Vanier Cup champs thrilled to land Sun Devils standout

South Delta Sun Devils' Ryan von Ende has officially committed to the defending Vanier Cup champions.

The standout Grade 12 offensive lineman signed his Letter of Intent last week, keeping the next chapter of his football career close to home, much to the delight of UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill.

He considers von Ende as one of his top recruits and welcomed him, along with Jagroop Sandhu of Vancouver College, to the new UBC Football Academic Centre, to sign with the program among family members.

Von Ende was initially weighing offers from around the country.

"The signing of von Ende and Sandhu is very big for UBC. It's important we are able to protect our backyard in terms of recruiting," said Nill. "Having two young national prominent student athletes stay at home says a lot about the future of UBC football and the direction of which its travelling."

UBC enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in Nill's first season at the helm, culminating with the school winning the national championship for the first time since 1997. The Thunderbirds went 2-6 a year earlier and missed the playoffs.

Von Ende, who was named to the All Provincial Team, will be re-united with receiver Bryce Connors who red-shirted last season. Both were members of the Sun Devils 2014 provincial championship team. Earlier, receiver Michael Mann committed to UBC where he will get a chance to play alongside his older brother David.

Another prominent member of the 2014 SDSS team is taking his career to Burnaby Mountain. Receiver Thomas Franklin was among 27 players to commit to the SFU Clansmen during the NCAA National Signing Day. The Ladner native had over 500 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his Grade 12 year at South Delta. The 6-foot-4 standout was clutch in the team's memorable playoff run, with a key third quarter touchdown in the semi-final win over Terry Fox. He also hauled in the opening major in the championship game against Mt Doug.

Photo: Delta Optimist

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