Nicholas Dheilly’s path to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies included as many twists and turns as his path to the quarterback.The highly-regarded defensive lineman — who first committed to the Huskies in 2016, only to change his mind — rejoins the team in 2019, after stops with the Regina Rams and Okanagan Sun.He’s glad to be back on a college field, he said Tuesday, after throwing his weight around Griffiths Stadium during the first day of training camp workouts.“It was a long summer. A lot of grinding to get to this point, and a long year to get back into (university football),” said Dheilly, who played with Okanagan’s junior team last season. “Going on the field, putting the pads on and going against some other big guys was pretty awesome. I’m really happy to be back in this league.”Dheilly is no ordinary recruit. He was seen as a can’t miss prospect when he committed to join the Huskies prior to the 2016 season, but had a change of heart over the summer and joined his home-town Rams. He was named conference rookie of the year and earned all-star honours during a two-season stint in Regina, then decided he wanted to play elsewhere.That necessitated one year of junior football — players can’t shift programs without sitting a season — and he led the B.C. conference with eight sacks during a partial campaign with the Sun.In November, he committed to the Huskies for a second time.
University of Saskatchewan Huskies defensive lineman Nicholas Dheilly, a former Regina Ram who has moved over to the Huskies this year, during the first day of training-camp workouts at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon, SK on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
Liam Richards /
“I talked to a lot of schools, trying to figure out what the best option was for me going into my draft year,” said Dheilly, who is eligible for the CFL’s draft next spring. “But I had the best meeting with Scott (Flory) and the coaching staff; they were all family, and I felt like I was family here. That’s what brought me here.”Dheilly says he enjoyed his time with the Rams, but that things “weren’t working out.” He remembers being torn after coming out of high school, pondering both Saskatoon and Regina.“I was a 17-year-old, 18-year-old, and it’s hard to leave home,” he says. “I did commit here out of high school and I felt like this was the right place, but when you’re 17 … you’re a kid, having a hard time growing up and you want to stay close to home … I have no regrets. I had a great two years (in Regina). But coming back here, I realize what I missed.”The Huskies helped their cause when they won the conference title this past season, their first since 2006. Dheilly makes no secret of his desire to play for a strong team with a shot at a playoff run during his CFL draft year.“I was definitely looking for a winning team,” he says. “You want to play on a good team, have that playoff run, try to play for that Vanier like everybody else wants to. But honestly, even if they didn’t beat Calgary in the Hardy, I think I’d still be here because of the coaching staff and the guys they have here.”Huskies’ head coach Scott Flory says he thinks Dheilly will be made better by the work he does with defensive co-ordinator Warren Muzika. He’s plugging the third-year specimen right into the lineup and expects him to make a quick impact.“Everybody’s path is a little bit different, and his path ended up back here, right here, right now,” Flory says. “I’ve had some really good talks with Nick. You can see the speed and athleticism — he’s just such a dynamic player.”The Huskies resume two-a-day workouts Wednesday at 8:30 and 11:15 a.m. They open their conference schedule Aug. 30 in Manitoba against the Bisons.“It’s about time,” Flory said of his team’s return to the Griffiths Stadium turf. “There’s a lot of facets to my job — the admin, the meetings, all that other stuff I have to do. That’s part of the job. But the football side of things, for all of us, all the hard work … that’s what we’re trying to do. When we get out here, when we compete, get on the field … man, that’s what we love to do.”firstname.lastname@example.org/kmitchspRelated