UBC football standouts Terrell Davis, Quinn van Gylswyk strut their stuff for CFL, NFL scouts

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    UBC Thunderbirds kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk kicks the game-winning field goal against the Montreal Carabins during the second half of the Vanier Cup final on Nov. 28, 2015 in Quebec City.

    By: Cam Tucker Metro Published on Wed Mar 30 2016

    When it comes to football, you can say Quinn van Gylswyk got a late start.

    It wasn’t until he was 18 years old, after he graduated from Spectrum Community School near Saanich, B.C., that he says he began playing the sport.

    Yet under the spring sun on a gorgeous Wednesday morning in Vancouver, van Gylswyk and teammate Terrell Davis had their ‘Pro Day’ – a work out session in front of scouts from the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and B.C. Lions, and NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders – at Thunderbird Stadium at the UBC campus.

    Van Gylswyk, from Victoria, grew up playing soccer, but he credits his father with suggesting he play football after seeing the power he possessed in his kicking leg. The pressure that comes with the kicker position is something he says he thrives on.

    Does he allow himself to think about what life would be like if he didn’t get into football?

    “I’m not looking back to see what if I didn’t do this. I’m glad I took the chance,” said van Gylswyk, who played junior football for the Westshore Rebels before making the move to the UBC Thunderbirds in CIS.

    In the 2015 CIS championship game, van Gylswyk not only punted for an average of 41.2 yards (his season average was 43.3, which was seven yards more than the average of his opponents), but he was perfect on four field goal attempts, including the winner with no time remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter, giving UBC its first national title since 1997.

    “The feeling after I kicked that was … the best day of my life,” he said.

    After going 40 for 49 on field goal attempts this year, good for 81.6 per cent and his longest from 47 yards, van Gylswyk’s big boot has grabbed the attention of professional scouts, too.

    “He’s big for a kicker and punter,” said Geroy Simon, who is the Lions director of CIS scouting.

    “He’s got a big leg. The thing is coming out here, it’s a little bit different than the (CFL) combine. We’re kicking in the bubble at the combine so he couldn’t get the height and a lot of the distance on his kicks, so it’s good to come out here and see him in person. It just confirms some of the things we saw during the season.”

    Like most young players transitioning from college to pros, getting the most out of those raw skills on a consistent basis will be the key for van Gylswyk, said Simon.

    “He’s got the leg to kick as a pro.”

    Scouts also got a look at linebacker Terrell Davis, a graduate from Mt. Douglas Secondary in Victoria who also attended Arizona State University.

    Davis was originally a running back, but converted to another physically demanding position in linebacker on the defensive side of the ball, where he flourished with 63 individual tackles, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions this past season.

    “To be a running back, you’ve got to be pretty athletic and so the transition over to linebacker wasn’t too hard. It’s just learning the schemes and different techniques at the linebacker position that was difficult at the start,” said Davis.

    “Honestly, I just like hitting people on defence. It’s a lot easier giving the hits than taking the hits. You last a little bit longer in the league that way.”

    That versatility in his game could help his draft status, especially because those athletic abilities for the running back and linebacker positions could be used in special teams, as well, said Simon.

    “The saying in pro football is the more you can do keeps you on the team,” said Simon.

UBC Thunderbirds kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk kicks the game-winning field goal against the Montreal Carabins during the second half of the Vanier Cup final on Nov. 28, 2015 in Quebec City.

By: Cam Tucker Metro Published on Wed Mar 30 2016

When it comes to football, you can say Quinn van Gylswyk got a late start.

It wasn’t until he was 18 years old, after he graduated from Spectrum Community School near Saanich, B.C., that he says he began playing the sport.

Yet under the spring sun on a gorgeous Wednesday morning in Vancouver, van Gylswyk and teammate Terrell Davis had their ‘Pro Day’ – a work out session in front of scouts from the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and B.C. Lions, and NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders – at Thunderbird Stadium at the UBC campus.

Van Gylswyk, from Victoria, grew up playing soccer, but he credits his father with suggesting he play football after seeing the power he possessed in his kicking leg. The pressure that comes with the kicker position is something he says he thrives on.

Does he allow himself to think about what life would be like if he didn’t get into football?

“I’m not looking back to see what if I didn’t do this. I’m glad I took the chance,” said van Gylswyk, who played junior football for the Westshore Rebels before making the move to the UBC Thunderbirds in CIS.

In the 2015 CIS championship game, van Gylswyk not only punted for an average of 41.2 yards (his season average was 43.3, which was seven yards more than the average of his opponents), but he was perfect on four field goal attempts, including the winner with no time remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter, giving UBC its first national title since 1997.

“The feeling after I kicked that was … the best day of my life,” he said.

After going 40 for 49 on field goal attempts this year, good for 81.6 per cent and his longest from 47 yards, van Gylswyk’s big boot has grabbed the attention of professional scouts, too.

“He’s big for a kicker and punter,” said Geroy Simon, who is the Lions director of CIS scouting.

“He’s got a big leg. The thing is coming out here, it’s a little bit different than the (CFL) combine. We’re kicking in the bubble at the combine so he couldn’t get the height and a lot of the distance on his kicks, so it’s good to come out here and see him in person. It just confirms some of the things we saw during the season.”

Like most young players transitioning from college to pros, getting the most out of those raw skills on a consistent basis will be the key for van Gylswyk, said Simon.

“He’s got the leg to kick as a pro.”

Scouts also got a look at linebacker Terrell Davis, a graduate from Mt. Douglas Secondary in Victoria who also attended Arizona State University.

Davis was originally a running back, but converted to another physically demanding position in linebacker on the defensive side of the ball, where he flourished with 63 individual tackles, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions this past season.

“To be a running back, you’ve got to be pretty athletic and so the transition over to linebacker wasn’t too hard. It’s just learning the schemes and different techniques at the linebacker position that was difficult at the start,” said Davis.

“Honestly, I just like hitting people on defence. It’s a lot easier giving the hits than taking the hits. You last a little bit longer in the league that way.”

That versatility in his game could help his draft status, especially because those athletic abilities for the running back and linebacker positions could be used in special teams, as well, said Simon.

“The saying in pro football is the more you can do keeps you on the team,” said Simon.

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