Noah Dornn may not be replacing Matt Damon in an upcoming Bourne film, but he will be hoping to catch touchdowns in a Bison uniform.
Dornn, a six-foot-four, 185-pound receiver, comes to the University of Manitoba from the back-to-back Winnipeg High School Football League John Potter AAA Division Champions the St. Paul’s Crusaders.
Last season, Dornn caught 13 balls for 189 yards and two touchdowns – including a touchdown in St. Paul’s 35-0 beatdown of the Dakota Lancers in the final at Investors Group Field, the same field he will take to this fall with Manitoba.
Dornn said some of the reasons he came to Manitoba were the facilities at IGF, the close proximity to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and being able to play at home. Dornn also said Bison head coach Brian Dobie was another reason to join the herd.
“Coach Dobie was a huge factor,” he said. “Just talking to him, he made me feel like a priority, made me feel like I could come in and be a big part of the team and that was huge for me just feeling like I was wanted.”
Dornn’s half-brother – Justus Alleyn – a graduating guard on the Bison men’s basketball team had some influence on Dornn.
“We had talked about it a bit, obviously he’s a pretty big star over there,” he said. “He talked about his experience, he was recruited to go out of province so he told me the reasons why he stayed.”
Dornn does not restrict himself to playing just football. During the off season he plays basketball at St. Paul’s, although Alleyn has the upper hand in that department when they go one-on-one.
“I don’t usually come out on the winning side of that one,” Dornn said with a laugh.
One department Dornn has Alleyn beat is on the football field, and Dornn’s success as a wide receiver came towards the end of his high school career.
“I’ve been a quarterback my entire life and then last year I was in a situation where I was in Grade 11 and the guy ahead of me was really good so they stuck me at receiver,” Dornn said.
“I really enjoyed it. I made some good plays and Grade 12, I just decided I wanted to keep up with it and it turned out really well.”
Dornn said his experience at quarterback helps him understand the routes better as a receiver.
“I think it definitely helps being able to read coverages and know the routes,” he said. “You’re on the other side now, you’re catching the ball, I think it helped me.”
Dornn will hope to continue to develop as a receiver with a Bison team hoping to rebound after two straight years outside the playoff picture.
“I feel really good about the team,” he said. “A bunch of young guys so really we can only get better. The program has such a history of winning, with a couple Vaniers I’m confident we can definitely turn it around.”
Winning the ultimate prize in Canadian university sports, the Vanier Cup, in a Bison uniform would mean a lot to the homegrown Dornn.
“Bringing [a Vanier] back to your hometown, playing for the city that you grew up in is definitely a dream and makes it feel that much better,” he said.