ABBOTT: Selecting the 2019 NCAA All-Canadian teams

It’s the holiday season and everyone knows what that means: College Football Bowl Season.

With all eyes on the NCAA, it is also the time of year when season-long accolades are unveiled. Notably the annual All-American teams from various media outlets never fail to generate controversy.

Fans of the CJFL and USports football already have All-Canadian teams, but what would a Canadian NCAA All-Star team look like? That is what I’ve assembled for the 2019 season, drawing from all levels of NCAA football.

It should be noted that this is not an objective analysis of talent, only an evaluation of performance. A better player might be riding the bench at Alabama, but this list will value a player balling out in Division III over him. Without further ado, here are Abbott’s 2019 NCAA All-Canadians.


First team: Nathan Rourke, senior, Ohio Bobcats
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario

It was a bit of a down senior season for the dynamic dual-threat quarterback running the football, but the two-time Cornish Trophy winner as the NCAA’s top Canadian set career highs in passing yards and completion percentage. The third ranked prospect on the CFL’s scouting bureau rankings contributed 33 total touchdowns through the air and ground, while being picked off a career low five times despite throwing more passes than ever before.

Second team: Tyler Grochot, sophomore, St. Lawrence Saints (Division III)
Hometown: Stittsville, Ontario

It may be Division III but Grochot redefined what it means to be a quarterback at St. Lawrence University. He passed for almost 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns in 10 games, setting school records in attempts, completions and yards.

Running Back

First team: Chuba Hubbard, redshirt sophomore, No. 25 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alberta

No surprise here. A unanimous All-American who finished eighth in Heisman voting and led the nation in rushing. The Canadian Cowboy’s 1,936 yards on the ground amounted to more than the total of all but six Heisman winners at his position.

Second team: Daniel Adeboboye, sophomore, Bryant Bulldogs (FCS)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

The leader in both yards from scrimmage and touchdowns for his team, Adeboboye was the smooth-running engine that his struggling team leaned on. Despite often dealing with less than ideal blocking in front of him, Adeboboye still rushed for over 600 yards in a bad offence.


First team: Chase Claypool, senior, No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Hometown: Abbottsford, B.C.

Named the MVP of perhaps the most recognizable college program south of the border, Claypool continues to be a tough as nails, do-it-all contributor. With 891 yards and 12 touchdowns for a premier program, expect Claypool to go off the board early on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

Terrell Jana, junior, No. 24 Virginia Cavaliers
Hometown: Burnaby, B.C.

The number two receiver for an ACC Championship participant, Jana had a true breakout in his junior season and compiled 752 yards and two touchdowns. The former three-star athlete became a reliable and consistent target for QB Bryce Perkins.

Rysen John, senior, Simon Fraser Clan (Divison II)
Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.

An enormous six-foot-seven target, John was the entire SFU offence at times. His 861 yards and 10 touchdowns earned him first team All-Conference in the GNAC and a three-touchdown performance against Azusa Pacific was integral to the Clan winning their first Division II game in five years.

Second Team: Samuel Emilus, sophomore, Massachusetts Minutemen
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Emilus played an important role on a struggling one-win team that spread the ball around evenly. He caught 27 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns as UMass’ number three target.

Joshua Palmer, junior, Tennessee Volunteers
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario

A key contributor in the SEC, Palmer was the third receiver in the Volunteers’ offence. He was a reliable target in 2019 with 389 yards on 28 receptions.

Jared Wayne, freshman, Pittsburgh Panthers
Hometown: Peterborough, Ontario

A true freshman athlete, Wayne found an instant role at the college level. In seven games played, Wayne became an intermediate option with 215 yards on 15 catches.

Tight End

First team: Bruno Labelle, redshirt junior, No. 21 Cincinnati Bearcats
Hometown: Lachine, Quebec

Not a real receiving threat with only two catches for nine yards and a score, but an integral blocker in a run-heavy Bearcats’ offence. Labelle had multiple starts as the number two tight end for a ranked team.

Second team: Julien Bourassa, redshirt sophomore, Buffalo Bulls
Hometown: Laval, Quebec

The third tight end in the Bulls’ offence, Bourassa only had a single touchdown catch but was a bruiser in the run game and a key special teamer. Part of the reason why Buffalo had two 1,000-yard rushers in 2019.

Offensive Line*

*While my preference would be to divide this by position, no Canadian saw significant time at centre this season. Therefore, each team will feature five Offensive Linemen regardless of position.

First team: Liam Dobson, junior, Maine Black Bears (FCS)
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

Dobson only got better as he made the transition from guard to tackle as a junior. A dominant blocker who was clearly Maine’s top lineman and a third team FCS All-American. He reportedly averaged 12 knockdown blocks a game.

Dontae Bull, redshirt sophomore, Fresno State Bulldogs
Hometown: Victoria, B.C.

A mountain of man, Bull has grown into his role rapidly for the Bulldogs. He started all 10 games he played in 2019, showing impressive versatility by splitting time between right and left tackle.

Kyle Hergel, redshirt freshman, No. 24 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (FCS)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Hergel started every game at right guard on his way to being named the Newcomer of the Year down in Grand Forks. He was a key component to North Dakota becoming a playoff-bound FCS team.

Sidy Sow, redshirt sophomore, Eastern Michigan Eagles
Hometown: Bromont, Quebec

A season-long starter at left guard, Sow was a big part of the fifth best offence in school history. His strong play led to him being named honourable mention All-MAC by the graders at Pro Football Focus.

Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, senior, Buffalo Bulls
Hometown: LaSalle, Quebec

Jack-Kurdyla doesn’t get a lot of love for his role on a unit that was voted as a top 15 offensive line by the Joe Moore Award committee. The tape doesn’t lie however and the coveted CFL Draft prospect was named second team All-MAC by Pro Football Focus for his solid, physical style of play.

Second team: Alaric Jackson, redshirt junior, No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan (born in Windsor, Ontario)

Jackson was being talked about as a top underclassmen NFL prospect at tackle going into the season, but injuries prevented him from achieving his potential. Despite the adversity, Jackson was still solid in eight starts at left tackle and will be highly coveted in 2021 if he returns to school to raise his stock.

Matthew Bergeron, freshman, Syracuse Orange
Hometown: Victoriaville, Quebec

A true freshman, Bergeron stepped right into the fire of top-level college football with impressive ease. He made five starts at right tackle and graded well enough to be named second team All-Freshman by Pro Football Focus. Not bad for the first Division I scholarship player to ever come out of Thetford Mines Cegep.

Chris Fournier, junior, Lehigh Moutain Hawks (FCS)
Hometown: Orleans, Ontario

Shouldering the load as Lehigh’s blindside protector, Fournier will likely be named his team’s top lineman for the second consecutive year. It was a difficult season for the Mountain Hawks but Fournier continues to stand tall.

Chris Gangarossa, senior, Wagner Seahawks (FCS)
Hometown: Fort Erie, Ontario

The draft-eligible Gangarossa was a versatile stop gap for a bad Wagner team, starting every game and sometimes playing multiple positions within the same outing. Few teams have leaned more heavily on a veteran lineman than the Seahawks did with Gangarossa.

Matthew Derks, junior, Delaware State Hornets (FCS)
Hometown: Brantford, Ontario

A season long starter at left guard, Derks was part of a unit that led the way for five 100-yard rushing games from three different running backs.

Edge Defender

First team: Mason Bennett, redshirt senior, North Dakota Fighting Hawks (FCS)
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba

A long defensive end, Bennett received plenty of added attention from blockers after a dominant junior season. His sack total dropped to 5.5, but he was still a noticeable presence for a playoff team and earned third ream All-American honours in the FCS.

Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, senior, No. 24 Southeastern Louisiana Lions (FCS)
Hometown: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

The only Maritimer on this list, Adeyemi-Berglund was a true edge defender playing as hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker. He racked up 61 total tackles as a senior, including 16 for loss and 7.5 sacks, on his way to his way to being named first team Academic All-American for all of college football.

Second team: Alex Dumais, redshirt freshman, Fresno State Bulldogs
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

The young Dumais made the most of every opportunity given to him as a rotational end this season. He had 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, but most notably had seven tackles and two for loss in his lone start against Air Force.

Francis Bemiy, sophomore, Southern Utah Thunderbirds (FCS)
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

An extremely active defensive end, Bemiy made 51 tackles in a breakout season at Southern Utah. He also made it into the backfield five times, including two sacks.

Defensive Interior

First team: Neville Gallimore, redshirt senior, No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

The lone Canadian headed to the College Football Playoff, Gallimore will be highly coveted in the upcoming NFL Draft and could find his name in the first-round conversation. A wrecking ball in the middle, Gallimore set career highs in tackles for loss with 7.5 and sacks with four on his way to earning third team All-American honours.

Gabe Dansereau, redshirt senior, Merrimack Warriors (FCS)
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Granted a sixth year due to injury, Dansereau returned for Merrimack’s first season at the Division I level and became a valuable veteran presence. Despite the jump in competition, Dansereau’s five tackles for loss was a career high and he played his way into the FCS Bowl All-Star game where he managed four tackles and a half sack.

Second team: Olivier Charles-Pierre, junior, Houston Cougars
Hometown: Laval, Quebec

A 345-pound gap plugger in the middle, Charles-Pierre transferred from junior college and immediately made an impact. In limited action, the big man notched 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

Kail Dava, freshman, Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (FCS)
Hometown: Burlington, Ontario

A true freshman, Dava finished No. 12 in his conference with four sacks despite playing a largely rotational role. His accomplishments will only continue to grow in Cookeville.


First team:

Amen Ogbongbemiga, redshirt junior, No. 25 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Overshadowed by the success of Chuba Hubbard, there was another Canadian Cowboy who excelled in 2019. The heartbeat of the Oklahoma State defence, Ogbongbemiga was second team All-Big12 thanks to his 88 total tackles and 14.5 stops in the backfield.

Griffin Barrett, junior, Simon Fraser Clan (Division II)
Hometown: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

One of two first team All-GNAC performers for SFU, Barrett held everything together for the Clan from the middle. Only two Canadians had over 100 tackles playing south of the border and Barrett was the clubhouse leader with 105. He also led SFU in tackles for loss with eight.

Second team: Jesse Luketa, sophomore, No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

A valuable situational player and sometimes starter, Luketa has begun to live up his recruiting hype in a deep linebacking corps. He made 23 tackles this season but also broke up four passes thanks to his athleticism in coverage.

Tyris Lebeau, redshirt sophomore, Massachusetts Minutemen
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

A starter in all nine games he played in, Lebeau was all over the field for the Minutemen. He made 48 tackles, a sack and an interception for a struggling UMass squad.

Flex Defender

First team: Jevon Holland, sophomore, No. 6 Oregon Ducks
Hometown: Pleasanton, California (raised in Vancouver, B.C. until age 8)

A do-it-all safety who can play high, sneak into the box or cover slots man-to-man, the graders at Pro Football Focus had Holland as the Pac12’s top flex defender. I can’t argue with that assessment and he led all Canadians in the NCAA with four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He was also far and away the best returner among Canadians.

Second team: Kenan Clarke, junior, Cornell Big Red (FCS)
Hometown: Pickering, Ontario

An Ivy Leaguer, Clarke saw significant time as a rotational and slot corner in seven games for Cornell. He notched 14 tackles and an interception to go along with strong performance on special teams.


First team:
Benjamin St-Juste, redshirt sophomore, No. 18 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

A graduate transfer from Michigan, St-Juste immediately looked at home in Minnesota. He established himself as a shutdown, honourable mention All-Big Ten corner and made 39 tackles while breaking up nine passes.

Katley Joseph, sophomore, Maine Black Bears (FCS)
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

A nine-time starter for the Black Bears, Joseph grew tremendously as a cover man and won himself a job. He broke up seven passes and made 35 tackles in a strong sophomore campaign.

Second team: Shaquille St-Lot, redshirt sophomore, Maine Black Bears (FCS)
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

The other half of an All-Canadian corner tandem at Maine, St-Lot began the season playing over Joseph. He was replaced by him and then truly established himself alongside him. He made 27 tackles in seven starts but exceeded Joseph with 13 pass break-ups and an interception.

Jerrell Cummings, freshman, Simon Fraser Clan (Division II)
Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.

The GNAC’s Freshman of the Year, Cummings started every game for SFU straight out of high school. He broke up a conference-leading 17 passes and forced two turnovers to go along with 30 tackles.


First team: Sydney Brown, sophomore, Illinois Fighting Illini
Hometown: London, Ontario

Illinois’ starting safety was a noticeable presence in every game and acknowledged as the third team All-Big Ten safety by opposing coaches. Brown racked up 80 tackles and three interceptions, including one he returned 76 yards for a touchdown.

Zach Herzog, sophomore, Hillsdale College Chargers (Divison III)
Hometown: Windsor, Ontario

Undersized and playing in Division III, you’d be forgiven for overlooking Herzog. However, he was the second of two Canadians to record more than 100 tackles and he did it as a five-foot-nine safety. That’s pretty incredible, regardless of the level of competition.

Second team:
Jonathan Sutherland, redshirt sophomore, No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

A good rotational safety and an exceptional special teamer with 22 total tackles, Sutherland was named a captain by his Penn State teammates. Notably blocked two punts against Idaho, tied for fourth-most in a game in FBS history.

Brendan Lowry, junior, Simon Fraser Clan (Division II)
Hometown: Okotoks, Alberta

Only able to play in seven games, Lowry was still third on the Clan with 48 tackles and five pass breakups. One of the more underrated players to play on Burnaby Mountain.


First team: Dante Brown, senior, Fort Hays State Tigers (Division II)
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

Brown didn’t reach the same heights as he did in 2018 as the Special Teams Player of the Year for the FCS, Division II and Division III levels. But he was still the first team All-American kicker in Division II according to the Associated Press. Brown was 19-of-23 kicking field goals with a long of 56, while adding 52 point after touchdowns and 41 touchbacks as a kickoff specialist.

Second team: JJ Molson, senior, UCLA Bruins
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

A former John Abbott College Islander, fitting for this list, Molson was just 8-for-14 as a field goal kicker but has hit 90 straight point after touchdowns and booted 53 touchbacks as UCLA’s kickoff man.


First team: Jake Julien, junior, Eastern Michigan Eagles
Hometown: Barrie, Ontario

A big leg punter, Julien was tied for 34th in the FBS with an average of 43.2 yards per punt. He downed 15 balls inside the 20-yard line and had 10 boots over 50 yards.

Second team:
Michael Bobak, sophomore, Kentucky State Thorobreds (Division II)

Hometown: Caledon, Ontario

A transfer from the University of Albany, Bobak only punted 24 times as his team’s starter for an average of 35.9 yards. He also added a 27-yard field goal and 19 point after touchdowns.


First team: Keegan Markgaf, redshirt junior, No. 11 Utah Utes
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario

The undisputed long snapper for a strong Utah squad, Markgraf connected on 103 snaps spread between field goals, punts and point after touchdowns. He also added one special teams’ tackle.

Second team: Gabe Siemieniec, redshirt junior, California Golden Bears
Hometown: Calendon, Ontario

Exclusively a kickoff specialist, Siemieniec booted all 52 times for a team that didn’t allow a return touchdown. He averaged 59.1 yards per kick, had 21 touchbacks and made a tackle against Washington State.

Honourable Mentions
A number of Canadians on the outside looking in earned serious consideration for a spot on this roster. They are listed here:

QB Jack Zergiotis, freshman, UConn (Montreal, QC)
RB Thomas Bertrand-Hudon, redshirt freshman, Delaware State (Mont Saint-Halaire, QC)
REC Ethan Beselt, junior, Simon Fraser (West Kelowna, B.C.)
REC Gavin Cobb, junior, Simon Fraser (Victoria, B.C.)
TE Joe Carbone, senior, Mercyhurst (Ridgeway, ON)
TE Cole Burniston, redshirt freshman, Buffalo (Grimsby, ON)
TE Christian Phillips, junior, Simon Fraser (Winnipeg, MB)
TE Pat Prendergast, junior, Bentley (Pierrefonds, QC)
OT Daniel Johnson, redshirt freshman, Kent State (London, ON)
OG Stephane Tanguay, senior, Simon Fraser (Russell, ON)
ED Lwal Uguak, sophomore, UConn (Edmonton, AB)
ED Quintin Seguin, redshirt sophomore, North Dakota (Windsor, ON)
ED Tyrell Richards, redshirt sophomore, Syracuse (Brampton, ON)
ED Isaac Evans, junior, Simon Fraser (Coquitlam, B.C.)
LB Anthony Crescenzo, junior, Simon Fraser (Vancouver, B.C.)
FL Kolby Buljevic, sophomore, Simon Fraser (Burnaby, B.C.)
FL Geordie McDougall, redshirt senior, Minot State (Lumden, SK)
CB Dawson Marchant, redshirt freshman, Simon Fraser (Surrey, B.C.)

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