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rebels football:

Why a coveted defender picked UNLV over TCU, Baylor and others

Image

Wade Vandervort

UNLV Head Coach Tony Sanchez smiles with the repainted Fremont Cannon behind him at UNLV, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. The Rebels won the Fremont Cannon during a game against UNR on Saturday.

A photo from four years ago helped the UNLV football program land one of its most notable recruits in the five-year Tony Sanchez coaching era.

Riverside City College linebacker Vic Viramontes, a three-star recruit who reportedly also has scholarship offers from TCU, Baylor, Nebraska and Boise State, verbally committed to the Rebels on Thursday. The 6-foot-1, 235 pound Viramontes had 66 tackles in 2018 at Riverside College, and is expected to be a key contributor on the Rebels defense moving forward.

It is arguably Sanchez’s most significant get on the recruiting trail outside of quarterback Armani Rogers, a former four-star recruit from 2015 who is the Rebels’ most important offensive player.

So, how did Rebel coaches sell Viramontes on becoming a Rebel? It started with a photo of Viramontes with assistants Cedric Cormier and Ron O’Dell, he told Inside The Rebels. The photo, in which Viramontes is holding a UNLV helmet, was taken when he was on an unofficial visit to UNLV as a high school player, he told the site.

Sanchez saved the photo and sent it to him this month with a message: “It’s time to be a REBEL, VEGAS VIC!!,” the site reported.

Viramontes asked Sanchez during the recruiting process why he keep the photo all these years.

“Coach Sanchez looked me dead in my eyes and said, ‘I knew you were a special player and person four years ago, that’s one of the reasons why we recruited you then. I’ve kept the picture because I know you are going to do great things,” Viramontes told Inside The Rebels.

“That gave me goose bumps and it hit home, I felt a genuine love from Coach Sanchez.”

UNLV has 18 verbal commitments for its 2019 recruiting class, according to the Inside The Rebels recruiting base, which is part of the 247 Sports network. It says 12 of those recruits are three-star prospects, giving the Rebels the second best class behind Boise State in the Mountain West. The first signing day of the period is next week.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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