Josh Hyer of the VSS Panthers receives a University of Calgary Dinos' jersey from head coach Wayne Harris Tuesday at Vernon Secondary School. Hyer will play for the CIS Dinos in the 2017 season.

Josh Hyer of the VSS Panthers receives a University of Calgary Dinos' jersey from head coach Wayne Harris Tuesday at Vernon Secondary School. Hyer will play for the CIS Dinos in the 2017 season.

Dinos lock up Hyer

Josh Hyer says he would be a tyrannosaurus rex if given the choice to be a dinosaur for a day.

Josh Hyer says he would be a tyrannosaurus rex if given the choice to be a dinosaur for a day.

Hyer, a Grade 12 VSS student, will be a Dino for years to come after officially signing a CIS football contract with the University of Calgary team at a press conference Tuesday in the school cafeteria.

Calgary head coach Wayne Harris presented the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Hyer with a jersey and sweatshirts to commemorate the occasion, attended by all Hyer’s teammates and scores of students.

“This is pretty big, this is one of the biggest days I’ve ever had in my life,” Hyer told The Morning Star in football coach Sean Smith’s office after the signing.

Hyer plays multiple positions for the Panthers, usually leading the team in tackles and sacks each game.

“I play tight end and defensive end, but I prefer defensive end a lot more because I like hitting guys,” said the soft-spoken Hyer, accompanied by his father, James Hyer, and mother, Heid Astin, at the special Hallmark moment. “I started playing football when I was six and I was that guy on the bench who didn’t play much. It wasn’t until I kind of growth-spurted and was the big guy on the field that I started to play more.”

Hyer loved the welcoming he received from Harris and assistant coaches in Calgary, a big reason he chose the Dinos. He also gave major props to Smith for helping his development.

Harris, a former Dino and Calgary Stampeder linebacker, attended a Panther practice Monday afternoon.

“Josh is an outstanding athlete; he’s been at our summer camps and we noticed his ability to get off the ball. He uses his hands well and runs to the ball well. He reminds us of Cory Robinson, who is an all-Canadian on our team right now. He’s got the same skill set coming out of high school.”

The Dinos don’t normally start rookies, but Harris, a Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs high school grad, says Hyer can make a starting position happen.

“We think the potential Josh has is limitless and it’s a matter of him working hard to attain his goal.”