Linebacker Jesse Groot, 17, has already firmed up where he'll be playing after his final season with the Cochrane High Cobras.

The 5'11", 195 lb. linebacker has signed a letter of intent with the UAlberta Golden Bears.

"I've been to a few of their camps at their program and I got to know their players and coaches very well. They were all super nice, very kind, and I've learned so much from them. I'm super excited to be part of their program, and to be working with them for the next five years."

This summer, he received a scholarship offer from the university and was named linebacker MVP in their "Hard Knocks" prospects camp. He's impressed with their entire organization.

"Their work ethic is impeccable and they're always on the grind. They're always watching film or they're working out in the weight room or they're doing field sessions. They're always getting better."

He'll be reporting to the Golden Bears spring camp. Before then, he'll continue to be a vital part of the Cobras' defence. After the high school season, he'll be participating in his second Golden Bears elite training program and will see action in Florida. He was in the same program last year and travelled to San Antonio, TX.

Groot says in preparation for the faster, bigger game played at the university level, he's stepped up his training to include more stamina, strength, and speed training. He's aiming to bulk up to 200 lbs.

It was at Cochrane High that he was introduced to the sport of football when he was 15 years old. There, he played his first game against the Bert Church Chargers. Prior to that, he played lacrosse, a sport he believes helped him prepare for the physicality of football. 

"I would like to thank Coach (Rob) McNab and Coach (Tom) Knitter for their amazing Cobras program. Once a Cobra, always a Cobra. I can't thank them enough for introducing me to the great sport of football."


Football Alberta's extensive programs have also played a role in developing his high-skill level. This summer, he was one of two Cochrane players who played for Alberta in the Football Canada Cup, where they won bronze. He believes playing against the top U18 players in the country was a valuable experience in making the jump to post-secondary play.

"I think their coaching staff helped to make me a better football player and get to that elite next level in preparation for university football. Football Alberta is a great program."

Right now, his number one priority is helping the Cochrane Cobras continue its legacy of excellence.

"Overall, I think our goal is to have another ring season, win provincials as well as zones."

He expects they'll be facing some highly skilled teams along the way. 

Tonight's exhibition game cancelled

A peek at a potential opponent in the provincials had been sought today, but has since cancelled. The #2 ranked Holy Rosary Raiders were scheduled to appear at the Cobras Dome, but it's a no-go due to a scarcity of referees.

It was originally called the Tier 3 game of the week by Football Alberta, and they've since  nicknamed it the "Sisyphus Game." It's the second consecutive year a major exhibition contest at the high school level has been cancelled due to a scarcity of referees.

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