After five years of hard work, both on and off the field, three Lord Tweedsmuir football players signed with universities last Tuesday (June 19), committing to competitive athletic and academic programs both near and far.
Griffin O’Connor, Derek Best and Micheal Hampton inked their names in a signing ceremony, and will be headed to Simon Fraser University, University of Western Ontario, and McMaster University in the fall.
“We’re super proud of their accomplishments as student athletes,” said Lou DesLauriers, co-head coach of the Lord Tweedsmuir football team. “They’ve all picked prestigious athletic universities, but also academic universities. It’s another step in their journey toward their growth and development as people, and I think that that’s as much as anything what we’re proud of.”
DesLauriers describes all three of the players as provincial all-star calibre.
Griffin O’Connor, who plays on the defensive line, has signed with Simon Fraser University, where he plans to major in criminology.
“I like the work ethic they have,” he said. “And I’m excited to get started.”
According to DesLauriers, Griffin is a natural on defensive line and “a terrific teammate” who did whatever was best for the team, even if that meant playing outside of his ideal position.
“He’s a very hard worker,” said DesLauriers.”Through hard work, he’s reached some of his goals to date, but he has lots of things to accomplish going forward. SFU is another great school, so he’s going to get a great education and compete in the NCAA, which is a great opportunity.”
When asked why he picked University of Western Ontario, Derek Best simply said, “They’re the best in Canada.”
(His teammates, who sat beside him during his interview with the Reporter, disagreed good-naturedly.)
“They’re the number one rushing school in Canada every year,” he said. “And I’m a running back, so that’s a big thing.”
Derek was Grade 11 player of the year, and a provincial all-star at running back in 2018. He plans to study political science.
“I love their whole team and their coaching staff. They seem like they really take care of each other out there.”
Michael Hampton chose McMaster University for “their commitment to excellence.”
DesLauriers described Micheal as a “real hard worker who’s conscientious about being the best he can.” So, it comes as no surprise when Micheal said he is looking forward to the chance to better his football and his education.
He loved the Ontario campus when he visited in January. The university is known for its kinesiology, and has “a lot of good sports facilities.”
Micheal, who plays on the offensive line, plans to study social science.
DesLauriers is proud of his players, and says he expects others to sign with universities soon.
“It’s just a group of kids that have had a lot of success, and commitment, from Grade 8 on. And I think that’s important, too. They’ve stuck with it. Because football is not necessarily a comfortable sport. We do a lot of training outside of football season, and those kids have always been committed.”
The signing ceremony is “a culmination — by no means an end point — but a culmination of their five years (at Lord Tweedsmuir),” he said.