By Brandon Gillet
Convocation 2015 begins this Friday at uOttawa! Here is the first of a series highlighting some of this year’s graduates.
UPDATE: After being transferred to the practice roster and later released from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in late June, Ettore Lattanzio has returned home signing with the Ottawa Redblacks. He will get his first CFL start against the Calgary Stampeders on Friday, July 24.
What do you get when you combine football and ancient history? A classical studies graduate who’s this year’s only uOttawa player drafted by the CFL, Ettore Lattanzio.
Now gearing up to start his CFL career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Lattanzio has been playing football since he was 12, but only considered playing professionally in the last two years.
Playing for the Gee-Gees for the four years he was doing his degree, the defensive tackle was named a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) First Team All-Canadian 2014, made up of the top CIS players at their respective positions, and the JP Metras Trophy as outstanding down lineman.
In the past week, Lattanzio has been on the field every day at CFL training camp to prepare for the pre-season, which begins this week.
“Training camp has gone well, this is a great organization to play for and the environment is awesome,” said Lattanzio.
According to Lattanzio, there was never a clear criterion that he had to meet in order to achieve All-Canadian status. He just knew he had to give everything he had whenever he was on the field.
“By going 100% every play I knew that eventually I would achieve some level of success,” Lattanzio said.
Lattanzio chose the classical studies program at uOttawa because he always had an interest in history.
“Moreover, studying ancient civilizations is great because it gives you a glimpse into the ways in which our predecessors lived their lives,” he said.
Though balancing his sport and academics was difficult, that didn’t stop Lattanzio from graduating cum laude or achieving honours in his sport.
“You are basically trying to balance two schedules that oftentimes conflict with one another, but it teaches you to time-manage effectively,” he said.
Looking back on his time at uOttawa, Lattanzio’s fondest memory is of his last game with the Gee-Gees. They had come back from some tough losses to gain a spot in the conference semi-final, and nearly won the game.
“It was the furthest I had gone in the playoffs and though we didn’t win, I was proud that my teammates and I were able to give a solid run for the Yates Cup,” Lattanzio said.
For now, he is focusing on the Blue Bombers’ decision to move him to offence. He says the switch has not been easy but he is working hard every day to get better.
“It won’t be something that happens overnight, but so far I am progressing,” Lattanzio said. “I am just trying to enjoy this experience and soak up as much knowledge as I can and to give my best effort every day.”