New-look football Lions open training camp Aug. 22

Student-athletes on the York University Lions football team begin training camp Aug. 22 for the 2011 season, kicking off on Labour Day with a home game against the Wilfrid Laurier GoldeWarren Craney n Hawks.

The team has been working hard all summer to prepare for the upcoming year, and optimism is high as head coach Warren Craney (right) and his coaching staff anticipate the arrival of their new team after overhauling the roster in their first off-season together.

There will be many new faces when players hit the gridiron for the first time, as more than 50 players committed to York in the off-season, representing one of the biggest recruiting classes in the country this year.

“We are completely wound up with anticipation of finally getting to see these young men wearing York jerseys,” said Craney. “The recruiting battle is not going to get easier, but to see the fruits of our 2011 labour will rejuvenate our staff to work even harder for 2012. I would like to personally invite all alumni to drop by training camp to see the changes first hand.”

The York Lions football team will be getting ready for a Labour Day kickoff against Wilfrid Laurier
Above: The York Lions football team will be getting ready for a Labour Day kickoff against Wilfrid Laurier

Among the first-year group is standout recruit Marcus Grandison. A six-foot, 205-pound defensive back and linebacker from Toronto, he is one of the top defensive players coming out of high school and his decision to join the Lions bolstered an already strong recruiting class.

Grandison participated in the 2011 Team USA vs. The World football game in Austin, Texas in February, a contest that featured the best high-school football players from the United States facing off against those from around the world.

As a standout at Chaminade College School, Grandison was the team MVP, a 2010 Toronto all-star and was twice named to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) all-star team. In 2009 and 2010 he won the defensive backs award at the national underclass combine. He also played for the Toronto Wildcats of the Ontario Varsity Football League, where he received the team MVP award as a member of the junior team.

“Marcus has been one of our top priorities since I took this job,” said Craney. “He is arguably the top defensive recruit in the country and we decided that he was going to be our program changer. We are thrilled he chose to come to York and we are looking forward to seeing him wearing red and white!”

The new-look Lions kick off the 2011 season on Sept. 5 at 1pm with a home game in York Stadium against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.