Via Named Community Captain

The Carolina Panthers have selected Michael Via, a senior offensive lineman at Northeast Guilford High School (McLeansville, NC), as a 2007 Carolina Panthers Community Captain.

Rated as one of the top linemen in the state by, Via is a North Carolina Scholar-Athlete and is a role model in his community.

The Carolina Panthers Community Captain program recognizes outstanding high school student-athletes in North and South Carolina who excel on the football field, in the classroom, and in the community. The Panthers encourage their future development as role models while they continue their personal growth in college and in their professional careers.

Via (6-6, 250) earned all-conference, first team all-county, and all-area honorable mention recognition as a junior. As a senior, he has been named a member of the 2007 North Carolina Shrine Bowl squad. He currently holds football scholarship offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, Penn State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest, among others, but he has given a verbal commitment to play for Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies on a full athletic scholarship.

"It's always been my dream to play there," says Via

Off the field, Via posts an impressive 3.8 GPA and has received an academic letter. He is on the school's honor roll and received the award for having the highest football GPA his junior year. He plans to major in civil engineering at Virginia Tech.

Via has not only used his energy on the field, but in the community as well. As an active member of his church, Via has participated in a number mission trips. Some of the trips are coordinated through TEAMeffort and World Changers, organizations that allow youth to assist in small construction projects and other community outreach. He has also taken part in the annual Crop Walk, an event that raises money for national and local food banks and shelters. Additionally, Via participates in nursing home visits and sometimes helps conduct a small worship service for patients who cannot leave to attend church.

Michael Via and the rest of the 2007 Carolina Panthers Community Captain class will be recognized at Bank of America Stadium during a special on-field ceremony prior to the Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers game on December 16th. Award recipients will receive an authentic Carolina Panthers Community Captain jersey and will have the opportunity to participate in select Panthers community outreach events with current Panthers players.

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