Great friends, they took different paths after graduation, but after two seasons at an American prep school, they will see each other again this fall in the uniform of Laval University's Rouge et Or.
Products of the Saint-François Séminaire Blizzard, receiver Mathieu Hébert and defensive end Loïc Thibault confirmed in recent days that they are joining the Rouge et Or.
With a state championship with the McCallie Blue Tornado, a program based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Hébert is making a little guy's dream come true. “When I was attending the Mini-Rouge et Or camp, one day I saw myself in the Laval uniform,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver. It's a childhood dream come true. The opportunity presented itself to me and I took it.”
Hébert also attended the McGill Redbirds and the Université de Montréal Carabins. “The sense of belonging was the decisive factor,” summarized the prospective mechanical engineering student, who prioritized basketball up to the fourth secondary level. I really enjoyed my visit to Montreal and that's why I waited before making my choice. As for McGill, there is no head coach and several assistants are missing. That was an important factor because you want to know who you are going to play for.”
The competition for a new head coach at McGill ends Jan. 24.
After two seasons with the Williston Northampton Wildcats, a prep school in Massachusetts, where he followed in the footsteps of his brothers Xavier and Thomas, Thibault decided to return to Quebec for academic reasons.
Photo courtesy of Williston Northampton
“Initially I wanted to get a Division 1 scholarship from the NCAA, but as it progressed, I wanted to study medicine more and more,” he explained. Xavier studied medicine in the USA at Columbia University and later it was more difficult to study medicine in Quebec. I didn’t want to go through the same problems.”
“Not wanting to give up on the NCAA, I took visits and received three offers, but in the end it was better to return to Quebec to pursue the 6'6, 245 defensive end books. I also visited the Carabins and I could have found my brothers in Montreal, but I chose the Rouge et Or.”
After returning from Colombia, Xavier played one season with the Carabins, but the eldest of the family will focus on his medical studies next year. The same applies to Thomas, who decided to study in Montreal.
Her friend Hébert's decision was also crucial. “It's fun to get together. It's not the most important factor, but it's a plus. When I knew that Mathieu had made his choice, the decision was easier for me.”
Hébert had a great experience in a 34-28 win over arch-rival Baylor Red Raiders in the state finals. “I experienced moments that I will always remember,” he admitted. In front of 18,000 spectators in a stadium that was almost full to capacity, the atmosphere was incredible. It was stressful, but also a lot of fun.”
In Laval, Hébert will meet linebacker Étienne Delisle, who was his teammate at McCallie in 2022 and also wore the Blizzard colors during his school career.
“Étienne, like me, is studying engineering and had nothing but positive things to tell me about Laval and his return to Quebec,” he said. In my first season in the USA I wanted to continue my career in the NCAA, but my second year changed my mind. I was a little bored and wanted to live in Quebec.”
Linebacker Philippe Bouthot, Hébert's teammate and roommate the past two years, also visited Laval, Montreal and McGill, but he hasn't made his choice yet.