For the second year in a row, the Lacombe Composite High School Rams are sending one of their alums to play CIS football at the University of Alberta.
After sending Albert Number 1 ranked Quarterback Jonathan Ericson to the Golden Bears in 2018, his favourite receiving target Richard Jans followed him in 2019.
Jans, one of central Alberta’s standout wide receivers for the last two seasons, was originally concerned about not being recruited after he was consistently double and triple-teamed all season, after breaking out in Grade 11.
“I was honestly pretty worried,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about the wins, more so just the amount of touches I was getting. Our quarterback situation wasn’t as good as the year before simply because of Jonathan being gone. I was worried, but as soon I was getting offers — I was really excited about it.”
In the 2017 season, many of Jans touches came from over the shoulder bombs thrown by Ericson. In the 2018 season, Jans credited the creativity of Rams Coach Brian Ross for helping him get open in a variety of different ways. The resulting highlight tape showed a receiver that could get the ball in variety of different ways — something Jans feels helped him in the recruitment process.
“I sent out my highlight tape and I got interest from a couple universities,” Jans said. “I decided to play for UofA. It was close to home and after Jonathan Ericson signed last year, I knew there would be a familiar face there. That made me more interested in the program.
“I am super excited. Jon and I had a really good friendship throughout high school and we should have a good connection in university as well.”
Jans has already had his first tape of CIS football after he attended spring camp in April.
“I had to learn really quickly,” he said. “The offence was a lot more sophisticated than it is in Lacombe. With the bigger people, I am a bigger guy already so I fit it more than I thought I was going to.
“A lot of CIS players red shirt the first year. Jon (Ericson) red shirted the first year, so I will likely do that and learn the playbook the first year. By second year, I will be playing.”
Jans said he was thankful for the LCHS football program for giving him an opportunity to further his education at UofA, where he will be taking business.
“It is one step at a time. I will see how I progress in university years, but playing professionally has always been a dream of mine. Hopefully I can do that,” he added.
For the summer, Jans will be working out twice and day and will also continue to run routes and get better before the Golden Bears season begins.
The Golden Bears coaching staff instructed him, “To study the playbook and then follow the work out plan that they gave us.”
Jans added, “I would like to thank all my teammates and obviously my family for being so supportive. I would like to thank my coaches for helping me out and teaching me everything I know.”
Jans also said that for younger football players who want to play collegiate football, it is important to get their highlight packages out to institutions.