The McMaster football program unveiled its 2018 recruiting class Sunday at an orientation event alongside spring camp, adding 48 new members ahead of the fall season.
After spending the past year scouring the country for the best student-athletes available, Head Coach Greg Knox and his coaching staff have brought together a class that includes 12 local recruits from the Golden Horseshoe area, 18 out-of-province players, 12 junior players, five transfers from OUA and NCAA schools and two players from the Quebec CEGEP system.
McMaster’s second large recruiting class in as many years was necessitated, Knox says, by another extensive loss of starters through graduation. After losing 14 members of their starting group following the 2016 season, the Marauders lost 12 from 2017’s group.
“The current number of upperclassmen contributing on the roster is very low – by adding a number of junior players and transfers with varying eligibility remaining we have positively impacted the age and maturity of our roster overall, made strides to normalize our upperclassman numbers, and add some much-needed depth to our roster,” says the coach.
Losses will be felt especially on defence, where only five junior or senior players return in 2018, but Knox believes the combination of the growth of younger returnees in the offseason — and the additions made through recruiting — will stand McMaster in good stead in the fall.
“We are obviously a very young group,” he says. “But I am encouraged by the progress of our returning players, and am confident this year’s group of newcomers is especially strong. We have taken the necessary steps to add maturity, size, speed and strength across the board.”
Additions from the junior football ranks and through transfers were designed to add experience to an otherwise young group, while the returning members have been dedicated to physical improvement in the offseason.
“Fact is, we needed to mature and get bigger, stronger and faster as a team this off-season,” says Knox. “We have taken significant steps to do that by focusing on these needs in recruiting and by focusing on our training efforts with our current roster. Both of these steps are progressing extremely well.”
“Our returning players are working hard in our off-season program and I am happy with their progress so far.”
Knox is hopeful that 2018’s additions — his second large class in as many years — will stabilize McMaster’s group moving forward and enable his staff to focus on specific areas of need and a smaller recruiting class in 2019.
“This is our second year of large recruiting classes, but I do not expect it to be the norm moving forward,” he says. “With a class of this size and age distribution, combined with the development of our current players, we expect to see a significantly different picture in 2019, where we expect to bring in a much smaller recruiting class.”
With the first week of spring camp behind them, the Marauders break for exam period before resuming a second week of spring camp on April 27.
McMaster will enter main camp in August, ahead of their home and season opening contest against the Guelph Gryphons at Ron Joyce Stadium on Sunday, August 26.
Source: Fraser Caldwell