After the news broke of quarterback Kyle Quinlan’s recent signing with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, McMaster’s football community, still on the highs of 2011’s historic Vanier Cup-winning season, has been confronted with the harsh reality that has long been entrenched in collegiate athletics: players of the highest calibre will eventually leave, ready or not, to begin their professional careers.
After leading his team to national football supremacy, Quinlan will now be expected to work at a much higher level. From such a successful team, one deemed to be among the best in CIS history, surely more than one player would be considered to have “next-level” talent.
Enter All-Canadian guard Jason Medeiros, who has recently signed with the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
Medeiros, a Hamilton native, will get a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of any athlete: to make the roster of his hometown team. Keeping things truly close to home, Medeiros attended the May 31 TiCats rookie camp on some familiar soil, as the camp was held at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium.
Full training camp began on June 3 and it can be expected that the 6’4”, 315-lbs. sociology major will make a strong showing throughout the duration of the pre-season.
Marauder head Coach Stefan Ptaszek weighed in on Medeiros’ readiness, saying that the third-year lineman will make McMaster proud at the very least.
“I am so happy that Jay has earned the opportunity at a professional career. I know he will be a positive representative of the McMaster Marauder Football program.”
Now, supporters of the defending champion Maroon and Greys may be experiencing some mixed emotions. On one hand, Medeiros and Quinlan have a shot at joining the six CFL players who started their playing careers out of McMaster’s program. On the other, one of the country’s best offenses in 2011 could lose at least two of its players to the pros, one of whom was arguably the best player on that offense.
In fact, both Medeiros and Quinlan have one year of CIS eligibility remaining. So, if neither makes the roster of their new team, Mac can expect to have them return for the defense of both provincial and national football titles.
If successful, the two players would join the ranks of receiver Mike Bradwell, safety Jason Arakgi, linebacker Jay Pottinger and offensive linemen Andrew Jones, Chris Van Zeyl and Kyle Koch in Canada’s proleague.
A notable name missing from this CFL list is former Marauder running back Jesse Lumsden, whose career was cut short due to injury.
Now a member of the Canadian National Bobsledding team, Lumsden holds several offensive records at Mac, though he was never able to bring a national championship back to the Steel City, despite his illustrious career.
The success of both Medeiros and Quinlan as part of the 2011-12 Marauder squad that won the Vanier Cup sets them apart from those who have blazed the path from Mac to the ranks of professional football.
That note on their football resume might be indicative of a promising career for both players – one that raises the bar of excellence for those graduating out of Canada’s top university football program.
Either way, whether they don the colors of their new team, or come home to once again wear numbers 61 and 12, respectively, the future is bright for Jason Medeiros and Kyle Quinlan.