For The Morning Star
CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos looked to Vernon to sign their first recruit for the 2016 CIS football season.
Dinos head coach Wayne Harris and recruiting co-ordinator Matt Berry confirmed linebacker Carson Labrecque of the VSS Panthers signed a Canadian Interuniversity Sport Letter of Commitment to attend U of C next year.
A 6-foot-2, 235-pound inside linebacker, Labrecque is rated as one of the premier linebackers according to Canada Football Chat. He was rated a four-star prospect and was an Elite Opportunities All Canadian in 2014.
Labrecque, who lives in Oyama, spent the past four seasons playing for head coach Sean Smith. He was a Football B.C. AA all-star in 2014 for the Panthers.
He injured his knee this past spring while competing for Team BC at the All Canadian Gridiron Challenge in Kamloops and is currently rehabbing his knee while completing his senior academic courses.
Labrecque made his official recruiting visit to Calgary in early September. He indicated he planned on recruiting visits to McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Manitoba, but decided last weekend he would commit to the Dinos. He will enrol in the faculty of kinesiology.
“I feel Calgary is a great fit for me in both football and academics and want to concentrate on school so I made the decision,” he said. “They will have room at linebacker. I felt welcome during my visit and the program felt like family. It is also close to home.”
Said coach Harris, the son of the late CFL legend Herm Harris: “Carson has been on our radar for a while. He is a big strong athletic linebacker. He fits our system well and we look forward to coaching him in the future.”
Harris also paid tribute to the Panthers program.
“Sean (Smith) runs a solid program at Vernon Secondary and does a great job with his athletes,” said Harris.
Smith had high praise for Labrecque.
“I am so happy that Carson is realizing his dream of playing football at the next level. His dedication to the game of football has been second to none in our program. He is so deserving of getting that chance with the University of Calgary. I think he’s a perfect fit for their defensive scheme and I know he felt very comfortable with their coaching staff.
“Carson is not only a great football player, but he is also a great leader and I have no doubt that he will be a team captain for them before too long.”
Labrecque was named Most Valuable Player at the Lawyer Malloy Camp in Tacoma earlier this year and earned top linebacker honours at Football U Camp in Phoenix.
Carson earned an athletic scholarship with an academic component with the Dinos. He is the son of Marcel and Dawn Labrecque.