Winter wind chills have hit Saskatoon so the 2018 Prairie Football Conference season may be far from a fan’s mindset while bundling up for daily routines, not so for the Saskatoon Hilltops.
The junior football juggernaut looking for a fifth straight national title is aggressively recruiting for the future.
Head Coach Tom Sargeant said running back is one of the prime targets this year.
“We had three guys leave the building, so running back is an area of need, we’re looking at quarterbacks, and defensive linemen have sort of been the top areas of focus in the recruiting journey so far,” said Sargeant.
The team is trying to keep the depth chart stocked while it also builds a new facility that could be attractive to new players.
“We’ve got his brand new clubhouse, we’ve got a great scholarship set up,” said Sargeant who added despite an unprecedented four straight and 20 Canadian Bowl titles in franchise history, the team isn’t taking anything for granted.
“We don’t rest on our laurels, we always make sure we make the rounds, and make people know exactly what we’re looking for, you know, the territory that we really hunt is Saskatoon and in-around so we don’t stray too far.”
All-Canadian rush end Riley Pickett was the first 2017 Topper grad to commit to a University program agreeing to join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Wide receiver Sam Mike and fullback Colin Stumborg are heading to the University Regina for 2018 while defensive lineman and long-snapper Tom Schnitzler along with safety James Vause are going to U-B-C.
Sargeant said taking the next step into the C-I-S was a testament to those players, the program and its coaches. However, there can be some surprises.
“When these players graduate often times we don’t know what’s going on after the fact,” said Sargent. The highly heralded head coach said Hilltop players rank highly in C-I-S scouting reports.
“All we do know is there are a lot of C-I-S programs that come chasing our players because they know if you get a Hilltop, there’ a guy that’s used to winning, expects to win and is going to bring great leadership and understand what tradition is all about,” said Sargeant.