In an interview with UMFM’s This Week in Bison Sports, U of M Bisons football quarterback Des Catellier gave Bisons fans an inside look at the Calgary-born QB’s football journey, and where he hopes it takes him.
Like many Canadian children, Catellier began playing hockey at a young age and had dreams of making the NHL, but after being passed over by a preferred team in seventh grade he began playing football.
The decision turned out well for Catellier as he took to his new sport quickly.
“I went out, tried it out and after my first practice was the starting quarterback on the team, and just loved it ever since then,” Catellier said.
“Turns out I wasn’t too bad at it and took a couple years for me to really set in that I was liking football more than hockey, but once I made that transition to take football seriously and take football somewhere was probably around high school.”
From there Catellier played high school football with the St. Francis Browns until his senior year and recruitment began.
Catellier’s recruitment story is unique. He was exposed to the Bisons through the team’s pursuit of his older brother, Luc Catellier.
“I was always kind of in those meetings,” Catellier said. “And they knew who I was and so they talked to me but it was like they were more at my brother. But now I had seen the program, I had met with [Brian] Dobie a couple times so we got to know each other a little bit.”
Luc signed with the Bisons in 2015 and the courting of Des continued. He visited his brother in Manitoba, saw the facilities, met one-on-one with Bisons head coach Brian Dobie and said he felt “a great atmosphere around the team.”
The decision to commit to Manitoba was not entirely set in stone, however, as multiple programs made offers to Catellier.
“Regina was a big recruiter and I really did think about Regina,” he said.
He was also pursued by his hometown program in Calgary but a desire to move away from home pushed him further east. His options extended as far as the University of Western Ontario, yet the desire to remain in Canada West drew Catellier to the Bisons.
“It seemed like the perfect situation for me to come into,” Catellier said. “I loved the atmosphere, I met a bunch of the guys already, they really felt like good guys I could get to know and be my friends.”
“And that’s what it really comes down to,” he said. “I want to be on a team that I like being around all the time and that’s what it’s been.”
Catellier also could not escape the allure of Manitoba’s professional pedigree.
David Onyemata was drafted by the New Orleans Saints the year before he arrived and Geoff Gray signed with the Green Bay Packers the following off-season.
“I think it added a lot of excitement to be in a program that is pushing out NFL talent,” Catellier said.
He said that, “there might be some people that took it as pressure but, personally, I thought it was really cool that we were putting out these guys,” and that “seeing the work ethic of a guy that’s going to the NFL, it was surreal.”
Looking toward his own potential professional career, Catellier hinted that he may be torn between two clubs.
“It would mean so much to me to make a CFL roster in the first place,” he said.
“But, being a Blue Bomber would be […] I’ve always followed them, my dad’s from here […] so it would be a really good feeling.”
Catellier also spoke highly of his home town Calgary Stampeders, saying it would “mean absolutely everything to me,” but maintaining that “just making any CFL roster would be a dream come true.”
The entire interview with Des Catellier can be found at UMFM.com and tune in to 101.5 UMFM every Friday at 11 a.m. for This Week in Bison Sports to hear more from your Bisons.