SCOTT TAYLOR, MyToba.ca
Photos by LLOYD LOUIE

The maturity of Tristan Bredin has been an eye-opener for Brian Dobie.LL_TristanBredin_Vert_1_1020

There was a time, not long ago, when the head coach of the University of Manitoba Bisons was a little cool on Bredin’s football abilities. Dobie knew Bredin was big. He also knew the teenager was the nephew of former NFL star William (The Refrigerator) Perry.

But like many coaches in Manitoba, he saw a kid who didn’t appear to take the game all that seriously. He knew Bredin was young, but he also saw the young man as a gifted athlete wasting his time. Back in the summer of 2013, after Bredin was cut by Manitoba’s under-18 provincial team coaches right before the team was to leave for the Football Canada Cup in Moncton, Dobie was like most coaches in Manitoba. He didn’t write the kid off, but he wasn’t knocking on his door to recruit him, either.

Now, however, Dobie is an unabashed fan. In one year, Tristan Bredin has gone from being a big lazy kid to a hard-working, passionate young adult with a legitimate football future. Maybe it was getting cut. Maybe it was good coaching. Maybe it was peer pressure. Whatever the reason, Dobie would love to see Bredin in a Bisons uniform in 2015.

“I’ve really warmed to that kid,” Dobie said the other day. “He’s completely different. I know there were a lot of coaches who wanted to write him off, but from where I sit, he’s really changed. He’s a big, big kid who looks like a very good athlete. Our defensive co-ordinator, Stan Pierre, was saying the other day, ‘We really like Tristan Bredin,’ and a couple of the other coaches didn’t agree. Stan said, ‘Look at him. Just look at him. Look at his size and say that’s not interesting to you.’ He’s a kid we’re going after. We can’t let him get away.”

Bredin is emerging as one of the top prospects in Manitoba for three reasons: one, he’s matured dramatically since getting cut from the provincial team in 2013; two, he’s 6-foot-4, 379 pounds; and three, he’s a good athlete who is working harder at the game and his school work. Fact is, Tristan Bredin is a smart young man who has realized that size isn’t everything.

After playing superbly for Team Manitoba at the 2014 Football Canada Cup in Saskatoon, Bredin took two major steps this summer: He not only made the provincial team this year, he played outstanding football at the national championship and in one of Manitoba’s victories he was named defensive player of the game.

LL_TristanBredin_Vert_2_1020The huge interior lineman, who will go both ways for the WHSFL’s Murdoch MacKay Clansmen this season, is still only 16 years old and yet is starting to emerge as a can’t-miss university recruit.

“I think I played pretty well in Saskatoon,” Bredin said modestly. “People told me I played pretty good. I must have played OK, because I talked to a lot of schools in Saskatoon. I talked to the U of M and it’s definitely an option for me. I had a scout tell me that a couple of American universities are interested in me. I want to play university football as soon as I can after I graduate because I want to be able to make an impact right away.”

Bredin, who will turn 17 in September, is heading into Grade 12 at Murdoch. Last year, he helped the Clansmen reach the provincial final at Investors Group Field. Murdoch was beaten by a bigger, better team from St. Paul’s, but it was still a successful campaign. This year, it’s a new Murdoch team, a rebuilding team. The school graduated 18 players including all-star quarterback Drenin Busch who is now at the U of M.

“We have enough returning players and we’ll have a great line on both sides of the ball,” Bredin said. “With me, Zack Williams (who has committed to the University of North Dakota for 2015), Jared Lazarenko (one of the most sought-after recruits in the province) and Jalen Burley at end (the team’s tailback on offence), our defensive line will be pretty good, I think. Jalen is only in Grade 10, but he’s 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and he’s very quick off the ball. We’ll go both ways, too. I’m excited about the upcoming season.”

Murdoch opens its 2014 Winnipeg High School Football League schedule on Sept. 4 in Brandon against Crocus Plains. They’ll play their first game in Winnipeg on Sept. 13 at Vincent Massey.

“I’m excited about this season,” Bredin said. “We might not be as good as we were last year, but we have a really good group of guys and two really good lines. You can go a long way with good line play.”

Indeed. And as Tristan Bredin continues to mature, he could go a long way, too.