Volume 96, Issue 10
Friday September 13, 2002

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Sights set high for Fantuz
Rookie receiver key to 'Stangs success

Niru Somayajula/Gazette

RUN ANDY, RUN. Western Mustangs rookie receiver Andy Fantuz has made an instant impact with the 2-0 Mustangs, accumulating a stellar 236 receiving yards.

By Benjamin Mills
Gazette Staff

This is the future of Mustangs football.

Andy Fantuz is the heir apparent to the throne of Mustangs football glory. After only two games in a Mustangs uniform, he is already drawing comparisons to former outstanding Mustangs receivers such as Tyrone Williams, Dave Sapunjis and Nigel Wilson.

"He rates very favorably," Western head coach Larry Haylor said. "He might not be as fast as Tyrone and Dave yet, but he's definitely bigger. He's like a combination of both of them."

In high school, Fantuz was a star athlete. He was a three-time MVP and captain of his football team, as well as MVP of his basketball team.

Don Zondag, an assistant coach at Fantuz's alma mater, John McGregor High School in Chatham, Ontario, speaks very highly of his former pupil.

"He's definitely above average, that's pretty obvious – he's very good," Zondag said. "He attacks the ball, he doesn't let the ball come to him."

"The way he thinks and reacts makes him that much better. When Andy was having a good day, everyone else seemed to play that much better," Zondag continued.

Praise for Fantuz doesn't end there. Haylor continued his acclaim when he spoke about Fantuz's on-field presence. "He has a great sense of feel, of where people are – he has the ability to make big plays," he said.

With all this hype, one might think Fantuz has an ego the size of TD Waterhouse Stadium, but nothing could be further from the truth.

"He's very quiet, very soft-spoken, very humble," Haylor said, "and he's actually quite shy."

A good sign of Fantuz's humility was displayed when he was asked about the comparisons being drawn between himself and Tyrone Williams.

"It's pretty incredible," Fantuz said. "I didn't get much of a chance to see him play, but he was a great football player."

Fantuz said he also holds coach Haylor in very high regard.

"He's great, I like him a lot. He really knows what he's talking about and he seems to see everything that goes on the field just from watching one play," Fantuz said.

All-in-all, Fantuz seems to be like every other university student. His favorite movie is Braveheart, he listens to hip hop, his favorite football team – besides Western – is the Kansas City Chiefs.

Fantuz said his goals in university are to excel as much in the classroom as he does on the playing field. He was an "A" student in high school and has aspirations of eventually going to the Richard Ivey School of Business.

His aspirations do not end there. Fantuz hopes to one day be the recipient of The Gazette's own Purple Pipe award, the symbol of athletic prowess. "It's certainly something to strive for," Fantuz said (with a grain of salt we assume).

Salt or no salt, chances are it will soon be his because if there is anything Fantuz has proved thus far, it's that not much is beyond his reach.

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2002 THE GAZETTE