Jordan Yantz knows this week isn't about his past; it's about his future.
Yantz, 22, is among the nearly 40 players taking part in the B.C. Lions rookie camp at Hillside Stadium this week. Thursday's practice is set to start at 4 p.m., with Friday's final workout to run 9-10:30 a.m.
Yantz, the starting quarterback for the B.C. Football Conference's Vancouver Island Raiders, is one of four junior players at rookie camp. Defensive end Steven Doege and receiver Danny Turek, both of the Okanagan Sun, and kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk of the Victoria-Westshore Rebels also will suit up.
None of those players has had as much success at Hillside Stadium as has Yantz, whose Nanaimo-based Raiders have made a habit of hammering the hometown Broncos.
The last time the Raiders came to town, Yantz, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound right-hander, went 15-for-24 for 284 yards and five touchdowns in a 77-4 victory on Sept. 17. He threw an interception, but also ran in a touchdown.
On Oct. 2, 2010, he threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns as Vancouver Island finished its regular season with a 77-7 victory at Hillside Stadium.
Yantz has logged more airtime at Hillside Stadium than most of the Broncos' quarterbacks, but he knows how little it means this week.
"That's nice, for sure," said Yantz, a Regina native, "but at the end of the day, that was junior football, and this is pro. You've got to look at it differently and be ready for everything."
Yantz has been the big fish in the BCFC over the past four seasons, and holds the Canadian Junior Football League record for touchdown passes and the BCFC record for receiving yards.
He has put up incredible numbers, including more than 7,000 yards passing and more than 80 touchdowns in fewer than 40 games, but doesn't have a big head about it.
"Hopefully whatever I soak up here," Yantz said, "I can use that information and put into my work with the guys back (in Nanaimo)."
Yantz would love to one day play in the CFL, especially for the Lions, his new favourite team. And while it's not the usual route to the CFL, the Lions have four players on their roster who came out of junior without playing at the university level.
Stu Foord, who signed with the Lions after spending four seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, played for the Prairie Football Conference's Regina-based Prairie Thunder, while safety J.R. LaRose is a product of the PFC's Edmonton Huskies.
The ageless Paul McCallum kicked for the Surrey Rams, while running back Andrew Harris was Yantz's teammate on the Raiders in 2008 and 2009. Harris actually spent the 2009 season practising with the Lions while starting for the Raiders.
"I had the pleasure of playing with him," Yantz said of Harris, who holds the CJFL record for career touchdowns (84), a record he set at Hillside Stadium on Sept. 13, 2008. "Him being in the backfield while he was practising with these guys, he taught me so much."
Yantz will be competing with Thomas DeMarco, a rookie from Old Dominion, and Corey Leonard, a second-year Arkansas State alumnus, for a quarterbacking spot at main camp. Travis Lulay and Mike Reilly, Nos. 1 and 2 on the depth chart, will arrive Saturday for main camp, which runs Sunday through June 20.
Whatever happens, Yantz will be trying to absorb as much as he can.
"It's a totally different atmosphere to be in - these guys are pros," he said. "It's cool to be here and be around them and learn new things.
"I want to learn and soak up as much information as I can. If I'm here for three days or a week or the full two weeks, three weeks - I'm going to play my heart out."
Main camp will feature two workouts a day - they start at 8:30 a.m., and 4 p.m. The Lions will play their first exhibition game on June 13, against visiting Saskatchewan, before holding practices from June 14-20, and then heading back to Vancouver.