Lancer Quarterback Set to Showcase Talents at Upcoming CFL Combine
by: Justin Peters
With the Canadian Football League (CFL) combine right around the corner, Lancer quarterback Sam Girard is poised to prove why he is the top Canadian quarterback available in this year’s draft.
As an Academic All-Canadian, Girard is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Kinesiology. Based on his commitment to both his academic studies and his athletic gifts, Girard has what it takes to be successful at the professional level.
Lancers head coach Jean-Paul Circelli lauded his pivot’s work ethic both on and off the gridiron, mentioning how Girard leads by example. Circelli highlighted how Girard exerts considerable effort toward everything he does, helping to place the Lancers in a position to win on a regular basis.
“Sam is a true student of the game, he is a very quiet leader, but he is really astute on his study of film sessions and ability to put in the work that is required to be a successful player in U Sports,” said Circelli.
Girard, a native of Amherstburg, Ontario, began playing football when he was 10. He fell in love with the intensity of the sport and anticipation before the ball was snapped to him. Girard enjoys the pressure of being in control of the offence and enjoys acting as another coach on the field.
“The real appeal [of the quarterback position] for me was having the ball every play,” he said. “I gravitated to being that pivotal guy on the offense and being able to lead the team down the field on drives.”
With more than 2,200 total yards and 14 touchdowns (third in the OUA) in the 2019 campaign, Girard has those stats that get you noticed. Next season will be Girard’s final season of eligibility and Circelli expects big things from his veteran gunslinger. Circelli noted how Girard has used the time off due to the pandemic to transform his body, describing how he has dropped weight that’ll make him much faster and more agile.
Aside from the physical, Coach Circelli noted that there are intangible factors that differentiate Girard from other quarterbacks in U Sports.
“Sam separates himself by being one of the more mature quarterbacks in the league, he has proven that he can handle a larger playbook. So, for him, the learning curve will not be as steep if he decides to pursue a career in the CFL after school,” said Circelli.
Alex Bornais, a senior wide receiver for the Lancers, is currently in his penultimate year of eligibility. Bornais receiver is in the process of completing a degree in Communication, Media, and Film studies, with a minor in Business. Bornais and Girard frequently work out together as they try to stay in shape for the upcoming season (hopefully). Bornais, a native of Tecumseh, also believes that Girard has the pedigree to be a successful quarterback at the professional level.
“He is very, very accurate, probably the most accurate quarterback I have ever played with. Sometimes I joke with him and tell him that ‘you can throw it [the ball] a little less perfect every time so I can make a cool catch,’” laughed Bornais.
On the field, Girard takes pride in his meticulous execution of the physical skill. In the locker room, he is well known for his down-to-earth approach as a leader.
“His attitude as a quarterback is really good, he doesn’t yell at people or give off negative vibes. He is a very uplifting individual and as a player, you can really trust him to make the right decisions as a leader and athlete based on his high football IQ,” said Bornais.
With interest from franchises such as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Montreal Alouettes, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Girard is ready to show CFL scouts what he can bring to the table. As one of two quarterbacks in Canada that is invited to the regional combine, Girard is primed to perform.
“I want to be able to say I have given everything I had; competing in the combine is an accumulation of all the hard work and seasons I have put in as a Lancer. This opportunity means a lot to me.”