Warriors football player earns football scholarship to University of Toronto

Grande Prairie Composite Warriors left tackle Kieran Copley (#70) shown here in intrasquad action at CKC Field earlier this month. The offensive lineman is heading to the University of Toronto on a football scholarship after signing with the Varsity Blues in September. Gordon Anderson / Daily Herald-Tribune

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Surely, the decision was easy, two differing worlds colliding at the line of scrimmage, fusing as one reality.

Grande Prairie Composite Warriors football player Kieran Copley is heading to the University of Toronto to play U Sports football for the Varsity Blues.

The six-foot-six left tackle committed to the Ontario school during the second week of September. The Grade 12 student will be heading east next summer.

“I remember, right around when school started (in September), I opened a letter I had wrote in Grade 10 and part of the letter was my goal to attend U of T,” Copley said.

“So, really, it was an ideal situation. And after playing football, clicking with their coaches, they offered me a scholarship. After a couple of days of talking with family and my coach Travis Miller, I really didn’t need to hear any more. I was more than happy in making my decision, going somewhere I wanted to go for academics before I even started playing football.”

Copley plans on getting a four-year degree in Commerce before heading to law school.

With this unique opportunity, the 17-year-old split the uprights dead centre with a booming kick from 55-yards out, hitting the B gap with a bruising run to the left.

“It’s a rare opportunity,” Copley admitted. “I feel thankful. Not everyone gets to be as fortunate as I am.”

First timer

The #70 in the orange and black silks started his high school football journey in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling fall football this season. As a rookie, the 280 lbs. teenager started out at the tight-end position before switching to left tackle.

Prior to football he was on the Comp basketball squad, picking up hoops after moving from Fort St. John when he was 13-years old. Growing up he was also a hockey goalie.

Miller knows Copley is an outlier, an athlete who’s closer to 300 lbs. than 250 lbs. but light on his pins with excellent lateral skills. At the left tackle position, his movement skills will be put to good use protecting the quarterback’s blind spot.

And best of all, Copley has got so much to learn having played the position for less than one full season. His potential is untapped, the sky is the limit.

“(Copley is a) super athletic basketball player that, when I looked at him, all I could see was a prototypical offensive lineman in Canadian football,” Miller said. “You can’t coach size and speed. He has the ability to move quickly, has quick feet, and his size allows him to dominate when he gets into the right position.”

“I’ve always been a confident person, confident in my abilities in any sport I approach,” Copley added, noting athletic abilities such as agility, movement and flexibility are some transferable skills between basketball and football.

The switch

Copley admitted a couple of his friends—former Comp running back Tristen Peddle and current receiver Jaxon Linn—were in his ear about joining the squad in 2019. Copley went out to spring camp in May and decided to make the switch before summer workouts in August.

“I was on the fence, I was never against it. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure I wanted to because my heart was set on basketball,” Copley said.

“I thought this as a good way to stay in shape for basketball season, that was my original mentality. It wasn’t until I got out there, being in practice, being with teammates and friends, just enjoying the everyday grind of it, I fell in love with it. I’ve been sold ever since.”

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