Jordan Yantz had already won pretty much every award in sight, and now he’s added the highest individual honour for a junior football player.
The record-setting V.I. Raiders quarterback received the Wally Buono Award for junior player of the year at a ceremony Sunday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
Buono, general manager of the B.C. Lions, was on hand to present the award in person, and offered words of encouragement to Yantz.
“Why not Jordan? Somebody’s going to be the next great Canadian quarterback…” Buono said. “The dream is worth dreaming.”
Wally and his daughter Christie Buono select the winner and this year the Lions GM had some inside knowledge, having worked with Yantz at Leos training camp last year.
“I thought he was an outstanding individual who had very good leadership qualities and worked extremely hard,” said Wally Buono.
He revealed that Yantz has been invited back to Lions training camp again for 2013.
“It speaks volumes for his character,” Buono said. “When his name was brought up to the coaches, they were very positive about him coming back to continue the learning process but also continuing to work at the things he’s going to do if he ever wants to be a professional quarterback.”
Yantz – who will be playing CIS football at the University of Manitoba this coming season – said he’s particularly looking forward to Lions camp this time around because he’ll be more comfortable.
“This year is going to be way more exciting and a lot more fun for me…” he said. “It’s not like I know the playbook like the back of my hand, but I do have it in mind. I’m excited to go and be around the guys.”
Yantz thanked family, teammates and the Raiders organization for putting him in a position to succeed, and said he’s proud to share the award with past Raiders winners Andrew Harris and Mike Schaper. Yantz said winning the Wally Buono Award is an honour, especially since junior football seems to be becoming more of a big deal.
“[It] keeps on getting bigger and bigger and it keeps on getting more exciting,” he said. “And obviously we’ve proved that there are good [junior] players and they can play at the next level.”