May 29th, 2024

Local high school punter gearing up for second return to national prospects game

By BRENDAN MILLER on May 4, 2024.

Punter Ira Hozack from Medicine Hat High School has been named one of high school football's top talents and is getting set to play in a national prospects game in Ottawa at the end of the month.--PHOTO COURTESY Allen Parker; Parker Graphic Designs

Ira Hozack started playing football at the age of seven but truly started taking the sport seriously in Grade 9 and has since been impressing coaches and scouts with his punting and kicking skills.

Hozack has been recognized nationally for his rising talent and is among the top 75 Canadian high school football prospects and is planning to take part in his second appearance of the CFC Prospect Game at the end of the month.

However, Hozack will be only one of two punters invited to the prospect game, a skill Hozack says he’s been developing since he was a little child.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was super little,” says Hozack. “So I was like, you know, we’ll give it a try.”

During a summer football camp Hozack received guidance from Chris McLean, punter coach for the U of C Dino’s, and discovered he had a golden foot.

“And then after that I realized that I’m a lot better at punting than being a defensive end.”

The selection process for Hozack and the other prospect players, including a 10-city nation tour, included members and scouts with Canada football and TSN, which ran professional combines that included a 40-yard dash, shuttle, vertical and board jump events.

This will be the second year Hozack has been selected to participate in the CFC Prospect Game. Hozack says after a year of hard training he is more prepared for this year’s game.

“I’m pretty excited. I was there last year and, you know, this year I’m so much better anyways, so it’ll be that much better.”

Hozack is currently wrapping up his Grade 11 studies at Medicine Hat High School and is already generating interest from post-secondary institutions.

The U of C as well as the University of Alberta and the University of Guelph have already offered Hozack scholarships.

“Yeah, they’re trying to get me there. I guess I did something right along the way,” says Hozack who plans to complete his post-secondary studies while chasing his dream of playing in the CFL or even the NFL one day.

Prior to the prospect game, players will have the opportunity to develop skills with youth sport coaches from the Toronto area.

This year’s CFC Prospect Game takes place at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa on May 31 and will feature CFL on TSN panelists Davis Sanchez and Milt Stegall who will act as guest head coaches for the game that will pit the country’s future footballs stars against each other.

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