Brampton commit staying in GTA, joins Varsity Blues

The young football player signed his letter of intent with Toronto.

When Naol Denko, a defensive back from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, steps out onto the field next season with the Varsity Blues, he will be playing for something greater than just himself.

In 2010, his father, Mieso K. Denko, passed away from liver cancer. He was a professor at the University of Guelph who was described as a great person. “He played a prominent role in our family and my life. Ever since his death, I took the role as the man of house, so I had to work harder for my family,” Denko said.

“This work ethic eventually translated to the football field, and I continually remind myself everyday why I work hard. I play with a chip on my shoulder, and that made me the football player I am today,” he added.

Originally from Durban, South Africa, Denko and his mother and two sisters now live in Brampton, Ontario. He started playing tackle football in grade nine and has since played four years with the Notre Dame Knights (Region of Peel Secondary School Athletics Association) and one season with the junior varsity Guelph Jr. Gryphons (Ontario Football Association). In 2015, he won a Tier 2 ROPSSAA championship and an OFC provincial championship.

The 5’11, 180lbs player chose the University of Toronto because of their world-class academics and the facilities available to their students athletes. He said that U of T will provide him with the resources and skills needed to become a well-rounded individual who can succeed in the work force. He is interested in going into the Communications, Culture, Information and Technology program.

“Also, knowing that you are attending one of the top schools in the world and still being close to home is a great feeling. I will also have the ability to go back home to see how my mom and two sisters are doing, ” he added.

Recruitment can be tough, but Denko said Coach Cappiello, the defensive line coach, and Coach Eiben, the defensive coordinator, helped make the recruiting process smoother. He described Coach Eiben, who he has been in contact with since March, as a humble person who is a great role model.

Denko said that Coach Cappiello, who he has talked to since September, “was one of kindest coaches I’ve ever met. He treated both my mom and I with respect. Whenever I needed tickets for a game or had a question to be answered, Coach Cappiello was always there for me. He’s a great guy overall, and I look forward working with him in the future”

Denko has also met with Head Coach Greg Gary during his recruiting process. The young football player said he is well-driven and that he is doing his absolute best to lead the Varsity Blues to their previous dominance in the Ontario University Association.


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