Schaffer discusses Ducks

Lake Forest (Ill.) offensive and defensive lineman Thomas Schaffer discusses Oregon and whether or not he plans on visiting Eugene

Thomas Schaffer may be a name Oregon fans become familiar with over the next year. The 2016 prospect from Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest (Ill.) stands 6-foot-7, 260-pounds and is being looked at as an offensive and defensive line prospect by a few programs, including UO.

Schaffer met Ducks outside linebackers coach Erik Chinander last spring and has been in contact with a couple of other Ducks staff members since then.

“I met (defensive line coach) Ron Aiken during the season,” he said. “It was, like, late September I would say, and he told me that Oregon has interest in me and that they liked my film. Then, later in the year I got a message from (assistant offensive line coach) Joe Bernardi that was one and a half months ago and he told me they have interest in me.”

Besides being a two-way player, Schaffer said that in talking with the coaches they’ve commented on how they like his lean athletic body type. As far as what he knows about Oregon, Schaffer admitted he didn’t know much out of the ordinary.

“I know what everybody knows,” he started. “That Oregon has the best jerseys and the best outfits. I know the past couple of years it has always been on of the top 10 programs in the country and I know about the place Oregon. It’s beautiful.”

What makes Schaffer an intriguing prospect is not just his versatility and size, but his background. The junior is a native of Austria and picked up the game at thirteen years old as a hobby. Playing with a club team, he quickly caught the bug and started training harder and within two years he began playing against players four years his senior. He then made the decision to pursue football in the United States.

Once he arrived, he realized that he had to adapt to certain things that weren’t as prevalent in the athletes he matched up against in his home country.

“What you have to know is that with the club teams I played with older guys,” he said. “I’ve played with adults who played the sport for a very long time and so I was not surprised by the strength of anybody. I’ve played against stronger people, but the speed here is ridiculous. That’s the main difference. The conditioning, how fast the game is played here and all that. But I did not match up against anyone who was too strong for me to handle.”

At Lake Forest, he’s become accustomed to playing in a no-huddle spread offense, leading to attention from programs like Oregon. If given a choice of where to play Schaffer said wants to play defense.

“I like playing defensive line more because that’s my mentality,” he said. “But I will have to see all of my options and talk to my coaches about that stuff.”

Schaffer’s lone offer is from Illinois, who offered him after he attended a camp during his sophomore year. He hopes to get a chance to impress more coaches and land more offers during the offseason.

“I think schools will change their mind if they see me workout in the spring,” he said. “I’m a hard working person. I show a hundred percent effort in everything I do and try to push every rep as far it goes.”

Schaffer wants to visit as many schools as possible to get a general feel of what they have to offer and he said that Oregon is on the list.

“It seems like a great place,” he said. “The people are great there. The location is just awesome. The football is great. I would definitely take a visit there.”

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