The UBC Thunderbirds latest quarterback recruit took the road less travelled to Vancouver.
Despite not playing the position until his Grade 11 season at Holy Trinity Academy, Okotokian Cameron Fietz dedicated himself to the craft and three years later earned himself a commitment to U-Sports powerhouse UBC for the 2018-19 season.
A series of events thrust the slotback behind centre for the Knights in 2015.
“They were looking for a guy that could throw and they said I was the most well-rounded athletic player they had,” Fietz said. “Jumping into the position, having no idea what it stood for, what it required I just had fun with it.
“I made the decision that I loved the game so much more from that perspective and I ran with it.”
In 2015, Knights starting quarterback Fraser Kiranas suffered from appendicitis, which along with the back up quitting earlier in the season put Fietz at the controls for the first time.
Following a strong Grade 11 season, he dedicated himself to off-season training and returned for a stellar senior year.
Fietz was the Knights MVP, Top Offensive Player and received the Leadership/Dedication Award in the 2016 season which saw HTA advance to the Big Rock final.
Fietz credited the Knights coaching staff, including head coach Matt Hassett, and offensive co-ordinator Rob Jenkins, for believing in him and reinforcing his love of the game.
“My first game at quarterback I was for sure throwing rainbows not knowing the proper reads,” Fietz said. “I just fell in love with it, didn’t take a day off from improving over the summer and haven’t since. I’ve been working really hard with the mental and physical side of it.
“My development has been exponential. It’s just the time that I wanted to devote it.”
Upon graduation in 2017, Fietz continued his career with the Calgary Jr. Colts. Within two weeks of the season the Okotokian was scouted by the Illinois-based Midwest Prep Academy.
“My original plan was to play for the Calgary Colts, go and attend to University of Calgary and then transfer to a CIS school for football,” he said. “It was kind of a curveball and I ended up taking that opportunity down south for a semester so I deferred my U of C offer until this January.”
Fietz’s journey south was strictly athletic.
He was able to put together film and expand his profile from a recruiting perspective in Illinois.
“I did some major strength and conditioning down there as well as learning the American game on the fly,” he said. “As I was recruited late I only had a week before our first game to learn the different rules of the American game and learn the throws that are required for the certain routes that are involved with the American field.”
“The time increments were so much more precise with the American game that I think it really brushed up my timing as a quarterback and made me realize how vital that is.”
A couple offers on both sides of the border were presented to the southpaw with the Thunderbirds, led by legendary coach and recruiter Blake Nill, offering the best total package.
The position at quarterback is also conducive to new recruits with the top two players on the depth chart entering their senior years with the T-Birds.
“I chose UBC because it was a perfect fit both athletically and academically,” Fietz said. “Sauder School of Business is internationally ranked, it’s in the top 50, and UBC as a university is consistently at the top of the national rankings.
“Athletically, the main reason I committed is due to their coaching staff. Coach Nill’s history as a three-time Vanier Cup champion and as a head coach in the U-Sports league defines his success in leading programs to win no matter where the starting point.”