February 1 is National Signing Day for NCAA-bound high school football players. Today, St. Andrew’s very own Gregor MacKellar officially committed to Rice University.
Surrounded by his varsity teammates, coaches, and his father, Bruce, the offensive lineman signed his letter of intent – a moment he has been waiting for since June when he verbally committed to the Owls.
Gregor, a boarder from Timberlea, Nova Scotia, is thrilled to have fulfilled his dream of reaching the NCAA – a rare feat for a Canadian and even more so for a student from the Maritimes. Only 22 Canadian students will sign today with Gregor being the only representative from the Maritimes. Gregor credits his success to his St. Andrew’s opportunity, his coaches past and present, and especially his supportive family.
At age 9, Gregor picked up a football and never put it down. There have been many coaches throughout his career that have made him the player he is today, but he pays tribute to Varsity Football Head Coach Len Gurr for helping him reach this final level.
“From the moment I stepped on the SAC field, Coach Gurr encouraged and pushed me to be the best football player I could be,” said Gregor. “He told me that very first day I could be a D1 player if I put the work in academically and on the field.”
While there were other NCAA clubs looking to secure this star, Rice University appealed to Gregor because of its similarities to SAC. “It feels like home,” said Gregor. “They have students from all over the world and they value responsibility, integrity, community, and excellence – all the traits that have been instilled in me at SAC.”
“Our entire football team is immensely proud of Gregor,” said Coach Gurr. “He possesses an ideal combination of size, athleticism, toughness, desire, and humility. These traits have enabled him to become arguably the top high school offensive lineman in the country.”
He’s not just about turning other players in pancakes on the field either. When Gregor isn’t playing football or training in the weight room with Strength & Conditioning Coach John Murray, you can find him studying to maintain his high academic average, practicing the bagpipes as a key member of the Senior Pipes & Drums, or providing leadership to the Competition and Spirit Committee.
The sports-management major hopes to find a professional football career after graduation, but he admits that graduate studies in business or perhaps law are also on his mind.
When Gregor touches down in Houston, Texas, in August, he won’t be alone. Old Boy Peter Godber ’13 will be there to greet him and show him the ropes. “Having a fellow Andrean as a mentor at Rice was a huge factor in me deciding to become an Owl,” said Gregor. It will be a smooth transition. And he looks forward to avoiding snow for the next few years.
“I am so excited to play football at Rice Stadium,” he said. “I can only imagine what it will be like to run out of the tunnel and onto the field.”
Story by Nicolette Fleming