For some this coming Saturday is the biggest day of their young lives, as the CJFL presents its National Signing Day.
The day is earmarked every year on June 1st, the day in which players can finally sign with a CJFL club. When a player signs he is essentially signing for his entire junior football career as the player then becomes the property of that team.
Some players have attended multiple Spring Camps to get an idea of their best fit. So many considerations are made before signing with a CJFL club; location, team support, roster depth, coaching staff, scholarship program, etc all weighs in on a player’s decision.
National Signing Day is not only exciting for the players, but the coaches as well. Their ideas, hopes and hard work will finally come to fruition as they start to fill their roster spots.
Following Saturday coaches can continue to recruit and sign a player immediately if he’s a good fit for their team. That said the bulk of the players ready to play in the CJFL will sign on Saturday.
Once players sign on the dotted line, coaches can begin developing their schemes and systems around their potential starters. They can also begin preparing for their Main Camp along with Week 1 of the regular season.
All three Conferences and 18 CJFL teams will participate on Saturday, signing players to their 2019 roster.
Fans can keep up to date with CJFL National Signing Day on social media with #CJFLSigning as teams will be posting once a player signs.
The Ottawa Sooners will have a new man at the helm this season as they have announced former star quarterback Wayne Jacobs as their new head coach.
Jacobs enjoyed a very successful playing career which included an outstanding stint quarterbacking the Sooners and was highly recruited across North America. He left Ottawa for Texas to quarterback for the University of Texas-El Paso Miners (NCAA Divison 1). After UTEP, he returned home to be the starting quarterback for the University of Ottawa GeeGees.
Following his collegiate career, Jacobs travelled to Europe to play professionally. He played for the Lyon Falcons (France 1st Division), Landquart/Calanda Broncos (Euro and Swiss Premier League), and the Oslo Vikings (Norwegian 1st Division and Euro Champions League).
Since retiring from his playing days Jacobs has been coaching quarterbacks for over 20 years. His coaching career started at the tender age of 17 at the city and high school level. When his playing career took him to Europe, Jacobs brought his extensive coaching knowledge and passion with him to the European leagues. He served as the offensive coordinator and then head coach of the Oslo Under-19 Team. He also spent time working with the quarterbacks for the Swiss Junior National Team.
Once returning to Canada, Jacobs expanded his resume serving as the quarterback coach for the University of Ottawa GeeGees, the CEGEP d’Outaouais Griffons, the head coach of the Ottawa Invaders, and the passing game coordinator and quarterback coach for the Saint Mary’s University Huskies.
He is currently coaching in Europe, but will return to the Sooners in plenty of time before they open the season August 17th when they travel to Hamilton to take on the Hurricanes.
Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography
A pair of former CJFL quarterbacks will participate in the Canadian Quarterback Internship Program at CFL training camps in advance of the 2019 season.
The Canadian quarterback internship program started in 2010 and was made mandatory for all teams by the CFL in 2012. The program allows Canada’s best young pivots to participate in practice drills as well as team and positional meetings while continuing to develop and hone their skills at the quarterback position.
Players who have taken part in the program over the years include: Michael O’Connor (18’ TOR, 16’ BC, 15’ BC), Chris Merchant (18’ HAM, 17’ CGY), Hugo Richard (17’ MTL, 15’ OTT) Noah Picton (15’ SSK) Andrew Buckley (14’ CGY) and Marshall Ferguson (13’ CGY).
The former CJFL quarterbacks participating this season are:
Bailey Wasdal | Calgary Colts | Ottawa REDBLACKS
He last played with the Colts during the 2017 CJFL season before moving each to join the St. FX X-Men. In his final season in Calgary Wasdal led the CJFL with 158 completions on 241 attempts. He tallied 1956 yards and threw 10 touchdown passes. In his first season at St. FX he was third in conference passing, he went 121-196 in eight games played with a 61.7% passing percentage, averaging 186.8 yards per game and 7.6 yards per attempt. Wasdal threw nine touchdown passes and also rushed for six of his own TDs. A versatile QB out of the pocket, he was seventh overall in AUS rushing, averaging 43.4 yards per game with 52 carries for 346 total yards. The freshman pivot led the X-Men (6-2) to an AUS playoff semifinal win over Acadia, followed by a 33-9 Loney Bowl championship victory over SMU to earn them a berth in the national Uteck Bowl.
Sawyer Buettner | Regina Thunder | Winnipeg Blue Bombers
His last CJFL season was also in 2017 leading the Thunder to a berth in the Prairie Conference title game. He finished with a Conference high 67% completion percentage and 2198 yards. He threw 16 touchdown passes on 149 completions and had a passer efficiency rating of 112.5. He then joined the Ottawa Gee-Gees in 2018 after three solid seasons with the Thunder. The 6-2, 210 lb. former Team Canada quarterback led the nationally-ranked Gee-Gees to a 6-2 (2nd OUA) regular season record in his first year on campus. He racked up 1,470 yards, 14 touchdowns, and a 145.4 passer efficiency rating in seven regular season games played.
A highlight of his freshman season was leading the Gee-Gees to a victory over Carleton in the Panda Game. Buettner threw for 243 yards and five touchdowns en route to a 38-27 win in front of a sold out crowd of over 24,000 at TD Place. The following week at Toronto, Buettner had his best statistical game of the year, throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
Good luck to Bailey and Sawyer!