The next step in Jacob Butler’s football career is a big one, taking him all the way across the country.
The mammoth offensive lineman has committed to Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.
This fall, he’ll make his U-Sports debut with the Golden Gaels.
“The school is graduating four offensive linemen this year and the head coach (Pat Sheahan) said they had a freshman start last year, so the opportunity is there,” Butler said. “It’s there for me to take it, so I’m going into their camp trying to be the best player I can be and be a step ahead of the other freshmen.”
A future Jacob Butler may be able to stay at Sardis secondary school and get a football scholarship through the Falcons.
The school’s team begins play next fall.
This Jacob Butler had to take a different route, because playing high school ball with the Falcons wasn’t an option. And because he’s a french-immersion student, neither was going to GW Graham.
“I played for the Chilliwack Giants for all my years of football until last year,” Butler explained. “But there wasn’t going to be a midget team in Chilliwack, so 10 or so guys went to play in Langley.”
The teenager calls it one of the best decisions he’s ever made, with good reason.
With Butler locking down the right tackle spot the Langley Stampeders repeated as provincial champs in December, capping off a 10-0 regular season with a 25-13 win over the North Langley Kodiaks.
“It was a good move,” Butler said with a grin. “It was the best, most complete team I’ve ever been on, with more talent at every position
“Everyone was there to compete and they were willing to do whatever it took to win.
“Everybody brought their best to the table every time we stepped on the field.”
The provincial title was the first Butler won at any level. His heavily-favoured Stamps had to rally from a 10-0 hole to win, and the last moments of that game are etched in his memory with vivid clarity.
“We were up by two scores so we knew we had it, but the game’s not over until it’s over so everyone was quiet waiting for the final whistle,” Butler recalled. “As soon as the ref called the game, it’s the happiest moment of my life so far.
“Everyone stormed the field and the trophy came out and it was just an awesome moment.
“All the late nights and hard work paid off.”
Butler’s performance with the Stamps helped solidify his standing with Queen’s coach Sheahan, who first started watching him in showcase events like the Border Bowl and Starbowl.
“I played on the senior selects team in the 2015 Border Bowl, when they brought up a couple Grade 11’s,” Butler said. “In the walkthrough the day before the game, Pat was there and he came up and introduced himself.
“He was actually there to watch a running back that didn’t end up going to Queen’s, but he watched me too and sent guys to watch me in other events after that.”
Standing six-foot-five and weighing 280 pounds, Butler is easy to spot.
“I don’t watch a lot of myself on tape, but they (coaches) say I move pretty well,” he said. “The aggression is always there and I don’t give up on plays.
“I’m always trying to find the next guy to knock to the ground.”
Butler’s parents both graduated from Queen’s and his dad was a four-year volleyball player.
Jacob will study engineering and looks forward to starting the next chapter.
“Some of the guys they’ve signed are bigger than I am, like six-foot-seven and 300-plus pounds,” Butler said. “But size is only half of it and the other half is technique and talent and hard work.
“I’ve always liked competing and being challenged so my plan is to go in there and give it everything I have and see what happens.”