The Gee-Gees football team had two of its senior players named to the All-Canadian team on Thursday night in Hamilton, Ont. where festivities continue for the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup. The pair were an offensive powerhouse, leading the nation in five statistical categories and ranking top five in ten total offensive stats between them.
Both players were recognized as Second Team All-Canadians, and it marks the first pair of Gee-Gees to be honoured at the national level in the same season since Ettore Lattanzio and Brendan Gillanders in 2013. Both Lattanzio and Gillanders will compete for the Grey Cup with the Ottawa Redblacks this Sunday, along with 2010 All-Canadian Gee-Gee Brad Sinopoli. In total, uOttawa has had 90 All-Canadians, dating back to 1970. That includes 26 members of the second team.
Baines hauled in a national-best 65 catches for 984 yards, averaging 123 yards per game in his final season with uOttawa. A native of the nation’s capital, Baines was on the receiving end of eight touchdowns, which ties him for third among U Sports receivers.
“Mitchell had a great season. He’s a tough receiver and is a guy that is very dedicated,” says Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. "He’s a great character kid and I’m very happy for him."
The OUA Most Valuable Player, Derek Wendel led university pivots in completions with his record-setting 232 in 347 attempts. His career best 66.9 completion percentage led the OUA conference and ranked fifth nationally. His 22 touchdown passes were second in U Sports, as was his average of 367 yards per game.
“Derek came to me very early in his career and said he wanted to be as good as he could be,” remembers Barresi. "Football is such a large developmental game and it’s not given to you – you always have to earn it. You have to work on your craft and never give up a rep. I still remember a time when we had Derek out on the field at midnight because that was a time available to us to work. That’s when I knew we had something.”
Television coverage of the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup on Sportsnet / Sportsnet 360 and TVA Sports gets underway with pre-game shows at 12:30 p.m., Saturday. The 52nd U Sports championship game is also available online through Sportsnet NOW and TVASports.ca.