Former Warriors to wear purple and gold in 2010

Three members of the suspended University of Waterloo football team will be continuing their football careers as Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks this fall. It was announced earlier this week that receiver Nathan Zender and defensive backs Mitch Nicholson and Patrick McGarry have become the first Warriors to make their way down University Ave. and join the purple and gold.

“Once the decision was firm that those kids could move, it was just a matter of wait and see,” said Laurier’s head coach and manager of football operations Gary Jeffries. “It certainly wasn’t a recruiting effort on our part to go after kids, it was strictly, when they contacted us, we would respond and answer their questions.”

Nicholson and McGarry will give the Hawks some much needed depth in the defensive backfield, helping fill the huge void left by the transfer 2009 All-Canadian Courtney Stephen. Stephen will be playing south of the border this season with Northern Illinois University.

“Courtney transferred to pursue what he feels is a better opportunity to gain visibility and go to the NFL, that’s his goal and that’s the way he wants to pursue it,” said Jeffries. “It’s certainly a big hit to us, in 40 years I don’t think I’ve seen a better free safety, and I’ve certainly seen a lot of them. But others will step up and these two kids that are coming in will certainly help.”

Zender, meanwhile will see more competition for playing time, as the Hawks are loaded with talent at the receiver position, boasting the likes of 2009 All-Canadian Dillon Heap, 2008 provincial all-star Shamawd Chambers, last-year’s breakout rookie Alex Anthony and a slew of talented recruits and veterans.

“We were honest with all of them in terms of what are numbers were at each position, and our receiver spot is probably the most competitive position on the team,” said Jeffries. “So it’s really to [Zender’s] credit that he was able to accept that and believe enough in his ability to come in here and compete for a spot.”

Hawks, both and old and new, will get their chance to earn playing time when the purple and gold open training camp on Aug. 19.