As Neate related a while back, two of Queen's highest-profile football recruits for the upcoming season are Justin and Matt Chapdelaine, sons of famed CIS and CFL coach Jacques Chapdelaine. The two have impressive records of their own as well. Justin is a highly sought-after quarterback who threw for 1,827 yards and 21 TDs [CIS Football Recruiting Database] in B.C. AAA high-school football this past season with the W.J. Mouat Hawks and led them to the provincial final [Dan Kinvig, Abbotsford News], earning a provincial all-star nod in the process. Matt, a wide receiver, already has CIS experience from two seasons with the University of Alberta Golden Bears before concussion problems forced him to take some time off, but he's back in form now. I got a chance to speak with Justin and Matt yesterday, and they had some interesting things to say. Read on for the transcript of my conversation with Justin; I'll have another post later with the transcript of my interview with Matt. You can also check out Sporting Madness for another piece I wrote on Justin from this interview.
Q: Why'd you decide to come here?
A: Coach Sheahan had a lot of influence. He came out to B.C. and talked with my dad while he was in training camp [ed. note: Sheahan served as a guest coach at the Lions' training camp last year and Jacques Chapdelaine is currently their receivers coach]. He talked to me a lot about Queen's and the atmosphere. As I'm here right now, I look at the campus and everything's just so close. It's a great feel. Next year, I'm going to be part of the Physical Education department. The admissions [office] told me that they're so close to each other, they're such a tight-knit group. I'm just so excited about it and happy to be here. And with the situation with [incumbent All-Canadian quarterback] Danny Brannagan, with him in his final year, I'm hoping that I can be able to help this team in any way.
Q: Does that play a role in it, looking at him going into his final year? Is he a guy you can learn from?
A: Yeah, I watched Danny Brannagan on The Score a few times last year. He's a great quarterback. He knows the offence well and he has a lot of experience, so that's what I'm going to want to learn from him and hopefully bring to my game.
Q: Were you always thinking of going outside of B.C.?
A: Oh yeah, I didn't want to stay in B.C. UBC and SFU weren't really schools for me; I didn't really like the team, the whole situation with the school and that kind of stuff. But out here, it's that I just wanted to get away from home. University, you want to get away from home sometimes. I wanted to get away from home but stay in Canada, you know?
Q: You played at Mouat: what did you think of the program there?
A: It was a great program. I love Mouat. I had so many great friends from there, and the coach [Denis Kelly] who coached me was amazing. I learned so much from him. Hopefully, I'll bring my game from what he's taught me to here and hopefully bring my own swagger to this team. We play American football out there, so I'll hopefully bring that American swagger.
Q: Joining a program like Queen's, obviously there's a lot of history and tradition around football out here. Is that intimidating at all?
A: Not really. It's actually flattering being recruited by Coach Sheahan and hopefully being part of that tradition, being part of that history. I want to eventually win a Vanier Cup here and hopefully be part of the Hall of Fame here one day.
Q: Quarterbacking here's obviously a high-pressure situation. Does that intimidate you at all?
A: I love the pressure. It's motivation to me, you know. I want to be that person who always gets the ball off the snap and I want to be that person who makes the last pass of the game with three seconds left when you're losing by a few points.
Q: Did you know [kicker] Dan Village at all while you were at Mouat?
A: Yeah, Dan Village; he's a character! He's from Mouat too, and he's a funny guy. He's "Fearless Kicker"; that's what they call him around here. He's a great guy and he showed me a lot around this campus as well. He's been a great help.
Q: What are your goals for next year? Anything in particular?
A: My goals for next year are to play. It's my first year, my rookie year, so I'll hopefully get to play. Hopefully we'll get different packages; I know Danny's a bit more of a pocket quarterback and I can use my legs a little bit more, so hopefully I'll be able to come in games and do that.