A few days ago, Scout.com introduced you to Luis Vasquez who is one of the best JUCO defenders in the nation. He was named first JUCO All-American and National Junior College Athletic Association Region I Defensive Most Valuable Player. Scout.com had a chance to do another one-on-one interview with him regarding his recruitment and his rise to notoriety:
1. First of all, before the season began you were relatively an unknown. You
were not on any JC pre-season All-WSFL (league) lists. This is a conference
that will sends tons of defensive players to Division I schools this year. The
#1 defensive player at Arizona State is from the WSFL. The #1 ranked JC player
in the country, Louis Holmes, is from the WSFL. Explain how a freshman from
CT goes to Yuma, Arizona, deals with the cultural changes, deals with a full-academic
course load, and by year's end emerges as the #1 Defensive Player in the Arizona
After Purdue, I thought I was done. My scholarship and football were taken from me just like that. But I understood that if I wanted to get back to where I wanted to be, I was going to have to take the long way(JUCO/Arizona Western). I had to overcome a lot of things. At first, I was getting a lot of stuff from people back home, 'Lou this, Lou that, Lou messed up', and it really hurt because these were the same people congratulating me on my scholarship out of high school. I felt i had to shut them up. Then this past summer was a time in which I had to really mature. I knew if I wanted to get back to Division 1 Football, I was the only one that was going to help myself. So I got a job from a family friend to keep myself out of trouble and stayed in the weight room and running to get better. Coach Pryor and the coaching staff have given me the opportunity to better myself. This whole football process for me is something that I needed to go through to better myself and expand my capabilities. I came out here with one goal on my mind, and so far I feel I'm accomplishing it little by little.
2. You were the only JC freshman in the country to get 1st team NJCAA All-America honors on defense. What did you do off the field, and on the field, that allowed you to receive such recognition?
Hardwork, dedication, and perseverance. Obviously not much else to do in the desert, but I think seeing the other freshman in the same shoes I was in the same time last year, I felt it was put onto my shoulders to teach them the ways. How you're supposed to practice, supposed to act both on and off the field, and even understanding your role on the team. That at least kept me headed in the right direction. It was like a refresher course for myself. I also think my own competitiveness drove me. Not only did I want to be the best on the field, but I didn't want to leave any doubt. A lot of 'critics' say that JUCO athletes are all the same; good on the field, but couldn't cut it in the classroom. Being the individual I am, I strive to be great with a 4.0.
3. You would have 3 years to play 3. You had an incredible freshman campaign, where you may have superceded everyone's expectations. What would you like to accomplish in your next 3 years.
Everything. I want to be NCAA D1 Defensive Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American. I want to win the Rose Bowl, I want to be the guy everybody looks to, to make a play in the 4th quarter. At the same time however, I want my Master's Degree, I want to make the Dean's list with a 4.0. I want everything i set my mind to. But for now I'm just working on my AA and getting ready for winter workouts.
4. What are the main factors you look for when you make your college decision?
Mainly the amount of opportunity I have to excel both on the field and in the classroom. Looks and feels is nice, but if I come into a college who may already have certain plans for me or somewhere where I feel I'm not going to benefit from, it's not going to work. I also think how I feel towards the players and coaches are important. I'm going to spend the next 3 years with a family day in and day out. If it's not a comforting feeling after meeting with them, it's definitely not a fit.
5. What are your feelings about Rutgers?
They're recruiting me and seem pretty interested. It would be nice to go back east, but at the same time I like to keep my options open.