Vandals Gain Vital Commitment

MAKING TEXAS A RECRUITING PRIORITY is a top goal for second-year coach Robb Akey, and he's making that goal a reality. Last year Idaho signed three from the Lone Star state: Dewey Hale, Quin Ashley, and Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year Justin Allen. This week Idaho picked up a verbal pledge from star tailback TROY VITAL (6-0, 200, 4.45), a Texas Class 4A First-Team All-State selection.

PLAYER PROFILE: Troy Vital, 6-0, 200, 4.45, RB

"I feel like - with my ability - I can come in and have a lot of major playing time," Copperas Cove High School star tailback Troy Vital told "My goal is that I want to start at least a couple games before the season is over with - I think I have that kind of ability."

Few who know about Troy and his accomplishments on the gridiron would disagree.

Just how dominant a runningback was Vital this season for the Bulldawgs? During the regular season he gained an impressive 1,474 yards rushing, scored 17 touchdowns, did not register a SINGLE FUMBLE, and hauled in two touchdown passes for good measure.

To reiterate, that was just during the regular season.

Cove made it all the way to the State Championship game, so for the entire season Vital gained a stunning 2,034 yards rushing, scored 25 touchdowns, and averaged an eye-popping 8.4 yards per carry on 243 attempts. His ability to shine under the pressure of the state playoffs included a single-game performance in which he gained a staggering 327 yards while scoring 4 touchdowns, averaging a whopping 18 yards per carry.

As one might expect, Vital now holds the Cove single game rushing record, and he did it during a playoff game.

One publication made the statement: "As seniors Robert Griffin and Troy Vital go, so goes the Copperas Cove offense."

That offense AVERAGED 38.5 points per game this season enroute to a 12-2 record and a return trip to the Texas Class 4A, Division I title game. Twice this dynamic duo led the Bulldawgs to the State Championship game (Cove has never won a State Title), and twice fell just short of the ultimate high school prize, this year dropping a physical 20-14 decision to Rosenberg.

For his efforts - and a stellar high school career overall - Troy was named a First Team Class 4A AP All-State selection for the state of Texas.

Last summer Vital verbally committed to the University of Houston. However, that school recently changed coaches, and in a newspaper publication on December 14 Vital was reported to be considering attending Baylor University instead, as well as offers from Tennessee, Tulsa, Houston, UTEP, North Texas, New Mexico, and Utah (among others).

But his trip to the University of Idaho campus last weekend, along with host and fellow Texas standout Quin Ashley (Quin will be battling for the starting quarterback job this spring after earning serious reps at QB midway through the season as a true freshman last year), played a role in his decision. After returning home to Texas, Troy called Robb Akey and committed by phone. "He was real happy and proud," the future Criminal Justice major told Scout. "He said I could do a lot of things for the Vandals."

Asked to describe why he ultimately chose the Vandals over his other offers, Vital told Scout, "It was a smaller school, and I can study Criminal Justice - at some of the other schools I wouldn't be able to study Criminal Justice."

"They [the team] felt really close together," Vital continued. "They all hung out together, and the team was really fired up about Coach Akey and the coaching staff. Of course the new renovations to the Kibbie Dome - I'll love to be playing in that. And I feel I can play my freshman year, and possibly start."

Again, few who know of Troy's dominance on the gridiron throughout his high school career would disagree.

His accomplishments don't end on the gridiron either. At the 2007 District 16-4A Track Championships he turned in a 40.11 second time in the 300m Intermediate Hurdles (2nd Place), 21-6 in the Long Jump (3rd), and 45-5 in the Triple Jump (3rd). His 1600m relay team took first, and his 800m relay team finished second.

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