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St. Andrew’s linebacker not content to let grass grow under his feet

June 18, 2020   ·   0 Comments

It was the end of February. Andrew Scott was on tour of the University of Toronto campus. It’s what he wants. A prestigious university encamped beneath the bright lights of the big city. He never wanted to move away to school in a small town. This was it.

At the end of the tour on the very same day, the 6’1 linebacker from St. Andrew’s College rolled the ball point pen on the contract. He finalized his scholarship without hesitation.

“When I was given the opportunity to play there, I immediately signed there that night. I am super excited to be there,” Scott professed.

Playing football, pushing for a major in Philosophy and a potential pro career in sights is everything he could ever ask for.

But, of course, he could not have foreseen the events that were about to unfold. The province shut down in March and schools immediately transferred all of their classes online right through to the end of the year.

“Once I heard that, I thought ‘Oh, God, sports are in jeopardy right till January until the kids are back on campus,” said head coach of the St. Andrew’s football program Marcello Lio.

Last week, USports cancelled all Fall sports in 2020 due to COVID-19. So, now what? What does that mean for athletes trying to prove their worth to universities and colleges and what does that mean for the players that are there?

That could mean double the recruitment in one year and players have to be ready to play better than they ever have in their lives.

Scott, an Aurora native, is no stranger to an obstacle.

In his first game of the season last year with the Saints, he suffered an injury that kept him out until the final. Still, being one of the captains on the team, he attended practices and games with a sling on his arm.

Head coach Lio saw that in him. He said Scott is a silent leader, choosing to lead by his examples and motivated the team to believe in the program and the playbook.

Since Lio took over the football program at the beginning of the year, Scott knew this was going to be a test no matter what.

Growing up, Scott wasn’t a huge football fan, even though it may have been in his blood the whole time. His grandfather, Donald Clayton Scott, played for the Toronto Argonauts from 1949 to 1951. He won the Grey Cup with the Argos in the infamous “Mud Bowl” game in 1950.

Scott has been to a few Argos games, but when he hit Grade Nine, it was time to give football a true chance. He began as a linebacker and when he got into Grade 10 and moved to defensive lineman, he became a Houston Texans fan, which, at the time, had arguably two of the best defensive ends in the League in J.J Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

He would watch the sport in the common room while boarding at St. Andrew’s with his friends. The NFL was broadcasted more than the CFL, so when Sunday rolled around it was a given what the boys were going to watch all day.

When he began Grade 11, Scott felt out of place as a lineman and moved back to linebacker. He felt he wouldn’t suit that position on the line any further and developed his game as a linebacker, fully focusing on fundamentals.

“I think I had to work pretty hard for my fundamentals, but I was also lucky on my coaching in Grade Nine when I first started playing, was very focused on linebacker fundamentals and getting your read and reaction times up.”

Further developing into his position, Scott loves what he brings to a team defence.

“I like to focus on bringing an amount of reliability and grit to my game. My favourite way to play the game is in the trenches. I want to sit in the middle of the field, play my gaps and hit running backs.”

Now, Scott is living in the moment. A pro career would be nice, but he knows focusing on improving his game and exceeding his own expectations is the most important.

He currently attends coach Lio’s social distancing work-outs while following his own schedule set by Strength and Conditioning coaches Alex Malone, Ryan Smith and Gabriel Mendonca at U of T.

Head coach Lio says Scott has what it takes to make it pro. He just needs to work on one thing.

“I think he has every facet anybody is going to look for by the time he gets to his draft year. But I think, primarily, would be the athleticism. So, that speed factor with his feet, if he can get it to that elite level, because, he’s got the size, he’s got a great frame to build for his size.”

In a team meeting last Thursday, the coaches sat down with the rookies virtually and discussed residence and enrolment. The plan is to continue training and lifting weights to prepare for the 2021 season.

It’s the only way. If football returned in the spring, not only would there be a limited amount of space for it, but a strenuous season with little recovery time and preparation for the next year is too much to embrace in this sport.

Right now, Scott knows what it takes to be patient and once the season rolls around in 2021, he’ll be more than ready to step out on to the gridiron.

By Robert Belardi



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