|Vargas verbally commits to Iowa State; plays in All-Star game|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Jan. 6, 2006 - Jose Vargas has come a long way from a seventh-grader who didn't even like football to a Division I college recruit who recently played in a national high school All-Star game in Louisiana.
Vargas, a senior at Sulphur Springs High School, was part of the West Team at Max Emfinger's All-American Bowl played Thursday at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.
It was a crowning achievement for the 6-3, 325-pound offensive tackle who was voted a First Team All-State player by the Associated Press Sports Editors last month and also made a verbal commitment to play football for Iowa State.
Vargas took a recruiting visit to the Iowa State campus in December and made the commitment then. Verbal commitments are non-binding, though, and Vargas still has trips planned to Missouri, North Texas, Kilgore College and Tyler Junior College. He also took an earlier trip to UT-El Paso.
The first day to sign a binding national college letter of intent is Wed., Feb. 1.
Vargas, who was a Super Team Second Team player in the preseason Texas Football magazine, first became interested in football in the seventh grade after moving to Sulphur Springs from Los Angeles.
"I wanted to go to college, but I never thought about football," he said. "In the seventh grade, I didn't even play football until the coach came and got me. I wasn't even interested in football. He brought me into it, and said I'd get to hit some people and have fun doing it.
"That's when I really started watching college games on TV and thought I wanted to be a part of it."
He will be a part of it in the fall. He has entertained offers from several different colleges including a half-dozen Division I teams. Vargas liked what he saw at Iowa State, which went 7-5 this past season, including three losses in overtime, and an appearance in the Houston Bowl.
"Iowa State is a great program," Vargas said. "If things work out the way I plan, I'll be in Iowa State next year.
"They really come together as a team. There isn't any 'I' or 'Give me the ball.' It's just guys doing whatever they can to get a win. It's a real good place, and I feel like I fit in there."
He also fit right in at the All-American Bowl, where he played one series in the first half and then the entire second half. The West team scored two TDs while he was in the game.
"It was a fun game," Vargas commented on Friday while wearing the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl jersey he played in. "It was a real good game between the East and the West. It's an honor to get to play in an All-Star game knowing that you're one of the top players in the nation.
"It was great because you're up against these kids who are going to all these universities, just like you are. You can make new friends, and it's something I'll always remember."
With all the awards coming his way, he'll have a lot to remember from his senior year.