Greg Marshall has been coaching U Sports football since 1984 and has seen plenty of talented student-athletes over his long tenure.
Marshall views Université de Montréal quarterback Jonathan Sénécal as “one of the best quarterbacks” that he’s seen in U Sports football. His No. 1-ranked Western Mustangs travel to CEPSUM Stadium for the Uteck Bowl.
“Jonathan has exceptional speed … almost like a Tre Ford ability that he can pull the ball and extend plays. If there’s nothing, everything’s covered, all of a sudden he’s out the gate and he’s got a first down but a very, very good passer,” Marshall said.
“He has that unique combination of being able to make plays with his feet and a great thrower. You can tell he makes great decisions, very, very difficult to defend. Certainly one of the best that I’ve ever seen.”
Sénécal completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 2,215 yards with 15 touchdowns against four interceptions this season and ran the ball 34 times for 394 yards (11.6 per carry) with six majors. He led the Quebec conference in every passing category and set a new school single-season passing touchdown record.
“He’s special. He can make all the throws, he reads the field, knows when to pull the football. He’s dangerous with his legs, he’s a great runner, a great competitor. You are not going to shut him down the entire game, you just hope that you slow him down a little bit. He’s exceptional,” Marshall said.
The 24-year-old completed 12-of-18 passes for 225 yards with three touchdowns versus zero interceptions and ran for 84 yards and one major in a dominant 54-3 over Sherbrooke in the RSEQ semi-final. The six-foot, 200-pound business major hit on 18-of-26 passes for 175 yards and led his team in rushing with seven carries for 29 yards to lead the Carabins to a 12-6 Dunsmore Cup win over Université Laval.
Sénécal has a shot to earn the Hec Crighton trophy as the best player in U Sports football. Ford won the award in 2021 after throwing for 1,770 yards with 12 touchdowns compared to six interceptions while rushing for 667 yards and three touchdowns in seven games. His best U Sports season was in 2018 when Ford threw for 2,822 yards with 27 touchdowns against two interceptions plus 74 carries for 641 yards and two touchdowns in eight regular season games.
The 25-year-old Ford has developed into a rising star with the Elks after Edmonton selected him in the first round, eighth overall during the 2022 CFL Draft. The six-foot-one, 185-pounder started 10 games for the green and gold in 2023, completing 67.4 percent of his passes for 2,069 yards with 12 touchdowns against six interceptions while rushing 66 times for 622 yards (9.4 per carry) with three majors.
You can watch Sénécal’s No. 2-ranked team play on Saturday at 12 p.m. EST on CBC Gem in English and TVA Sports in French.