UBC Thunderbirds ‘primed to compete’ for Vanier Cup

UBC adds a CJFLer and an international commit to their team.

Defensive lineman Tom Schnitzler from the Saskatoon Hilltops (CJFL) and linebacker Andrew Duerner from Liberty High School careers have been starkly different, but that won’t mean a whole lot when they join the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

Tom Schnitzler

Tom Schnitzler has a taste for winning and he isn’t ready to give that up anytime soon. “UBC is primed to compete for a national championship. I’ve won four national championships in a row with the Saskatoon Hilltops and would like to keep it going to the next level,” he said.

By Louis Christ.

“I’m very impressed with UBC’s coaching staff. I think that they have one of the best, if not the best, coaching staffs in U Sports. Head Coach Nill has a very impressive resume,” he added.

Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Schnitzler was on the Saskatchewan Riders practice roster for five weeks as a linebacker, defensive end and long snapper. He said that there is an opportunity for him to be an impact player on the Thunderbirds’ defense and special teams. “Hopefully (it is) something that can help me get to the pros one day,” he added.

Currently residing in his hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Schnitzler is a student at the University of Saskatchewan. “Education does not transfer out-of-province, so I will be taking kinesiology courses at UBC,” the education student said. “I hope to eventually complete both education and kinesiology degrees back in Saskatchewan when I’m done football.”

While the 6’5, 240lbs defensive end and linebacker is used to prairie life, he said that the idea of living in BC was appealing, and that Vancouver is a beautiful city and the campus is great.

Schnitzler spent two years with his high school team, the Bishop James Mahoney Saints (Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate), where he was a two-time provincial champion. In 2012, he was the Saints’ defensive player of the year. In 2014 and 2015, he was an overage player on the under-19 edition of Team Canada.

With the Hilltops, he was a league all-star this past season and was named as the team’s most inspirational player. In 2016 and 2017, he was a team captain.

Andrew Duerner

Andrew Duerner will be coming to BC from Bakersfield, California, where he played with the Liberty High School Patriots. He is a towering 6’5, 300lbs.

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