The York University Lions football team welcomed a pair of blue chip recruits this week with the addition of defensive back Rees Paterson and receiver Nathaniel Pinto to the squad.
Paterson and Pinto join a talented group of recruits brought in by head coach Warren Craney and his staff this off-season.
“Rees and Nathaniel are tremendous additions to our football team and I am thrilled they chose to spend their university careers at York,” said Craney. “It is obvious from their pedigrees that they will both have a tremendous impact on our program, and it is a testament to what myself and the rest of the coaching staff is doing here at York to have them want to be part of the Lions.”
Paterson, a 6-ft., 185-lb. cornerback from Sherwood Park, Alta., has already put together an impressive football resume. He comes to York from Archbishop Jordan High School, where he earned the team’s MVP awards in 2011 and 2012, was the 2011 Carr Conference MVP and a 2012 Northern Alberta all-star. He participated in the 2011 Canada Cup, where he was named an all-Canadian and the game’s most valuable player.
He is also familiar with Craney, having played for him as a member of Team World at the 2013 International Bowl in Austin and at the 2012 world junior championships, where he helped Team Canada win its first ever gold medal.
“One of the main reasons I committed to York was because of Coach Craney, as I believe he is one of the best defensive minds in the country,” said Paterson. “Also, I’m from a small town and when I took my trip to campus the big city really got to me. I really liked the sense of community amongst everyone at York and particularly on the team. I want to make York my home for the next five years, get a good education and win some football games.”
Pinto is a local player from Downsview High School. The 5-foot-9, 170-lb. wideout from Toronto was a standout in both high school and the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL). With the Etobicoke Eagles, he was the junior varsity conference MVP in 2010 and the conference’s top wide receiver at the varsity level in 2013, earned the team’s MVP award in 2012 and was an OVFL all-star in each of the past two seasons.
He has participated in the Super Elite football camp multiple times, winning the offensive MVP award in 2010 and the Mr. Hustle Award in 2012. While at Downsview, he was a two-time team MVP and earned the most valuable player award at the GTA Top 100 all-star game.
“It’s a great feeling to be close to home. I’m familiar with the area and the coaches, and some of my former teammates are on the team,” Pinto said of his commitment to the Lions. “I think I can be another weapon for the offence, and help contribute to the team with my heart and my speed.”
Paterson and Pinto will hit the gridiron for the first time in August when the Lions open training camp at York Stadium. They will make their regular-season debuts on Monday, Sept. 1 in Ottawa when the Lions open the season against the Gee-Gees at 1pm.