Varsity Blues stock up on defense with 2 commits

The University of Toronto attracts two defensive lineman.

It appears that the Varsity Blues like the name “Brandon,” having added two new commits, Brandon Vanneste, a defensive lineman from the London Jr. Mustangs (Ontario Varsity Football League) and Brandon Maki, a defensive end from Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, to their 2017 class.

Brandon Vanneste

Brandon Vanneste in his London Jr. Mustang uniform. Courtesy of Brandon Vanneste.

Brandon Vanneste in his London Jr. Mustang uniform. Courtesy of Brandon Vanneste.

Vanneste will be attending a university whose population is 17 times the size of his current town. His hometown is the small community of Exeter, Ontario, which is north of London. Going from a town of about 5,000 people to a city of 2.6 million may be a little bit of a shock to the young lineman.

But, James J. Moore, the recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach for the Varsity Blues, may disagree. “Brandon is an intelligent and thoughtful young man. His aggressive play, combined with his significant physical upside, made him an attractive recruit,” Moore said of the 6’4, 255lbs commit.

Vanneste, who has been playing for six years, chose to commit to the Varsity Blues because of the opportunities they afford their student athletes. “The combination of the school having Kinesiology as its own faculty and the opportunities I may have as a player have me really excited,” he said.

“I also see Toronto as an up-and-coming program and I want to play a part in turning it into something great,” he added.

Vanneste isn’t the only person who wants to turn the Varsity Blues into something special, however. “The coaching staff is great. Everyone there is qualified and knows their stuff, but they’re all still personable. Most importantly though, it’s easy to tell that they have a desire to win and to develop the players under them,” he said.

The young football player has a history of becoming better. In 2012, he was named the Most Improved Player and in 2013, he was the offensive line and defensive line MVP with the Jr. Mustangs. Vanneste said, “I’m blessed to have the opportunities that I do and definitely would not be where I am today without my family.”

Brandon Maki

Brandon Maki (#40) tracks down the quarterback. Courtesy of Brandon Maki.

Brandon Maki (#40) tracks down the quarterback. Courtesy of Brandon Maki.

Maki, on the other hand, is coming from Sudbury, Ontario, whose population is almost 160,000. Like Vanneste, he is excited for the future of the Varsity Blues. “I absolutely love the direction they’re heading in. They’re a young team and committed to building through recruiting, working towards a bright future, and that’s something I can’t wait to contribute to and be a part of,” he said.

Maki was also thoroughly impressed with the coaching staff, who he said, were a pleasure to deal with. “Not only have they been extremely accommodating and helpful, but their philosophy really sold me. They want to build from the ground up and forge a team that’s going to be a powerhouse. Their goal is to be at the top of the league and I’m definitely on board with that,” he said.

The young football player, who is 6’3, 205lbs, said that he plans on gaining weight for his position. He will be going into English for his post-secondary education. He added that, “The campus is amazing. It’s gorgeous and makes for a great place to live and study. The facilities are amazing too. I can’t really say enough about the university.”

When he joins the team in 2017, he will be looking to add to his five-year career that has seen him play with the Lo-Ellen Knights (Sudbury District Secondary School Athletic Association) and the Sudbury Gladiators (Ontario Football Conference). In 2013, he was named Gladiator of the Year. In the same year and in 2014, he was a city champion with the Knights. In 2015, he was an SDSSAA all-star and Lo-Ellen Park Lineman of the Year. In 2016, he was the OFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 10) and a Ramsay Conference champion with the Gladiators.

Maki will be looking to add to his accolades with the Varsity Blues. He said, “I’m absolutely ecstatic to join UofT. I’m ready to get to work and be the best player I can be. I couldn’t be happier.”


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