"It Just Seems Perfect"

Boardman (OH) High School's Mike Villagrana decided he didn't want to wait to pull the trigger on his college choice.

"I was getting interest from a lot of schools, but when I went down to West Virginia and visited during spring practice, it just seemed perfect," Villagrana told BlueGoldNews.com. "I didn't realize how close Morgantown and WVU were to home (about 2 hours). I watched a practice and talked with the coaches, and I decided I wanted to go ahead and make my decision."

That decision, which came down to a choice between West Virgina and Maryland, was made with several factors in mind. Villagrana had thought he would wait and see what offers he would get through his senior season, but the enticement of avoiding the hectic senior recruiting rush, along with his rapport with WVU's coaches, led him to make his commitment early.

"I feel really comfortable with the coaches down there. Coach Casteel is good to talk to, and the coaches made it seem like a family atmosphere. I also like what people told me about the fans. I like it loud and crazy."

Villagrana has played on both offense and defense for Boardman High School, and will likely continue that duty this year. He's a tight end on offense and a linebacker on defense, but says he will probably get the chance to play some defensive end this year too, which is his likely destination in college.

"I talked with Coach Casteel about my position. I really like playing tight end a little better, but he said they'd probably look at me at defensive end too. They thought I could get to 260 or 265 pounds by the end of my freshman year."

Villagran admits to not being "the fastest guy around", so he's worked on other aspects of his game to improve. He had a breakout year at tight end last season, catching 25 passes and drawing the praise of his head coach, Garry Smith. That improvement didn't come easily, though.

"I worked really hard all last year," Villagrana said. "I caught passes from my quarterback every day, and I worked on making my patterns perfect, on getting my feet in the proper position, things like that."

With his college commitment out of the way, Villagrana can now focus on his senior season. His goal is to get Boardman back to the postseason, which he thinks is an achievable goal.

"Our offense looks really good this year. We need to rebuild our defense some, because there's only a couple of us back from last season. We just want to get back to the playoffs."

Boardman Head Coach Garry Smith on Villagrana.

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