Add Jaykob Ryll's name to the list of former Muskie football players who will be taking their games to the next level this year.
The Grade 12 Fort High student—who played centre for the Muskies—recently committed to attend Saint Mary's University in Halifax, N.S. where he will also play for the Huskies.
“Recruitment was a long and very confusing process, I had no idea what I needed to do and I didn't really have anyone to ask,” Ryll noted.
"So I just kinda made a highlight tape myself and started sending it out. I sent my film out to every school I could and Saint Mary's was one that incidentally wasn't very clear on the process as they didn't have a form or anything to fill out.
“[Muskie coach] Mike Cuzzolino however, encouraged me to send my film there and the rest was history,” he added.
“Recruiting is a really scary process that involves lots of phone calls and e-mails and uncertainty, but Saint Mary's made it a lot easier and really took care of me,” Ryll lauded.
The Huskies' football program has an illustrious history, as they are the most successful football team in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference and have appeared in nine Vanier Cups—winning three of them.
“Their last appearance was in 2007 and their last win was in 2002, they are also one of only three teams to make three consecutive Vanier cups,” noted Ryll.
“The others being Laval and [the] University of Saskatchewan. Once you really look into Saint Mary's history, you see that they've really been one of the best teams in Canada over their existence and the winning pedigree and tendency to produce CFL players really stuck out to me,” he enthused.
Ryll said that he has enrolled himself in an arts degree for his first year will most likely be a general, but he is also looking at majoring in English and then taking education and becoming a teacher.
“Depending on how I feel might try to write the BAR and go into law, but I'll have to see if I like law once I take a law course,” he reasoned.
As far as a position with the Huskies, Ryll said that nothing has really been set in stone yet but as far as he knows he'll be playing on the interior of the offensive line, at either centre or one of the two guard spots.
He believes that all of his playing experience with the Muskies will help him tremendously at the university level.
“We really take for granted the quality of coaches that we have around here,” Ryll remarked.
"Coach Mike runs a very pro style offence and I don't feel like I'll have as big of a learning curve as some other centres who only played out of the gun or only played in an I-formation.
“Coach [Josh] Burley was also a former U Sports lineman and he taught a lot of the university level work ethic to the lineman at Fort High,” he noted.
“He really trusted us with tougher blocking schemes and I think that will help speed up my mental development.”
Ryll also noted that the discussions between he and the Huskies' coaching staff have been great and have really helped him as he looks to make the leap to university football.
“I've talked a lot to coach [James] Colzie. Coach Colzie was such a cool guy throughout the whole process and he really sold the school to me," Ryll enthused. ”Colzie believes so much in family and he made me feel like I was wanted and that he had a greater plan for my future.
“I really appreciate the fact that he was so helpful for every question that I asked,” he added.
Ryll noted that Colzie made everything from paper work to scheduling classes so easy and streamlined.
“Coach Colzie really is a personable guy with a winning background. He played for Florida State University and won the national championship in his freshman year and has also won a Vanier cup as the defensive co-ordinator for UBC,” Ryll remarked.
“He puts so much work into that program and he just really sold me on it. As for teammates I haven't really talked to many of them, but I know one of them from my time on the Nissan All Canadian team and I've talked briefly to a recruit from Slovakia,” he revealed.
“Overall, I think that Coach Colzie just sold the culture to me and really gave off the feeling that he believed in my ability to be an impact player across the country.”
Ryll has been preparing harder than ever before for this opportunity with Saint Mary's and that while he is a little behind being late recruit, he is going to work as hard as he can to get up to speed on his offseason workout regiment.
“As for goals at Saint Mary's, the big one is to win the Vanier cup,” he stressed.
"Coach Colzie has really built a culture and a team that's capable of playing with the best in Canada.
I have some personal goals as well. Ideally, I want to start but I'm OK with only playing special teams and stuff," he added.
“All-Rookie team would be really nice but ultimately personal accolades mean nothing if you don't win the Vanier,” he reasoned.
“That's the goal of every football player in Canada and I want to bring the Vanier back to Halifax and Saint Mary's.”