Top Recruits from Canada That College Football Fans Should Know

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 18, 2016

Top Recruits from Canada That College Football Fans Should Know

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    WR Etienne Talanga pulled down several acrobatic receptions during camp competition in Montreal.
    WR Etienne Talanga pulled down several acrobatic receptions during camp competition in Montreal.Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    College football recruiting is an international scene that casts a steadily growing spotlight on Canadian athletes. Bleacher Report traveled north of the border Feb. 11-16 for a closer look at a landscape featuring legitimate talent. 

    We climbed aboard with Top Prospects for the final four stops of "The Elite Combine Series," a chain of invite-only recruit evaluation events held in three provinces. This journey provided an in-depth look at players in British Columbia (Vancouver), Quebec (Montreal) and Ontario (Hamilton and Toronto).

    It's become common for Canadian players to relocate to United States schools in pursuit of greater collegiate opportunities, but this series revealed under-the-radar standouts who've remained in the country. 

    Based on firsthand evaluation and conversations with Top Prospects director Shomari Williams, a former University of Houston defensive lineman and No. 1 overall CFL draft pick, here's a glimpse at 10 camp stars who are still searching for American college offers and warrant increased consideration.

RB Tazie Vang Bell

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2017

    Province: Ontario

    Height/Weight: 5'8", 174 lbs

     

    Why He Stands Out

    Running back wasn't exactly a position of consistent strength during our recruiting review in Canada, which made Tazie Vang Bell emerge as a prospect who separated himself from the pack. Though he's somewhat diminutive at 5'8", this playmaker is best described as a downhill rusher.

    Bell brings serious acceleration to the backfield, bursting through the line of scrimmage with powerful strides. He put that speed on display in the 40-yard dash, completing his sprint in 4.51 seconds, and routinely cruised past opponents downfield during one-on-one drills. 

    His strengths also extend to the passing game, where Bell looks capable of catching a heavy dose of throws when called upon as a receiver. He averaged eight yards per carry last season, according to his Hudl profile, and claimed running back MVP honors in Toronto.

OL Antoine Marin

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2018

    Province: Quebec

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 253 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    This young lineman’s name came up during preparation for competition in Montreal, and the keyword was “potential.” We’re inclined to agree about that level of promise after scouting Antoine Marin, who possesses the raw physical frame college coaches covet at offensive tackle.

    He’s still gaining coordination to match his expansive physique, and that’s a development that should naturally occur as he matures. Marin does a nice job extending his hands and using his long arms to dictate the direction of a defender in the trenches.

DE Isaiah Joseph

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2017

    School: Ontario

    Height/Weight: 6'3 ½", 223 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    Isaiah Joseph instantly warranted attention at the onset of action in Hamilton, where he landed defensive line MVP honors. He brought enthusiastic energy into early reps and maintained that motor throughout the evening, routinely beating offensive linemen with an intriguing blend of burst and brute force.

    His best work came from a stand-up role, as he used a violent first step and high-level hip fluidity to shake off blockers. Joseph looks like a natural edge-rusher who could potentially play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive front if he gains comfort in pass coverage. 

WR Etienne Talanga

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2017

    Province: Quebec

    Height/Weight: 6'1 ½", 181 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    Linemen made the most noise in Montreal, where an indoor facility protected us from outside temperatures that dipped to negative-15 degrees Fahrenheit. However, late in the evening, Etienne Talanga took center stage among skill players in passing drills.

    The rangy, long-limbed athlete plucked several passes out of the air despite tight defensive coverage. He showed off sensational ball skills by punctuating mid-air adjustments with full extension.

    Talanga plays taller than his height would indicate, augmented by leaps that leave opponents grasping for jersey. If he can develop a stronger feel for route-running fundamentals, this is a dynamic downfield talent and red-zone target.

ATH Parker Simson

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2016

    Province: British Columbia

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 199 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    Over the course of an action-packed evening in Vancouver, it became apparent Parker Simson was the best prospect in attendance while working through wide receiver drills. When he switched to defensive back midway through, that sentiment was cemented. 

    Simson, who picked off multiple passes during defensive reps, projects most favorably at safety. He has a keen awareness for the game, combining mental aptitude with above-average physicality and enough speed (4.73 seconds in the 40-yard dash).

    His current plan is to play football at the University of British Columbia, though Simson sounded open to the possibility of pursuing a collegiate career in the U.S. He is also viewed as a university basketball prospect, and his 2015 statistics (975 passing yards, 832 rushing yards, 225 receiving yards, 34 offensive touchdowns, 47 tackles and eight interceptions, per Lorne White of KelownaNow) showcase a well-rounded skill set for football.

OL James Stockwood

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2018

    Province: Ontario

    Height/Weight: 6'5 ½", 295 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    James Stockwood started the Toronto camp session predominately playing along the defensive line, where his formidable physical frame drew interest from onlookers. Ultimately, it was his transition to offense that secured a spot on this list.

    Stockwood wasn't completely technical in offensive line efforts, but he displayed the punch and aggressiveness to settle in at guard or tackle. He earned an opportunity to compete in final showdowns among linemen and managed to close out camp by bullying a few fellow contenders, offering plenty of promise should he choose to concentrate on that side of the ball.

DB Jacob Andrews

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2017

    Province: Ontario

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 170 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    There may not have been a more feisty competitor than Jacob Andrews during our four-city tour. Though he isn't equipped with elite speed at this stage, there's plenty to like about his dogged approach and polished fundamentals at cornerback.

    Andrews gave wide receivers fits off the snap throughout the session, securing an edge with physical play at the line that didn't cross into the kind of grabbiness that typically draws interference penalties. He kept up with opponents deep, mirroring routes with outstanding stride-for-stride adjustments and smooth hip turns. 

    His efforts came against the deepest group of pass-catchers we encountered in Canada, earning him defensive back MVP honors. Andrews' strong hands in pass coverage help make up for his slight stature.

ATH Khalil Wilson

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2018

    Province: Ontario

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 160 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    Khalil Wilson has primarily played quarterback in high school, but his future is elsewhere on offense. He looked right at home running through reps at wide receiver during drills in Toronto, securing the positional MVP award.

    Wilson showed off excellent wiggle in the open field, darting past defenders with sharp double moves that highlighted his lateral agility. He isn't a burner when it comes to straight-line speed, but Wilson delivered bursts out of his cuts and caught some tough passes that challenged his ability to track the football downfield.

OL Patrick Davis

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    Credit: Matthew Hamilton/Top Prospects

    Recruiting Class: 2017

    Province: Quebec

    Height/Weight: 6'3 ½", 309 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    Patrick Davis projects as an interior offensive lineman, packing a punch that can knock defenders off track and give him early control of a showdown up front. He's one of the few prospects we scouted who has actually attended a college camp on American soil, previously spending time at the University of Buffalo.

    His physical frame is relatively college-ready, as Davis doesn't require significant weight gain and won't carry much noticeable "bad" weight onto campus. He is a stout downhill blocker who will make his most meaningful strides in pass protection, where enhanced footwork tendencies would immediately enhance his enticement on the recruiting trail.

RB Chuba Hubbard

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    Recruiting Class: 2017

    Province: Alberta

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 190 lbs

    Why He Stands Out

    Though we weren't able to scout Chuba Hubbard in person during our trip, he was termed a must-see recruit by Top Prospects director Shomari Williams. A joint film session swiftly confirmed the hype and revealed a scintillating talent who has the makings of an every-down back.

    Hubbard excels as a rusher and kick returner, delivering highlight plays with power and acceleration alike. Quickness is his strongest asset, and it may lead him to embark on a long-term track career if he chooses to move away from football in college.

    Hubbard should also draw interest at defensive back, where he could continue to develop as a two-way player with a role on special teams. His 2015 season featured 2,243 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns through the first eight games, according to Jason Hills of the Edmonton Journal.

    All observations and analysis obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue. Athlete information and photos courtesy of Top ProspectsFollow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

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