Waterloo lands Saint Paul all-star
Waterloo has topped Guelph in the recruiting battle to land Saint Paul’s Rielly Sexton.
On Thursday, a signing ceremony was held to signify the next step in the football career of the Grade 12 student.
“I am excited,” he said. “I worked so hard for this and I feel like I deserve it.”
The linebacker and fullback chose Waterloo after a visit to the school.
“It really felt like I could feel at home there,” he said. “They are very family oriented and it’s a great school.”
The two-time member of Team Ontario decided on Waterloo two weeks ago.
“It was an easy choice because right off the bat I knew it was the fit for me,” he said. “There was definitely a lot of pressure on me to make the right choice for my future because if you make the wrong choice, there’s not a lot you can do about it.”
To get ready for his first Ontario University Athletics training camp next summer, Sexton is going to continue doing what he has done the last several years.
“I am going to keep going to the gym, keep working out and work on my speed, my footwork and everything else.”
He is realistic with his goals for his rookie season of university football.
“It’s mostly to get on special teams, get on the field for some exposure and get used to the speed of the game at the next level,” the 50foot-11, 225-pounder said. “I just want to get on the field in any way possible and do as much as I can.”
Sexton, who plans to enrol in legal studies at Waterloo, has learned a lot in his two years of junior and two years of senior football at Saint Paul.
“It really taught me how to be a leader and how to be a team player.”
Saint Paul head coach Rick Oreskovich is sad to see Sexton leave but isn’t surprised.
“He is an exceptional case,” he said. “He can finish off his Grade 12 year and still fight for a position next year. I think he has the work ethic and mental and physical toughness to do that.”
The Niagara Catholic Athletic Association all-star and defensive MVP also boasts a high football IQ.
“He has a nose for the football, he’s a good hitter and he can play both sides of the ball if they want to use him as a fullback,” Oreskovich said. “I think he is going to be a big help to their football program.”
And unlike many high school football players heading off to university, no one is suggesting Sexton needs to get a lot stronger.
“He is one of those rare kids you don’t have to push into going to the gym,” Oreskovich said. “He goes there himself and you can see how his body has changed the last couple of years.
“He has gained weight, power and strength and is a blue chip prospect for Waterloo.”
On hand Thursday to see Sexton sign was Brendan Conway, Waterloo’s special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.
“I got to work with him at the last International Bowl with Team Ontario and he impressed me in every way,” he said. “He played outside linebacker there but you could tell that he could play inside the box as well which is where we see him a little bit more.
“He can play in the box, in space and sideline to sideline.”
Conway also likes Sexton’s physical attributes.
“He is already a gym rat and his bench numbers already compare to our younger second- and third-year guys,” he said. “From a strength point, he is already there and from a football knowledge point, he is more advanced than most guys his age.”
Conway expects Sexton to see playing time early in his career.
“He is a guy who can come in and be a contributor on special teams in his first year,” he said. “I expect him to push for that, for sure, and that’s a reasonable goal he should set.”
Getting some rookie reps at linebacker will be a lot more difficult.
“We have a veteran group with a lot of fourth- and fifth-year guys,” Conway said. “On the defensive side, coming into that second year is when he can aim to take a spot there.”