VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds football program has secured a big part of its future with the commitment of quarterback Garrett Rooker who will join the blue and gold this fall.
The 6-foot-3 pivot from League City, Texas heads north with a tremendous list of accomplishments to his name including two 6A District Championships with Clear Springs High School where he also set the all-time program record with 65 touchdown passes while finishing his varsity career with 5,540 yards.
A three-year starter at quarterback with Clear Springs, Rooker was named first team All-District as both a QB and a punter.
What makes Rooker such a remarkable athlete is his excellence not only on the football field but on the basketball court as well where he also earned first team All-District status. As such, the gifted young man will also be taking his talents to the Thunderbirds men's basketball team as a dual sport athlete.
"What most appeals to me about UBC is the opportunity to continue playing both sports at a high level while also being at a school that is known for its great academics," said the 18 year-old phenom. "Academics have always been a top priority in my family and something that was very important to me when evaluating college options. What also attracted me to UBC was the great coaches and their strong desire to win championships. I hope to be able to contribute immediately and help both teams win a lot of games over the coming years."
"I believe he will come in and compete right away," agreed UBC football head coach Blake Nill who is thrilled to land this high calibre recruit. "We are very young at that position already and when you look at the level of competition he's played at and the size of school he's played at, this kid's going to be able to respond to what we ask of him at the U SPORTS level."
There's no doubt competing as a two-sport post-secondary athlete is a challenge, especially when you add in relocating to a different country. But Rooker and his future head coaches all agree he's not only going to embrace that challenge, but excel.
Garrett is a very gifted two sport athlete, his experience at playing at the 6A level is invaluable and prepares him well," said UBC basketball head coach Kevin Hanson who was immediately impressed when seeing Rooker's game footage. "He is a big wing that loves to attack the rim and dunk on people and he also has a nice outside jumper. When he arrives at UBC his initial focus will be on football and we will hopefully transition him to basketball as the season progresses."
"You can see his athleticism is exceptional, he has incredible throwing accuracy," explained Nill. "A lot of people have compared him to Michael (O'Connor) a little bit, but you have to remember he's two years younger than Michael was when we first saw film of him. So I think he has a very high upside and when you combine that with his academic pursuits, he's just the right kind of athlete that our program needs."
"What truly motivates me to continue to play both sports at a high level is my love for each game along with my highly competitive nature," said Rooker who averaged 15.9 points per game in his senior year of basketball at Clear Springs High where he also set a single game program record with nine three pointers. "Both sports have provided me with amazing and unique experiences and I love the different challenges associated with each sport. I really love to compete at all times whether it's basketball, football, baseball, ping pong, card games, grades, or just about anything else."
Rooker's success in the classroom speaks volumes about his character and drive, aspects that especially impressed both UBC coaches.
"When you look at his academic record, his basketball record, and his football record, it bodes well for his time management skills and his dedication to the priorities in his life," added Nill. "He just goes out and flat out competes. He is competing full speed, making the kind of plays that make coaches say 'wow'. We couldn't be happier about him making the decision to come up here to not only impact football but basketball as well."