Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Many of the stories that emerge during National Signing Day don't exactly paint college football -- and its recruiting process, specifically -- in the best of lights. The story of Rice and head coach David Bailiff's signing of Bryan, Texas defensive end David Wilganowski is not one of the stories.
A 6'4", 230-pound standout for Bryan's Rudder High school, Wilganowski accepted Bailiff's scholarship offer last June and committed to play for the Owls. But as Houston TV station KHOU reports, come Wilganowski's senior season his recruitment was the least of his worries--he collapsed during a September game and nearly died on the field. He was later diagnosed with the heart condition Long Q-T syndrome and had a defibrillator implanted in his chest, ending his football career.
At many schools, Wilganowski likely would have had to find another way to pay for his college education. But Bailiff honored his offer all the same, and Wednesday Wilganowski signed his letter of intent to receive his full football scholarship from the Owls. Though his exact role is still to be determined, Wilganowski said he expects to help with the defensive line.
“I’m going to be a part of the team, but a different part of the team,” he said.
For his part, Bailiff said the decision was simply a matter of showing his recruits the same commitment he expects of them.
“We ask young men to keep their word to us, you know we say we’re going to be with them through thick or thin," he said. "I think it’s a good practice that you keep your word."
So do we--which is why it's a shame that stories like Wilganowski's are the rarity rather than the exception come Signing Day.
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