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Frontenac’s Nolan McGreer signs to play football at Carleton

January 16, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

It was a cold, blustery, grey, late-November day the afternoon the Frontenac Falcons played in their OFSAA Bowl football game in Toronto, and Nolan McGreer remembers it well — not so much for the outcome, but for the number of people who wanted a minute of the young man’s time.

“It was a little funny,” McGreer says of the memory. “There was actually a lineup of schools waiting to talk to me.

“In that weather, I almost got frostbite.”

It’s little wonder the recruiters from so many Canadian universities wanted to chat with a member of the losing side’s offensive line. You don’t find a lot of nimble 6-foot-4, 270-pound tackles in high school, and as a result the ones who do come along are in high demand.

McGreer Saturday broke many a recruiter’s heart when he signed his letter of intent to attend school and play football this fall at Carleton University.

McGreer said there were a number of reasons he decided to pursue his football career with the Ravens.

“Over the weeks I was able to develop a very good relationship with the coaches there,” he said. “They offer criminology, which is the field I want to study, and it’s one of the better programs in the country.

“The whole environment. They made me feel right at home. I just kind of knew that’s the place I’m going to spend the next four or five years.”

That he was casting his lot with a second-year program — with a team that failed to win a game in 2013 — wasn’t a major consideration, McGreer said.

“I didn’t really think of the wins or losses part of it,” he said. “I wanted to first figure out what was my potential of making an impact on the team, and the future — if they will have a chance to compete, which I believe they do. That, and if I was going to be comfortable on the team.

“I’d rather play for a team I’m comfortable with that might not win as much in the first couple of years, than a team that maybe I wouldn’t have as good a time or fit in as much that is going to win some games, because I wouldn’t feel like I was a reason they were winning those games.

“In a couple of years I believe (Carleton) is going to be one of the top teams in the province and I really want to be part of something special that is going to happen there.”

Members of the Ravens coaching staff believe they have something special in McGreer, who in addition to a successful high school career at Frontenac, played for the Kingston Grenadiers of the Ontario Varsity Football League and is a member of Team Ontario.

“We ranked Nolan as one of the top offensive line prospects in the country,” said Ravens defensive co-ordinator Ryan Bechmanis, who watched McGreer play several times last fall and coached him with the provincial team.

“He is very athletic for his size, has good technique and is extremely coachable.  Our (offensive line) coach Chris Coulson and offensive coordinator J.P. Asselin  are very excited to work with him.”

Ravens head coach Steve Sumarah also lauded McGreer’s athleticism.

“Nolan is an athletic lineman that can move well and plays with an edge,” Sumarah wrote in an email. “He has huge upside, as he can play guard and tackle. We are excited to have Nolan with the Ravens.”

At Carleton, McGreer will be catching up with a pair of former Grenadiers teammates, fellow offensive lineman Jason McGinn of Bath and Adam Graves of Belleville. McGreer said while he was being recruited he chatted briefly with McGinn, but not at length until after he made up his mind.

“After I made my decision is when I started to talk to him about it: What do you like about it? Who else plays offensive line? How good are they? Is there a chance I’m going to play?

“I think that just shows it ultimately didn’t matter, because I’m asking all these questions I probably should be asking before I make a decision afterwards, but I just knew Carleton was in my sights.”

Guelph, McMaster, Toronto and Queen’s were also courting him, McGreer said. He said it was particularly difficult to turn his back on Queen’s, where, by the way, four of the five starting offensive linemen are graduating.

“Coach (Pat) Sheahan is a very respected coach in this league,” McGreer said. “Just to get interest from a guy like that is incredibly flattering. When I was young I’d watch them, and I’d also go to the football camps they had. I got a chance to see him in action and he’s one heck of a coach.

“(Carleton is) not as spread out as other campuses are. At Queen’s, the football field is a drive to get there; at Carleton, it’s all right there. I got a chance to talk to some of the academic advisors and they told me what it was like to be a student-athlete and the support they give to their athletes. That finalized my decision that I wanted to go there.”

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