Brampton native John Metchie III is the first Canadian in 17 years to win the NCAA football National Championship.
Metchie III contributed to Alabama’s 52-24 victory over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff Final. Louisiana State University graduate Peter Dyakowski won the Bowl Championship Series National Championship for the 2003 season. Both Crimson Tide and Tigers title teams had Nick Saban as head coach.
“The most exciting moment of the game, it was definitely the end — the confetti,” Metchie said in his post-game videoconference.
“Finally being able to say that we’re National Champs and that we went undefeated. It had been a long road, so I think that was the best moment of the game for me.”
Dyakowski was the first Canadian-born player to earn a football scholarship from his Southeastern Conference program. Metchie III was the first receiver to earn a scholarship from Alabama. Despite the two men being very different in stature, they’re forever linked in Canadian football history.
“It feels great. I do it for all my people back home who continue to support me. I remember watching these National Championship games when I was a kid in Canada and dreaming of playing in it,” Metchie III said.
“So being able to finally play in one and win one, as a matter of fact, is surreal. It’s something that’s kind of hard to put words to describe.”
DeVonta Smith put the finishing touches on a historic senior season with Alabama. The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns, the most in CFP history. That was in just a little over two quarters of work as Smith left in the third quarter with a dislocated finger on his right hand and never returned.
Junior quarterback Mac Jones completed 36-of-45 passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. Jones connected on 80 percent of his attempts in a sparkling performance, which was likely his last for the Crimson Tide.
Eight of those balls were caught by Metchie III for 81 yards — he was the second leading pass catcher in the title game. After 13 games, the sophomore posted 55 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns. Metchie III displayed his physical capabilities blocking at the point of attack on multiple occasions for Alabama.
“All around, this is an amazing team. Our ability to fight through adversity, personal adversity, team adversity, able to come together, able to get down to the nitty-gritty of football and just persevere, really,” Metchie III said.
“I love this team and I really think that this is really a great team.”
Saban said in December that Metchie III “is the epitome of what you look for in a receiver.” The Canadian helped Saban win his record seventh National Championship as a head coach. The 69-year-old has guided the Crimson Tide to six titles in the last 12 seasons, the most by one team in the poll era in that timespan.
“We set really high standards, so we have to reach it or exceed it. Going forward, it’s continuing to build what this program means and what this program does, and be able to get back to this point,” Metchie III said.
“This is what we do it for, for the games like this, and to be able to continue and keep it going.”