Ballenas Whalers defensive lineman Enzo Agostini will finish his last year in high school playing football in the United States.
The Grade 12 student was heavily scouted by high school and college coaches at the Canadianfootballchat.com Prospect Game that featured 70 high school players at TD Stadium in Ottawa last May.
Agostini’s performance garnered him a number of offers from schools and just over a week ago, he decided to commit to a high school in Massachusetts that plays in the Evergreen League, which features 16 peer schools spread across New England.
“I am extremely excited,” said Agostini. “It’s a crazy opportunity and I am ready to step up.”
The decision to go across the border to expand his education and football career wasn’t an easy one for the six-foot-six, 230-pound lineman. He did harbour some mixed feelings because it meant leaving his longtime Whalers teammates, coaches, parents and friends.
“The gravity of my choice, I realized, that if I decided I wanted to go, I would have to leave behind my friends and my family,” said Agostini. “But to be great, sacrifices have to be made and that’s something I am willing to do. It is tough.”
Last season, Agostini made a strong impression on the field and it earned him the MVP in defence in the BC High School Football Coastal AA Conference. He was also selected to play in the BC Senior Varsity Football Subway Bowl Coastal All-Star game and last May saw action at the CFL Prospect Game with Team Dunnigan.
Whalers head coach Jeremy Conn said the Whalers are sad to lose Agostini but at the same time are extremely happy to see him receive an opportunity to develop his game.
“It’s tough to lose him as he is a great player and we had big plans for him in his senior year,” said Conn. “He is the type of player that does not come around often and can make a big difference. We understand why he is going and it’s a great opportunity for him to pursue. I think it also reflects well on our program for all the exposure he got through Ballenas Whalers Football that helped open the door for him to get this opportunity.”
Agostini is a product of the Oceanside Lions Youth Football program, where he first learned how to play at the age of seven. When he entered high school, Agostini, who was already tall, attended one of the Whalers practices.
“When I first met Enzo I was excited to have him join the team,” Conn recalled. “And then I found out he was only in Grade 7 and was going to be playing with Oceanside (Lions) for two more years. He has always been one of the taller kids with great athletic ability and now he has worked hard to be in this position.”
Agostini is grateful for the support, education and care given to him by the many coaches and trainers, as well as teachers and teammates.
“They’ve been there for me and helped me develop my potential,” said Agostini. “I worked so hard and continued to play football because I realize the scholarship opportunity. Always being big, you have more opportunity in football. Not everybody gets a chance to be six-foot-six and 230 pounds when they’re 16 years old. I want to fulfil my potential and really go for it and apply myself.”
Agostini is also a dedicated and committed student. He said it’s one of the reasons he got recruited.
“I plan to work even harder because I want to get a football scholarship,” said Agostini. “Hard work, determination and drive, you can’t replace them with anything.”
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