New Okanagan Sun head coach Shane Beatty continues to reap the benefits from a spring of dogged recruiting and a successful spring camp earlier this month.
A trio of Prairie-bred recruits have committed to the club for the 2013 B.C. Football Conference season.
The newest members of the Sun are:
• Brett Chabidon, defensive back, East Side Eagles Majors (Winnipeg)
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Chabidon joins the Sun for his final season of junior eligibility after sitting out last season following ACL surgery. He played his high school football at Churchill High School and was a teammate there of Sun receiver Tommy Howes and played his first year out of high school with the Winnipeg Rifles of the Prairie Football Conference.
“I was planning on playing junior last year but the second last game of the season (Eagles) I tore my knee,” said Chabidon. “I took the year off and knew I was going to pay somewhere this year, I know some of the guys with the Sun and they said I should talk to Shane. I knew right after spring camp I wanted to play here, there wasn’t that much to think about. I just wanted to get and talk to my family about it.”
Shane Beatty expects Chabidon to push for a starting position.
“When I went to Winnipeg to recruit I was told by a couple people about Brett,” Beatty said, “that he was a hard nose, gritty player and that we should give him a chance even though he would only have one year with us. When we brought him out to camp he just shined, a real physical kid, a great kid.”
• Kelton Hurt, offensive line, Chinook High School (Lethbridge)
Hurt, 19, stands in at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds and impressed Beatty at spring camp with his tenacity and edgy demeanour.
“He has a nasty streak to him,” said Beatty. “He has a lot of learning to do about the position still, but he has some nasty in him on the field, I like that about him. He got in a couple dustups on the field at camp, he didn’t back down from anybody out there.”
For Hurt’s part, he’s prepared to take on any role asked of him by the Sun staff.
“I don’t know for sure where I sit (on offensive line depth chart) but I got in a lot of reps with first group at spring camp,” Hurt said. “I play guard or tackle and I don’t really care which side (of centre)”
• Marcus Cooper, running back, Grande Prairie Composite High School
The 5-foot-8, 189-pound Cooper joins the Sun from the alma mater of one of the nest backs ever to suit up for the Sun, the late Jeff Halvorson. Cooper, 18, knows well of Halvorson and his impact both at Grande Prairie Comp and with the Sun.
“I’ve heard a lot about Jeff at home and have tried to model myself after his work ethic and commitment to the game,” said Cooper. “I try to put my heart into it as much as he did and commit to the game as much as he did.
“I know there are (some veterans at running back on the roster) but I want to use this season as a learning experience and hopefully get as much playing time as possible and show the coaches what I can do,” Cooper added.
Coach Beatty on Cooper: “Marcus is a real shifty, slashing runner. He is extremely quick, he hits the hole quick and knows how to get out of there quick as well. He is an elusive back but he can also get you the tough yards.”
The Sun opens main camp July 5.