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From walk-on to All-American, Utah State’s Vigil honored in Mountain West

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Posted at 10:44 PM, Dec 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-15 00:44:19-05

LOGAN, Utah -- Zach Vigil grew up in Clearfield, Utah playing wide receiver and safety in high school; he did not receive any offers to play college football, but that did not matter to him.

He went to Utah State and walked on the football team, not under scholarship, just hoping for any playing time. Fast forward a few years, and it's a whole different picture.

"As coaches you preach toughness, football junkie, the effort, all that kind of stuff, that kid optimizes everything," USU football head coach Matt Wells said.

"I love sitting back after we do the offensive talks on the sideline and just watching him play, watching him read different blocks and make tackles the way that he does," teammate and senior offensive lineman Kevin Whimpey said. "He's an all around team leader for us. We all look up to him and we're glad that he received the recognition that he did."

That recognition leads to Vigil being named Mountain West defensive player of the year, and now the first All-American title for an Utah State Aggie.

"There's been a lot of good linebackers at Utah State," Wells said. "I've played with some of them, we've coached a few here, so for him to be the first one to be first or second team All-American is pretty awesome."

Brian Suite, a senior safety who plays with Vigil, touted his teammate's efforts.

"A guy like him, he wasn't even recruited out of high school, so he really took it upon himself to put in the work and he deserves every bit of recognition he got," he said. "I'm really happy for him. It's not only good for him, but it's good for our program."

"He's probably taken himself from an undrafted player to a drafted player," Wells added.

But, for Vigil, it's hard to concentrate on anything other than the upcoming bowl game.

"I mean it's still pretty surreal to me," Vigil said about his awards. "Probably when I am 40 I'll think it's pretty cool, but right now, just focusing on the game and trying to get to ten wins."

Utah State will play UTEP on December 20, 2014 in the New Mexico Bowl.