Spain: Las Rozas Black Demons sign Canada’s top player, QB Chris Merchant

Canada’s top player in 2019, winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy, quarterback Chris Merchant, has signed to play for the Las Rozas Black Demons, one of the top teams in Spain’s premier division.

Merchant, a 6’3″, 210 pound native of Calgary, Alberta had originally signed to play for the Wasa Royals in Finland’s Maple League, but the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that.

The Black Demons had a 5-0 record in the Spanish South Conference when the pandemic halted the season. The 2021 season in Spain has not been announced but generally the season runs from January to May.

Merchant had an outstanding college career in Canada. In 2017, he helped the Western Mustangs capture the Vanier Cup, Canada’s college championship, ending Western’s 23-year championship drought. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after recording 276 passing yards, 89 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Laval’s vaunted defense.

Western returned to the Vanier Cup under Merchant’s leadership in 2018, but lost to the Rouge et Or by a score of 34-20. The quarterback set new career-highs in passing yardage (3,279) and touchdowns (23) in what would be his best statistical USports season. He capped his career at Western by winning the Hec Crighton Trophy, given annually to the top player in USports football.

He had originally been recruited to play football out of a boarding school in Aurora, Canada, St. Andrews, by the University of Buffalo on a full-ride but after two years and a tight battle with Tyree Jackson for the starting spot, he realized to further his career, Canada and Western would be a better bet. He proved it by leading the Mustangs to the Vanier Cup title in 2017. And he may well have repeated the feat last year in 2019 had it not been for an injury.

Merchant was definitely happy about getting the opportunity to play with the Black Demons:

“After not having the chance to go over Finland this is a huge blessing and a great opportunity. I just want to go over there and do whatever I can to help put my team in the best position to win. On top of that I’ll be in one of the most beautiful and well cultured places in the world and I can’t wait to immerse myself in that experience. At the end of the day I just want to bring my love for the game of football to new places and this is a great opportunity to do that!”

Check out highlights from his senior season.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.