Rivals three-star lineman Thomas Schaffer isn’t your typical defensive line prospect. At 6-foot-7, 250 pounds, the junior is a behemoth on any high school football field, but his unique qualities don’t end there.
Schaffer grew up in Vienna, Austria and participated in the U19 world championships in Houston, Texas in 2012, where he caught the eye of several onlookers.
In order to carve out a football future for himself, Schaffer attends high school in the United States at Lake Forest Academy (Illinois), where he lives in a dorm-like setting and returns home to Austria on school breaks.
That journey away from home paid off this week with a scholarship offer from the Oregon Ducks.
“I got the offer on Monday,” Schaffer explained. “My head coach told me I should call the D-line coach, Ron Aiken. I called him earlier this week and he told me that Oregon likes me and that I just needed to talk to Coach one more time. They offered me, and it was a bit expected, but it was a great feeling. Oregon is one of the best schools in the nation in football.”
The Austrian football prospect grew up far away from the dynasty programs of the 90’s and 00’s, so he never had dreams of playing for Nebraska, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Ohio State or Florida. Instead, the first program of which he became familiar was none other than the Ducks.
“Oregon is the first football school I’ve known about, like college football school. When I got introduced to college football, Oregon was the team I’d heard about and seen. It’s one of my favorite schools.”
That familiarity gives them an early advantage for Schaffer’s services, but that could change for the recruit whose mind is fixated on a Pac-12 future.
“Oregon is my favorite right now, but there are a couple other schools I hope to get offers from, so I can choose. I have a couple other schools in mind which I hope will start recognizing me and looking at me. A big deal to hear from would be Stanford, which I’ve heard from, UCLA, USC. I like the Pac-12 a lot.”
The Ducks certainly have a type when it comes to defensive linemen. Tall and athletic is Oregon’s philosophy, and Schaffer fits the mold.