of the Ravens defence, looking to create panic in the backfield for opposing quarterbacks and looking to create a wall against any running game they face.

Gabe Ferraro – Guelph Gryphons

  • Name: Gabe Ferraro
  • University: Guelph
  • Hometown: Mississauga, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: St. Marcellinus Secondary School (Mississauga, Ont.)
  • Position: Kicker/Punter
  • Academic program: Leadership & Organizational Management
  • Year of eligibility: 5
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 185

Key stats from 2017: 33 made field goals (new single-season U SPORTS record)

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): Two-time U SPORTS All-Canadian, 2017 team MVP



Calgary Stampeders draft pick Gabe Ferraro returns for his fifth and final season with the Guelph Gryphons in 2018, looking to build off of the greatest single-season performance ever by a kicker in Canadian university football. In 2017, Ferraro shattered the national record for made field goals in a season by connecting on 33 made field goals. The two-time All-Canadian’s memorable 2017 campaign saw him set a new school record for most points in a season (126), while also surpassing Rob Maver for the school record for field goals in a career (69). The Mississauga, Ont., native, who was also named a First Team All-Canadian in 2015, now returns to Guelph for his final season after having attended a CFL camp earlier this spring with the Calgary. Ferraro, who was selected in the seventh round by the Stampeders, was the lone kicker to be selected in the 2018 CFL Draft.

Kurleigh Gittens Jr. - Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks

  • Name: Kurleigh Gittens Jr.
  • University: Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Hometown: Ottawa, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: Sir Wilfird Laurier SS
  • Position: Receiver
  • Academic program: Sociology
  • Year of eligibility: 4
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 191

Key stats from 2017: 75 receptions in 8 games (U SPORTS record), 953 receiving yards (2nd in U SPORTS), 1665 all-purpose yards (1st in U SPORTS)

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): 2017 Hec Crighton Trophy finalist, 2017 OUA MVP, 2017 U SPORTS 1st Team All-Canadian (Receiver), 2017 U SPORTS 2nd Team All-Canadian (Returner), 2017 OUA 1st Team All-Star (Receiver & Returner), 2016 & 2015 OUA 2nd Team All-Star

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Kurleigh Gittens Jr. heads into the 2018 season, his fourth with the purple and gold, with a positive mindset. After an extremely successful season a year ago, the reigning OUA MVP and Hec Crighton Trophy finalist is focused on supporting his fellow Golden Hawks and enjoying the game of football while doing it.

The Ottawa, Ont. native made big moves last season, receiving numerous awards at the national, provincial and university level after making himself a valuable player as both a receiver and a primary kick returner. 2017 saw Gittens Jr. set a U SPORTS record with 75 receptions in a single season while also leading the country in all-purpose yardage with 1,665 yards. Rather than striving to build off his past success, however, Gittens. Jr. hopes to work hard to help the team in whatever way he can as he enters the 2018 season.

“I don’t really think of it as building off my successes. I see it as how I can help the team. Whether it’s receiving, returning or everything else, it’s about playing the game that I have fun with. Nothing really changes. I just help the team with whatever I can and have fun.”

Despite being one of the best receivers in the OUA, Gittens Jr. was not heavily recruited prior to coming to university. Hoping to play college football down south, he did not expect to one day find himself being recruited by the Golden Hawks during a playoff game in 2014. After visiting the campus and meeting the coaching staff, he made a decision to join the Laurier Golden Hawks, and he hasn’t regretted it since.

“I chose Laurier because of Michael Faulds and the coaching staff. I knew coming in that I had a good chance of making an impact. Obviously, I had to prove myself, but I took a chance on myself and fell in love with the coaching staff, and from then on it was game on. I wanted to work hard for them, and everything else came in to place.”

Gittens Jr.’s dedication to work hard has not been missed by his coaches and peers. In May 2018, he was chosen to represent Laurier amongst teammates Trevaughan James, Robbie Smith, Drew Mairleitner and Levondre Gordon at the 2018 East-West Bowl. At the event, which took place at Université Laval, he had the opportunity to showcase his skills, ultimately proving himself a top prospect for the 2019 CFL Draft.

However, throughout his success, he does not feel pressure to prove himself to anyone.

“I just want to enjoy my day, because I know that at the end of the day, my time is coming to an end. I’m doing this because I love playing the game. I’m not doing this to prove to someone that I’m better than them. I do this because I love the game and I love playing it,” he said with respect to his upcoming draft year.

Balancing an intense athletic schedule consisting of five practices per week with academic responsibilities can come as a challenge. Gittens Jr. personally owes it to his support system of coaches and athletic staff for making it manageable and assisting him with putting a schedule in place to balance football, school and a social life.

“It’s about sticking with your plan, and help is there when you need it. You just have to reach out and believe in yourself that you can balance everything and make everything work.

Besides football, the fourth-year sociology major enjoys playing basketball, golfing, go-karting and just hanging out with his close friends. He also speaks of his family who has supported him.

 “My little sister is 9 years old - she’s been my fan since first year- and my dad has always been my supporter. One day, I’d love to get my mom up here, because she is back in my country, Guyana. I would love for her to get to see me play sometime.”

For Gittens Jr., it is clear that success is driven from a positive attitude and mindset. Before each game, he repeats 10 statements to himself in reassurance of who he is and what he is capable of as a football player. This helps him to prepare mentally, because for him, “it’s all about your mindset”.

The Golden Hawks return to the field on Aug. 26 for their home Opener against the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Entering potentially his final season as a Laurier Golden Hawk, Gittens Jr. plans to continue working hard and expects that success will follow.

“I’ve had to work for everything that I’ve gotten. Nothing in life is given to you. I’m just going to continue to work. That’s my mindset - you’ve got to put in the work to be the guy.”

Jordan Lyons – McMaster Marauders

  • Name: Jordan Lyons
  • University: McMaster
  • Hometown: Burlington, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: Assumption
  • Position: Running Back
  • Academic program: Labour Studies
  • Year of eligibility: 4
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 205

Key stats from 2017: 135 carries, 700 yards, 87.5 yards per game, three touchdowns

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): McMaster Homecoming MVP (2017)

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Moving into the role of McMaster’s featured running back for the first time in 2017, Lyons improved steadily over the course of the season as he became more comfortable, and twice eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the Marauders final four games of the regular season. He accomplished a regular season single game high in McMaster’s 32-2 Homecoming victory over York, with 176 yards and a touchdown to be awarded the Mark Timpany Memorial Trophy as the Marauders Homecoming MVP. Lyons completed the regular season with 700 rushing yards, before exploding for 319 in McMaster’s 12-9 victory over Queen’s in an OUA quarterfinal, a total that ranked second in the conference’s playoff history. He was one of two Marauders, alongside linebacker Eric Blake, who competed for Team West at the 2018 Valero East-West Bowl in May.

Carter Matheson – Ottawa Gee-Gees

  • Name: Carter Matheson
  • University: Ottawa
  • Hometown: Kingston, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: Frontenac Secondary School
  • Position: Receiver
  • Academic program: Biopharmaceutical Science (Genomics)
  • Year of eligibility: 4
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 210 lbs

Key stats from 2017: 38 receptions (6th in the OUA) for 489 yards and 2 touchdowns. 61.1 yards per game average.

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): 2017 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian

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Carter Matheson’s story in Garnet and Grey has been one of continual improvement as he enters what promises to be his most successful year for the Gee-Gees. Matheson’s work ethic both on the field and in the classroom have led him to a valuable place in the Ottawa offence.

From a combined eight receptions in his first two seasons, to 38 in his third, Matheson’s performance last season earned him the team’s Most Improved Player Award. In what was a quieter year for a typically potent Gee-Gees attack in 2017, Matheson was the team’s most reliable target.

Prior to his time at the University of Ottawa, Matheson was a standout basketball talent at Frontenac S.S. in Kingston, Ont. It was not until late in his high school career that he chose the gridiron over the court.

From an academic perspective, Matheson was named a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian in 2017, which is not an easily achievable feat considering the workload of an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biopharmaceutical Science, with a focus on Genomics.

As he continues to take steps forward, Matheson will hope to join former U SPORTS All-Canadian teammates Ian Stewart and Mitchell Baines, both of which had their most successful seasons late in their careers.

With a strong returning group of players on both sides of the ball and some key recruiting, Matheson and the Gee-Gees could be a force to be reckoned with in the 2018 season.

Chris Osei-Kusi – Queen’s Gaels

  • Name: Chris Osei-Kusi
  • University: Queen’s
  • Hometown: Brampton, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: Cardinal Ambrozic SS
  • Position: Receiver
  • Academic program: Political Studies
  • Year of eligibility: 4
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 197

Key stats from 2017: Led the OUA and fifth in U SPORTS with seven receiving TDs, second in the OUA with 49 receptions and 723 receiving yards. Had a career-high 226 yard, 3 TD game against Windsor last season.

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): First Team OUA All-Star in 2017. Was selected to the U SPORTS East-West Bowl in 2017.

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After excelling in his first year as a starting receiver in 2016, Osei-Kusi had a breakout season in 2017. He is on top of the receiving depth chart and has become one of the key leaders of the Gaels offence and locker room.

Having already put up league-leading statistics in 2017, Osei-Kusi returns in his draft year to prove that he is among the elite receivers in U SPORTS. After this season there may be a bright future ahead for Osei-Kusi, however he makes it clear that his focus remains on the 2018 season.

“All of the things that I need to do to be prepared for the draft and the combine, that’s going to happen after the season. Right now I want to zero in on this season and make it the best season I’ve ever played in,” said Osei-Kusi during Queen’s training camp.

Despite his individual success, Osei-Kusi is a team player and wants to make sure that even though he may be the player to watch he wants his Gaels to be the team to watch.

“I just want to get every opportunity that I can whether that’s blocking for my teammates or getting the chance to catch that big touchdown, whatever I can do to help the team. This is the year where we know the OUA is open and a spot in the top tier is ours for the taking.”

Will Corby – Toronto Varsity Blues

  • Name: Will Corby
  • University: University of Toronto
  • Hometown: Burlington, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: Nelson H.S.
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Academic program: History
  • Year of eligibility: 2
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 190

Key stats from 2017: Led all OUA rookie receivers with 27 receptions for 412 yards and two touchdowns.

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): Named a member of the 2017 OUA all-rookie team. Was a 2017-18 University of Toronto Varsity Blues male rookie of the year nominee across all sports.

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Will Corby enters his sophomore year with the Blues after a breakout rookie season in 2017, which earned him a spot on the OUA all-rookie team. The 6-foor-3, 190-pound wide receiver from Burlington, Ont., started all eight games in the Blue and White last season, leading the team and all OUA rookie receivers with 27 receptions for 412 yards and two majors. He scored his first career touchdown on a season-long 55-yard catch at Waterloo on Sept. 9 and went onto notch a season-high 97 receiving yards at York on Sept. 23.

Corby is no stranger to elite athletics. His brother, Doug, is a former member of the Queen’s Gaels and was drafted by the Edmonton Eskimos in the 2016 CFL draft, while his father, also Doug, played golf at Virginia Tech University.

“Will had a great rookie year last season and we’re hoping that he picks up where he left off and gets better each and every week,” said Varsity Blues head coach Greg Marshall. “We expect him to be one of our playmakers and we’re going to count on him to provide us with a spark each game on offence.”

Tre Ford – Waterloo Warriors

  • Name: Tre Ford
  • University: Waterloo
  • Hometown: Niagara Falls, Ont.
  • High school / Cegep: A.N. Meyer Secondary School
  • Position: Quarterback
  • Academic program: Recreation & Leisure
  • Year of eligibility: 2
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 180

Key stats from 2017: Finished 12th in U SPORTS in rushing yards with 717, fourth in passing efficiency (158.8) and fifth in complete percentage (66.7%). Went 48-for-72 for 673 passing yards.

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): OUA & U SPORTS Rookie of the Year / OUA All-Rookie

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Second-year quarterback Tre Ford was a big factor in putting the Warriors back on the map in 2017 after a sensational rookie season with the black and gold. Ford, the winner of the OUA's rookie of the year award, also added the Peter Gorman Trophy as the country's top rookie, becoming only the second Warrior in the history of the program to collect the honour. Ford finished 12th in U SPORTS in rushing yards with 717, fourth in passing efficiency (158.8), and fifth in completion percentage (66.7%). 

Ford's dynamic first season was all the more impressive given the fact that he missed the team's Week 4 game against Carleton with an injury. He was a constant threat with both his legs and arm, and he gained nearly first-down yardage every time he kept the ball: Ford averaged 9.3 yards per passing attempt and an OUA-best 9.3 yards per carry. All told, Ford totalled 10 touchdowns – four rushing and six passing – in just seven games. 

Ford joined the Montreal Alouettes in May as part of CFL's QB internship program, participating in all training camp activities, gaining valuable experience heading into his sophomore year this fall.

Cedric Joseph – Western Mustangs

  • Name: Cedric Joseph
  • University: Western
  • Hometown: Montreal, Que.
  • High school / Cegep: Champlain College
  • Position: Running Back
  • Academic program: King’s College
  • Year of eligibility: 4
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 196

Key stats from 2017: Regular Season: 578 yards rushing on 84 carries with 10 touchdowns

Playoffs: 482 yards rushing on 58 carries with 12 touchdowns

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): OUA All-Rookie, Yates Cup MVP (2017)

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The Western Mustangs run to the 2017 Vanier Cup was memorable for a wide number of reasons, but one of the most prominent had to be Cedric Joseph’s arrival on the national stage. Of course, Joseph had already put in a strong regular season campaign with 578 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 84 carries. However, his post-season performance was so dominant, that there is no question he stands as one of the top running backs in all of Canadian university football.

Joseph nearly equaled both his number of carries and rushing yards in half as many games, racking up 482 yards on 58 attempts through four post-season contests. If that wasn’t astonishing enough, he surpassed his regular season total for touchdowns as he found the end zone 12 different times during Western’s championship push.

With numbers like that it would be understandable if a player was a bit cocky or arrogant entering the new season. That’s not the case for Joseph though, as the former Champlain Cougar constantly credits his teammates for his successes and prefers to focus on team goals rather than individual accomplishments. Ask him about his fantastic playoff run, being named or what his personal expectations for this season are, and the answer is always the same: it’s all about the team as a whole.

This season Joseph is entering his CFL Draft year and he’ll continue to form the most dominant rushing attack in the country alongside Alex Taylor and Trey Humes. As exciting a thought that is for Mustangs fans, it must be equally terrifying for opposing defensive coordinators – how do you contain a running game that just never slows down?

Marvin Gaynor – Windsor Lancers

  • Name: Marvin Gaynor
  • University: Windsor
  • Hometown: Toronto, ON
  • High school / Cegep: Chaminade
  • Position: Running Back
  • Academic program: Sociology
  • Year of eligibility: 4
  • Height: 5-9
  • Weight: 180

Key stats from 2017: 935 yards (2nd in OUA) on 131 carries. Averaged 116.9 yards per game to ranked third overall in the OUA

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Marvin led the Lancers in rushing last season with 935 yards and finished second overall in the OUA. As one of the top running backs in the league, Gaynor has a chance to move up to the top of the list if the Lancers are able to run the ball as they have in previous years.

Brett Hunchak – York Lions

  • Name: Brett Hunchak
  • University: York University
  • Hometown: Calgary, Alta.
  • High school / Cegep: Notre Dame H.S.
  • Position: Quarterback
  • Academic program: Interdisciplinary Social Science
  • Year of eligibility: 4
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 195

Key stats from 2017: Ranked fifth in the OUA in passing yards with 1795, fourth in completions (149) and attempts (245). Also threw nine touchdown passes.

Awards & honours (since start of U SPORTS career): Participated in the Calgary Stampeders training camp as part of the U SPORTS-CFL quarterback development program in 2016 and joined the Edmonton Eskimos for the same program in 2017. Named the U SPORTS and OUA offensive player of the week after the Week 1 win in 2016 over Waterloo, where he threw for 331 yards and five touchdowns, and earned the OUA award again in Week 3 after throwing for 540 yards and three touchdowns.



Brett Hunchak came to York for the 2015 season alongside his brother Colton as two of the most coveted recruits available in that off season. He quickly became the starting quarterback for the team taking over in Week 4 of his rookie season and made an immediate impact for the Lions.

Since his rookie year he’s been re-writing the York record books and is primed to have his best season yet in 2018. He is currently ranked second all-time in passing yards (4,832), fourth in touchdown passes (23), second in completions (385) and fourth in attempts (644). A healthy 2018 season could see him break all of those records and be in first-place in all of those categories by the time the season ends.

Brett is a leader in the football locker room and well respected by his peers across the campus. He participated in the Calgary Stampeders training camp as part of the U SPORTS-CFL quarterback development program in 2016 and joined the Edmonton Eskimos for the same program in 2017.

He has also played internationally and represented Canada at the U19 world championships in Kuwait in 2014, where they won the silver medal, and at the U19 International Bowl in Dallas in 2014 and 2015.

Brett played his high school football for the prestigious Notre Dame Pride, the most dominant program in Alberta. He led the team to an undefeated season and the Alberta Tier I championship in 2012.