Alex Villarreal: His Coach's Take

GoPokes.com interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with Hidalgo Early College High School head coach Robin Kirk about Alex Villarreal, a 6-4, 295-pound defensive tackle from Hidalgo, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Robin Kirk: I think his strength is his physical strength. He's a big, strong kid that is a very physical kid. His willingness to listen and to learn ... it's just unbelievable that he's willing to listen and to learn because he does have a lot to learn, and if he didn't have that attribute than he'd be on trouble. He'd be just another big kid, and there are a bunch of big kids out there. He's very blessed physically and he's willing to work hard, and he's got good strength and he's got good mobility. I don't know if that's really saying what his strength is as a football player but I think that's what ultimately is going to be his strength is the fact that he will listen and he's big and strong and physical and fast for his size, which ultimately is going to translate into a lot of really, really good things for him down the road.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Robin Kirk: The biggest challenge he'll have is the level of play goes way up when you go to college football. He's going to be facing guys every day that are as big or bigger than you are. I think most high schools kids no matter how good they were or where they played at are going to face that, and he's going to face that. I think the biggest thing will be playing against people every single day that are as big as he is and as fast or faster than he is at that position.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Robin Kirk: I was telling Coach Gundy about it the other day. I got here two years ago and the first game that Alex played for us we were playing a really, really good team on opening night (of the season). They ran a screen play, an old-fashioned screen play not the bubble screen, and he was on one hash mark and they threw it to the outside of the hash mark on the other side. He read it, ran over there and caught the back from behind all the way across the field. It was just a heck of a play and I remember looking at teh defensive line coach who was standing beside me and said, ‘That play right there is ultimately going to get him a college scholarship.' It was very impressive to see that big guy run across that field and make that play. At that point he was nowhere near where he is right now or where he's going but we knew right then that he had what it took, and eventually he'd be able to do it.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Robin Kirk: Talented, aggressive, and competitive.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Robin Kirk: I might be wrong but I personally think that Alex going to a school in the Big 12 needs to be redshirted right out of the chute, and they need to let him get caught up a little bit as far as the game at that level. That's always tough on a kid, especially one who's going away from home. But I think he needs to redshirt his first year and just get adjusted to college life and being away from home, which all kids do but with him it's a lot different. A legitimate expectation by his redshirt sophomore year he should be starting. There's no reason by his senior year that he shouldn't be an All-Big 12 player and an NFL prospect because of his size, his body structure, his strength, his quickness. He's got a long way to go but I personally believe he's an NFL prospect.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Robin Kirk: His willingness to listen and to be coached. The greatest asset for him as a football player is his will to let you coach him. By that, I mean you can coach him hard. A lot of kids won't let you coach them hard any more. He'll really let you coach him hard and he doesn't take it personal, and he responds to that. He's mature enough to know that you're pushing him hard because you want him to be good, and he accepts that. I think that's the thing I'll remember about Alex more than anything.


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