One of the UBC Thunderbirds' prized off-season recruits got a taste of what's in store for the next chapter of his football career come August.
South Delta Sun Devils standout lineman Ryan von Ende participated in the Thunderbirds' week long spring camp where worked out with many key players from the defending Vanier Cup national champions and didn't look out of place.
Von Ende showed his versatility by taking reps on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. He is expected to be a key member of the Thunderbirds' offensive line over the next few years, however, things can change with head coach Blake Nill's open view to competition.
"I really enjoy coach Nill and I really like his philosophy that the best player always starts. It's really nice coming in and knowing that. It's not a political agenda," said von Ende. "I just want to keep getting better as a player and see where that takes me my first year.
"I will play any position they want me to. It gives me a better chance at starting and that's the ultimate thing you want." Von Ende was a major force on both sides of the ball for the Sun Devils, helping the school win its first-ever provincial "AAA" championship in 2014. This past season, he finished second in tackles with 65 while recording a team-leading four quarterback sacks. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 260-pounds, von Ende signed his National Letter of Intent in February after attracting interest from schools across the country.
"I was just asked this a couple of days ago ... who do you think is your most significant recruit? I mentioned von Ende because he is an offensive lineman," said Nill. "This kid is very good. He moves with tremendous skill and has been in the weight room for three years already. He plays the game with a certain level of tenacity and physicality."
The Thunderbirds will open their 2016 schedule with a preseason game at Victoria on Aug. 26 against Manitoba.