V.I. Raiders prospects full of potential

The Raiders revealed half a dozen recruits – Brody Taylor, Kalven Kellock, Justin Cook, Michael Lemoine, Evan Rhode and Kaelan Botel.

Receiver Evan Rhode

Receiver Evan Rhode

The V.I. Raiders’ 10th-anniversary season is a chance to celebrate the past. It’s also a time to look ahead toward the next decade, and that’s how the new recruits start to figure in.

Junior football’s signing day was June 1, with high school and midget prospects determining where they wish to play this coming season.

Right away the Raiders revealed half a dozen recruits – quarterback Brody Taylor, receiver Kalven Kellock and fullback Justin Cook from Nanaimo, quarterback Michael Lemoine from North Vancouver, receiver Evan Rhode from Chemainus and defensive lineman Kaelan Botel from Prince George.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Curtis Hansen, Raiders assistant coach. “We’ve had interest from all over the country, like we normally do.”

Taylor, Kellock and Cook were part of the Barsby Bulldogs’ 2013 provincial AA varsity championship victory. Taylor, who was Top Offensive Back in that game, has been on the Raiders’ radar for some time, and vice-versa.

“They’ve been there, they’ve been winning, they’ve been successful and with the coaching staff and everything, it just seems like a good fit for me,” said Taylor.

Hansen said Rhode was an exciting playmaker with the Cowichan Bulldogs last season. Evan is the son of late Nanaimo sports reporter Michael Rhode, who covered the Raiders for five seasons.

“I’ve just really enjoyed watching the Raiders from when I was little, to growing up, and it’s something I’ve really been excited about,” Evan Rhode said.

Kaelan Botel is the younger brother of former Raiders running back Jordan Botel.

The new recruits like the way the 2014 team is shaping up.

“I think we’re going to have a really hard-working team and we’re all going to work together as one group,” said Rhode.

To do so, the rookies will need to keep up with the pace of junior football. Leading up to main camp, players are expected to get bigger, faster and stronger. Taylor said part of the adjustment is mental.

“Just the mindset of playing with older guys,” he said. “Coming in and competing, not thinking that since they’re older that they’re going to be better than you. You need to play up to their standards.”

The Raiders didn’t sign all the prospects on their wish list, but they still have their eye on a few Nanaimo players who haven’t yet committed to any program.

“Recruiting’s a dog-eat-dog world,” Hansen said. “We just want to put forward the best opportunity for these young men and keep our local guys at home.”

He said it’s a huge decision to move away from home, or move to Nanaimo for that matter, and said the Raiders try to make players aware of what to expect.

In the meantime, Raiders coaches are reassessing the roster daily, Hansen said. Signing day isn’t any kind of deadline, after all.

“[It’s] not a big day for us to rush to the finish line,” the assistant coach said. “The finish line is at the end of the season, after Game 10, and then it all starts again.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

The Nanaimo sign at Maffeo Sutton Park could be hazardous for children, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo sign will cause falls

Children can’t resist climbing on sign, says letter writer

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read