Two members of the Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs made history last spring, and now Chris Strongeagle is following in their footsteps.
Strongeagle committed to the Regina Rams’ football program last week for the upcoming season.
The defensive lineman from White Bear is the second member of the Elecs ever to reach the university level, the other being Zach Rensby last season.
“It feels great. I can’t wait to play,” said Strongeagle, who only has two years of football experience.
“The first year I won’t be able to play as much as the other guys because I’ll be a rookie.”
Strongeagle played one year of bantam football before joining the Elecs for his Grade 12 year. He said the Rams had been in contact with him since he played bantam.
Rams head coach Frank McCrystal said in a press release that he is very optimistic about Strongeagle’s potential at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level.
“Chris is a big, aggressive student-athlete who brings incredible potential to our team as either an offensive or defensive lineman. With his size and strength, he's very possibly a future Canada West all-star,” said McCrystal.
Outgoing Elecs head coach Marco Ricci added that Strongeagle’s quickness and ability to bring his best in a game situation also help his case.
“Chris’s size is a big advantage. The other thing about Chris is he is super, super quick for his size and very, very powerful,” said Ricci. “He probably won’t come out and test as well as other guys , but when he’s playing in a game, it’s tough to match his physical strength.”
Still, Ricci said that Strongeagle’s size alone won’t bring success and that he will have to continue learning and gaining experience to reach his potential.
“He has the potential to go very, very far. He’s young and he is green. He’s still absorbing. He will end up being one of their top D-linemen if he sticks through the whole program.”
Strongeagle said he never dreamed that football would take him to the CIS and that he hopes his success will inspire more local kids to get out on the field.
“I just wanted to play for the fun of it, actually. I didn’t think it was actually going to go that far, to university,” he said.
“I hope more players will want to play so they can play university (one day). Hopefully a lot more players come out and play.”
Ricci said Strongeagle’s dedication helped him get to where he is, as he had to drive from White Bear to Estevan for practices and games.
“It just goes to show you the character he has,” said Ricci. “He went from being a quiet, shy guy to being one of our leaders. He was one of those guys who always listened to you. He was a keener, he wanted to learn.”
He added that only a select few players each year can make the jump directly from high school to the Rams.
“There are only 10 recruits that make that team from the whole province that are pretty much right out of high school, so it is a real tough thing to crack. Those are like winning the lottery, any time you get a scholarship with a university team,” Ricci said.