Sun's Gering a quick study on gridiron
Jonas Gering had never played a down of football until his senior year at Rutland secondary.
Based on what he's accomplished on the gridiron in three short years, it's safe to say the switch over from his first passion—rugby—has been an unqualified success.
A BCFC all-star last season, the 20-year-old Gering has developed into one of junior football's top defensive lineman and one of the Okanagan Sun's most dominant players.
At the urging of RSS teacher and assistant coach Darren Stregger, Gering decided to give football a whirl back in 2011. He hasn't looked back since.
"I was fascinated with rugby, but at the end of Grade 11 I decided to go the (football) spring camp at Rutland," said Gering, who was born in Germany. "When I put the pads on for the first time, I loved it right away. The whole team aspect, the style of game, the planning that goes into getting ready to play…I was sold from the start."
The Sun would heartily agree that rugby's loss was football's gain.
As a rookie in 2012, Gering was simply trying to crack the Sun roster when opportunity knocked. With resident star defensive lineman Steven Doege away at B.C. Lions' practise during the week, Gering began making his mark during Sun practises.
"When he came in we had a pretty good D-line and he wasn't going to be getting a lot of playing time, he had height but he was still undersized, weight-wise," said Sun defensive coordinator Nathan Mollard. "He benefitted most from when Doege was away, he got lots of reps and really started to develop. It's transformed him, he worked hard and learned the game fast."
And Gering hasn't simply developed skill-wise over the last couple of seasons—he grew from 190 pounds as a rookie to 225 last year to 240 pounds this season. From a boy to a man, Mollard said Gering is the complete package.
"He's relentless and he has great power," said Mollard. "He's a big kid who has grown stronger and just gets more powerful. He's also one of our leaders on defense and we're absolutely looking for him to lead us this year."
Gering credits head coach Shane Beatty's weight program for helping him get into peak physical football shape, and many of his coaches for believing in his abilities every step of the way.
"It's crazy how fast it's all happened," said the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Gering. "Coach (Shane Beatty) keeps reminding how much I've accomplished and how much more there is in store. I'm excited."
And with the depth and potential Gering sees in his year's edition of the Sun, he can't help but anticipate a long and prosperous 2014 campaign for the junior squad.
"With all the recruits we've brought in, we have all the tools to go a long way," Gering said. "We learned about our weaknesses last season and will be better this year. I really like this team."
Gering and the Sun will kick off the B.C. Football Conference regular season this Saturday night in Chilliwack against the Valley Huskers.