For a guy who never played for the Gophers beyond a spring football game, Vic Viramontes made quite an impression on many Gophers fans. Much of it likely had to do with the fact that Minnesota was in big need of a quarterback heading into the 2018 season, and Viramontes had impressive statistics at a California junior college.
Let's look back before we go forward.
In 2015, as a high schooler, Viramontes made a verbal commitment to Michigan. Then, on National Signing Day in February 2016, he switched to Cal.
At the time, Brandon Justice of the Michigan football blog Maize and Brew wrote:
"In December, Michigan fans were surprised to learn that Viramontes, who had become a fan favorite of sorts due to his name, versatility, and highlight reel, had decommitted from the Wolverines. The rumors swirling around Ann Arbor were that Harbaugh wanted Viramontes, who could compete at quarterback, fullback, linebacker, or safety at the next level, to play a position that was different than the one where 'his heart is at.' "
His heart was at quarterback.
Then, despite Cal being skinny at quarterback, Viramontes left during the summer of 2017 and ended up at Minnesota, which was about to start spring football without an established starter.
Much was made of his arrival.
P.J. Fleck: “This guy’s unbelievable. You read his high school stats: over 4,500 passing yards and over 4,500 rushing yards, and he accounted for 95 touchdowns. When you talk about a leader who commands the huddle, commands the team, this guy is exactly that. His film makes you say, ‘Wow!’ ‘’
Sid Hartman: “Vic Viramontes, the California junior college quarterback the Gophers have recruited, must be pretty good or Michigan would not have offered him a scholarship before he eventually signed with Cal in 2016.’’
And then of his struggles in the 2018 spring football game and subsequent return to junior college afterward.
On his second junior college stint, Viramontes reinvented himself -- as a linebacker -- and became a three-star recruit at the position. There were hints of the past in stories about his recruitment, but the fresh start worked out.
Wednesday, Viramontes chose college No. 4.
The headline in the Las Vegas Sun: Why a coveted linebacker picked UNLV over TCU, Baylor and others.
"Vegas Vic" told the story in his own words in a UNLV football blog. Here's some of it:
"Over these last two years I have been through a lot of ups and downs. I have had to endure some bumpy roads where some people would have thrown in the towel and quit. I chose to make an unheard of change by switching from Quarterback to Linebacker less than a year ago. I had people tell me that I was crazy for making this decision, but I stuck to my gut feeling and was blessed to have been offered a scholarship by some amazing Universities that have outstanding football programs."
And some more.
"After praying about it and consulting with my family, coaches and mentors, I am very happy to announce that I am committing to The University of Nevada Las Vegas. I am honored and PROUD to announce that I will to be a part of the New Era and I am ready to BE A REBEL!"
We're not here to judge or mock or anything of the sort. Some day, this could be the ultimate football movie (if that happens, who should play Viramontes? And Fleck?) ... or the ultimate cautionary tale.