Linebacker signs on

Prized CEGEP recruit commits to retooling Gaels

Brendan Coffey is the first recruit to commit to Queen’s in 2014.
Brendan Coffey is the first recruit to commit to Queen’s in 2014.
Credit: 
Supplied by Michelle Kasaboski

Queen’s football has signed its first recruit of 2014.

Last Friday, head coach Pat Sheahan introduced linebacker Brendan Coffey as the newest member of the gridiron Gaels. The 6’1”, 215-lb. Coffey is a top recruit out of Québec’s CEGEP system, hailing from Montreal’s Vanier College.

“Today is the accumulation of the hard work of a lot of people who invested a lot of hard work and time in me,” Coffey said. “I’ve learned so much from my teammates and now I’m ready to take the next step with those people behind me.

“I’m excited to join one of the biggest and storied programs in Canada in Queen’s football.”

Coffey describes his game as “cerebral.” Not the speediest or strongest player on the field — though he isn’t lacking in either category — he relies on excellent on-field vision and intuition that he forges through extensive film study and practice.

He also has the Québec-only bonus of being a year older than the rest his recruiting class, because he attended CEGEP and faced a high level of competition in Québec’s AAA junior league.

At Vanier, Coffey was a star on and off the field, receiving top honours as a linebacker while winning the Bol D’or AAA CEGEP provincial championship in 2012. He also claimed the 2013 CEGEP Division 1 Academic Merit award.

Queen’s values of balancing education alongside athletics helped Coffey commit to wearing gold.

“[Queen’s has] the academic reputation, the history of the football program, but above all I thought it was the people I would be working with … [that made it] a fairly easy choice for me,” he said.

Coffey joins Gaels football in a period of flux.

Long-time defensive coordinator Pat Tracey recently accepted a job as special teams coordinator with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, leaving a large hole in the coaching staff.

Combined with the potential departure of up to seven all-star members of the defence, including linebacker and top-10 CFL draft prospect Sam Sabourin, the future of the Gaels’ defence is unclear.

With the departure of talent, however, comes opportunity. Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan doesn’t think his defence will revert to square one, and sees Coffey playing a major role in the near future.

“There’s no question that one of the priorities in the recruiting class was to reload the defence,” Sheahan said. “In every year you expect some graduation. That’s the nature of university sport.

“I think we’re bringing someone in who’s going to make us a better football team and compete on defence.”

The Gaels are set to introduce another defensive recruit this afternoon at the ARC. 6’2”, 240-lb. defensive end Palmer Simpson will join the squad next year from Sault Ste. Marie.

Queen’s football finished second in the OUA in 2013, falling 51-22 in the Yates Cup to the Western Mustangs.

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