“The people we recruit are very, very good players,” McCrystal said. “They are guys who have impacted their leagues and their football teams. Many of them have been most valuable players in the leagues, outstanding linemen in their leagues, they’ve been defensive player of the year, they’ve been all-stars and they have gone on and done well at a national level.”
But McCrystal refuses to call it a rebuilding year. “I think we’re going to be a very competitive football team, we’re working toward that end and these young guys are already working hard to be a part of it,” he said.
Noah Picton, a quarterback from Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School whose father Dean Picton was also a former Rams quarterback, is happy with his choice. “It’s pretty exciting stuff to come in as a fan for many, many years and be a member of this team,” he said.
And Picton didn’t consider any other options. “The Rams was it for me, from the beginning, right out of high school I figured, I’m staying here. If they want to keep me, I’m staying here,” he said.
Also keeping it in the family, Cohen Richards wasn’t shy to say he chose the Rams because his older brother, Addison Richards, already played for the team.
And Addison is happy for his brother. “It’s his moment, he’s worked hard for this, he put in a lot of time and it’s going to be a lot of fun to share the field with him,” he said.
When looking for players, the Rams coaches, led by offensive coordinator Bernie Schmidt, use a number of methods to find potential recruits. The coaches often follow the players’ careers throughout high school and in many cases have already coached or worked with them at Rams camps and in Regina Minor Football.
For out-of-town recruits, the coaches rely primarily on recommendations from colleagues, scouting websites and high school coaches. But in some cases, the players will take matters into their own hands. For example, graduating wide receiver Mark McConkey made the team by submitting his own highlight reel.
McCrystal speculates the Rams will need to recruit an additional 15 to 20 players beyond the 12 they already have. This process will happen over the next few months with a focus on recruiting new linemen.
The new Rams recruits will take the field for the first time on May 3 to 5 at spring camp.