UBC now home to Westdale Warrior and a South Delta Sun Devil

UBC brings in an out-of-province and a local commit to their team.

This story about the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds newest commits is one about distance. In the case of Elliot Graham, a linebacker from Westdale Secondary School, he will be travelling quite a distance to reach his new home. And then there is David Edwards, an offensive lineman from South Delta Secondary School, who won’t have very far to go.

Elliot Graham

Elliot Graham makes the tackle. Courtesy of Elliot Graham.

Hamilton, Ontario, the hometown of Elliot Graham, is nestled on Lake Ontario. Tall smoke stacks line the shores of Burlington Bay and the only “mountain” is the escarpment plateau known as Hamilton Mountain. It’s vastly different than Vancouver, British Columbia, and UBC’s place on the Pacific coast.

To pack up and move to reach one of the furthest, western points in Canada, UBC had to offer Graham quite a lot. “I really like that there is a motive to create a strong football culture at UBC and become one of the greatest teams in the nation. I have the chance to be a part of rebuilding and creating a new legacy,” he said.

“As a football player, it gives me the best chance to succeed and develop to reach my full potential under the great coaching staff and one of the best head coaches in the country,” Graham added. “With Head Coach Blake Nill, we also clicked. He has a reputation of coming to football programs and turning them around to lead them to greatness, something that is evident in his track record.”

But, Nill isn’t a one-man show and he is backed by a staff that Graham described as “phenomenal.” He said, “They made me feel welcome and we clicked easily. They look for the best talent in the country and players who wants to work hard and compete. They truly want the best for their players. I think the football team is looking very strong moving into the future and there is a great opportunity to win a Vanier Cup.”

On the academic side of things, the potential commerce student is ready to study in what he calls one of the top schools in the country. “(It has) the most beautiful campus, located right next to the city of Vancouver. I feel there is a lot of opportunity. It also gave me the strongest chance of being accepted into a top business program, which is important for my future,” he said.

While moving away from home, especially this far away, can be a daunting endeavour, Graham is looking forward the opportunity. “It also gives me the chance to move far out and gain important life skills such as independence. I can get a fresh start,” he said.

Graham, who is 6’3, 225lbs and also plays on the defensive line, has played the sport for five years. The Westdale Warrior (Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board) is quite decorated. In 2012 and 2013, he won two junior city championships. In 2015, he won not only a senior city championship, but a SOSSA championship and an OFSAA Bowl.

Graham said, who was named defensive MVP that year and in 2016, said the OFSSA win “was the first in our school’s history, which was very excited and rewarding experience that we all worked very hard for.”

David Edwards

Courtesy of David Edwards.

Unlike Graham, David Edwards will have a shorter distance to travel to reach UBC. He is originally from Tsawwassen, Delta, British Columbia, which is a little south of Vancouver. “My mother and grandma were a big part in me staying home,” he said.

“Coach Nill is a good head coach and he has a good win percentage. I haven’t met all the coaches, but the ones that I have met, I am confident they can help be get to the best I can be,” he said, adding that he is going into the arts.

Edwards has played with the White Rock Titans (Vancouver Mainland Football League), South Delta Rams (BC Community Football Associaiton) and South Delta Sun Devils (BC Secondary Schools Football Association) in high school. He is 6’6, 300lbs and has won a provincial championship in 2014.

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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