Ex-Bulldog named Lancers starting Running Back


By Joel Charron

For three years Mitchell Dender has stood on the sidelines as he watched University of Windsor Lancers running back jog to the huddle for the next play.

Come this season, Dender, 21 will no longer be watching from the sidelines. The University of Windsor football team has named Dender their starting running back for the 2012 season.

“It took a lot of work to even get a chance at the starting position,” said Dender in a recent interview. “It’s not an easy position to get.


Mitchell Dender is getting his crack at being the starting running back for the the University of Windsor Lancers

The former General Amherst football standout admits his journey to the starting job wasn’t an easy one.

Coming out of high school, Dender was recruited by Wilfred Laurier University, Ottawa, Queens and Western University but opted for University of Windsor to stay close to home.

“I wanted to stay here,” said Dender. “I was comfortable here and felt that I could help Windsor in some way.”

Dender also got the opportunity to learn from experienced Lancer running backs Paul Lefavie and Derek Hymers.

“These are top end athletes who are big, fast and strong,” said Dender. “They are the hardest working guys I’ve ever met and when I came in I looked to them as role models.”

For the first three years. Dender played on special teams, earning him special team player of the year in 2010 and 2011.

“That was just a chance to show them that mentally and physically I was ready to play,” explained Dender.

Standing at 5’9” and 185 pounds, Dender is slightly undersized to play running back, however the 21-year-old strongly believes that size doesn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter how big you are, it’s all in your head,” said Dender. “I know what I can do, I know I can go out there and beat guys who are much bigger than me.”

Dender said this season he hopes to leave his mark on the team by being “that guy” teammates can look to for that motivation to push them to play at the next level.

“I want to lead by example,” stated Dender. “I want them to look at me not only as a good football player but also as a good person.”

Dender admits being the starting running back at a university that’s in his back yard is exciting, however the work has just begun.

“I’m really looking forward to putting in the work this summer,” he said. “Spring camp was just a stepping stone.”

Dender has gained a reputation of somewhat of a speedster that makes guys miss on the field. As much as the young running back uses his legs, his mouth gets just as much of a work out.

“Anyone on the team will say my strongest muscle is my mouth,” he joked. “I feel that’s the first step to getting into someone’s head. Then it’s easier to beat them on the field.”

According to Dender being the starting running back is what he strived for, however it’s only the one step towards what he truly desires.

“The goal isn’t to be a starting running back,” said Dender. “The goal is to win a Vanier Cup, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Comments are closed.