Quinn van Gylswyk (right) prepares to kick a football at Thunderbird Stadium on Wednesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
Two University of British Columbia Thunderbirds football players are hoping to take their careers to the next level this year and start playing with the pros.
Kicker Quinn van Gylswyk and linebacker Terrell Davis were put through their paces by scouts from the Canadian Football League and National Football League teams on Wednesday.
"I was, yeah, I was sweating buckets. They had me running around quite a bit," said Davis, who grew up in Victoria.
"You know what? It is pretty nerve racking having NFL teams and CFL teams just staring at you, taking notes. You don't know what they're writing down or anything," he said. "But, you know, on a day like this, you just have to do your best to tune it all out, you know, just focus on what you're doing and come out here and do your best."
Linebacker Terrell Davis (left) speaks with B.C. Lions scout and retired slotback Geroy Simon. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
"It was good. I could have done a little bit better, but it is what it is," said van Gylswyk.
"I kind of just blocked it all out," he said. "They're going to say what they're going to say."
Retired B.C. Lions slotback Geroy Simon was at Thunderbird Stadium scouting for the Lions. He said he watched video of every game the Thunderbirds played this year and saw a couple of games in person.
He said Wednesday's drills, with the glare of the pro scouts, is part of the process of making the pros.
"These guys are under pressure, but that's being a professional. You know, we want to put these guys under pressure. We want them to be stressed out. We want to see how they'll perform under that stress," he said.
Kicker Quinn van Gylswyk (right) speaks with someone from the UBC Thunderbirds football team during a professional scouting event at Thunderbird Stadium on Wednesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
Vince Magri was checking out the two players for the Toronto Argonauts. He agreed that stress is intentionally a big part of the drills.
"It's going to be worse than this. If you can't handle this, then you might have trouble in front of 80,000 people," he said.
While everyone seemed optimistic about Davis and van Gylswyk's prospects, Magri and Simon were realistic about how tough it is to become a professional player.
"We probably track about 150 to 200 players every year, and in reality 63 get drafted," said Magri.
"Everybody can't be a professional, but these guys show that they have ability. Now it's just a matter of being in the right situation," said Simon. "You know, you can have all the ability in the world, but you got to be in the right situation. You've got to be with the right team and the right system to be a professional."
Scouts from the B.C. Lions, Toronto Argonauts, Seattle Seahawks, and another for the entire NFL were at UBC to check out two of the Thunderbirds' top players on Wednesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
Both young players seemed to cope with the stress reasonably well, and each appears to be anticipating a football career.
"The odds aren't in everyone's favour. You know, you've got to be the best of the best to land a team spot," said Davis. "But you know, with the interest I've been getting and the interest Quinn's been getting, I think we'll have a legitimate shot at making a team."
The NFL draft takes place at the end of April, while the CFL's draft happens in May.
That's when van Gylswyk and Davis will learn if their professional football dreams will become a reality.
UBC Thunderbirds kicker Quinn van Gylswyk seems optimistic about his chances of becoming a professional football player this year. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)