U of T commits want to help better team

Toronto welcomes three Ontario commits to their 2018 class.

Defensive lineman Andrew Copeland from St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School and linebacker Eddie de la Garza from Blessed Trinity Secondary School dream of a successful University of Toronto Varsity Blues team, something of which they hope to help the team achieve.

Isaac McAlonan, a wide receiver from Blessed Trinity Secondary School, will also be joining the Varsity Blues.

Andrew Copeland

During his time with the Varsity Blues, Andrew Copeland hopes to make a bit of history. “What made me choose U of T was the chance to start something special. The opportunity to help reignite the fire in Toronto alongside the rest of the current and future Varsity Blues is an aspect that excites me,” Copeland said.

Courtesy of Andrew Copeland.

After the Varsity Blues coaches welcomed him with open arms, Copeland said his decision was made clear. “The coaching staff is one of the most qualified staffs in the league. With the addition of Head Coach Greg Marshall, it shows how dedicated U of T and its staff are to building a winning, successful program in the near future,” Copeland said.

“Another great point about the coaching staff at U of T is the sense of family. They communicate well from what I saw, and they are close with the players,” he added. “They would rather work with you than over you, which really appealed to me as it’s how my high school team operated as well.”

The 6’2, 250lbs defensive tackle is interested in taking architectural studies.

Copeland will be heading down the QEW highway on route to Toronto from his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. He spent five seasons with the St. Thomas More Knights (HWCSSA) and one season with the Hamilton Hurricanes (OFC). In 2015, he was a member of Team West at the Fox 40 Prospect Challenge. He has won four city championships, two as a junior and two as a senior. He also helped the Knights win three back-to-back OFSAA Bowls in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Last season, he won a defensive line award.

“I’m excited to get to work and I am grateful for this opportunity,” Copeland said, “and I plan on taking full advantage of this honour to play for the U of T Varsity Blues.”

Eddie de la Garza

Ready to be swooned by the big city, Eddie de la Garza couldn’t think of a better place to be than in the heart of Ontario’s capital. “I chose to commit to the University of Toronto because of how recognized it is around the world. I love the campus and where the campus is located right in Toronto. The distance from home is also great. It’s only an hour away. Being a family guy, that is important to me,” he said.

Courtesy of Eddie de la Garza.

“I like the direction that they’re going with the program and the great stuff all the coaches are doing with the program and I want to be apart of that,” he added. “All the coaching staff is great, and they were a huge factor in my decision.”

When de la Garza communicated with the staff, he said they were approachable, which was important to him. “They all want you to be the best player you can be on the field and they’ll push you to be able to play at your highest level. Besides the field stuff, they do care about the off-field stuff as well and they want to see you become not just a great player but a great person,” he added.

Hailing from Grimsby, Ontario, de la Garza has played for his fair share of teams in his 11-year career. Starting at the tender age of seven, he has played for the Halton Cowboys, the Smithville Falcons (NRFA), Niagara Generals (OFL) and the Niagara Spears (OPFL). In high school, he was a member of the Blessed Trinity Thunder (NCAA).

The 6’1, 195lbs outside linebacker was the 2014 defensive MVP for the Spears and Thunder. In 2015, he was the Thunder’s team MVP and won a SOSA championship. The following two years, he was a Niagara region all-star. de la Garza, who is interested in Rotman commerce, will be heading to Toronto with his close friend, Isaac McAlonan.

Isaac McAlonan

Isaac McAlonan, who is also from Grimsby, Ontario, played with the Thunder in high school as a running back, receiver and kick returner. The 6’0, 165lbs athlete has played with the Hamilton Ironmen and the Niagara Spears. In grade 11, he participated in the Fox 40 Prospect Challenge where he was named as the game’s offensive MVP.

He told BPSN that he chose the Varsity Blues because of the great education the school provides, which will help him pursue his goals of becoming a lawyer. On the football front, he said the school has great coaches who will help him develop.

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