St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) is expected to have another strong defense this year lead by ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive end Joey Bosa.
However another rising junior has stepped up as well this offseason and linebacker Lance Virgile continues to impress. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound tackler recently ran a 4.65 at the Elite Scouting Services combine and also received his first scholarship offer from West Virginia.
"It was very exciting because not only is it my first offer but it comes from a really good program, so it tells me that someone is watching," Virgile said. "They recruit a lot of players from Broward, I know Ivan McCartney, spoke to him a bunch of times back in the day."
West Virginia assistant Robert Gillespie has quickly developed a strong relationship with the linebacker.
"I'm dealing with Coach [Robert] Gillespie and we talk like we're old friends these days," Virgile said. "He loves my versatility. The way I can attack the run, come up on the line, cover the passing game and just do a lot of different things."
Virgile should have plenty of visitors in the spring as Florida State, Miami, UCF, Wisconsin, Boston College and a couple of more have informed him that they will come visit during spring practice.
Virgile was able to attend FSU's junior day last month.
"I liked it, I really liked what I saw," Virgile said. "I went up there with a lot of teammates and met the coaches. Coach [Eddie] Gran is a great man, loved talking with him."
This offseason has been one of reflection for Virgile and his teammates as St. Thomas Aquinas, arguably the state's most successful program in the last 10 years, was dismissed in the third round of the Class 7A playoffs after a 7-6 loss to Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.).
"We are torturing ourselves right now," Virgile said about the offseason workouts. "We can make all the mistakes in the offseason so we don't make mistakes during the season and don't end up sitting at home again."
"It was a painful loss, a loss that never should have happen and those of us that are back look at this as a second chance to represent Aquinas football."