With many family members, friends and media outlets in attendance, Vin Ascolese III made his decision to attend the University of Arkansas Friday afternoon.
An Illinois and Texas A&M hat sat on the table next to the Razorback logo but it seemed inevitable that the North Bergen linebacker would choose the school in the top conference in college football.
“As soon as I got on the plane to come home, I knew,” Ascolese said of his visit to Fort Smith. “Coach (Bobby) Petrino talked to me about family and how he will take care of me, I felt blessed to have the other opportunities but Arkansas just seemed right for me.”
After going out in style with an unbelievable state championship victory
at MetLife Stadium, Ascolese now has the chance to take his game to the next level and represent North Jersey football against some of the best athletes in the country.
“I’m going to miss my friends a ton and Friday night games under the lights, I will miss playing for my grandfather a lot but I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to play at the next level,” said Ascolese. “I grew up with those guys I won the title with and that will always be special to me but now it’s time to take the next step. I am going to school 1,000 miles away but I will always be from here and I will always come back here.”
“I think it’s a good fit for him,” said Vinny’s grandfather Vin Sr. “Bobby Petrino is a family man, his brother offered to let Vin stay at his house as long as he wants if he gets homesick. He has a great opportunity under a great coach to play against the top teams in the country. I’m very proud of him.”
In 2012 the Razorbacks will play the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, Texas A&M, South Carolina and national champion runner-up LSU in the brutal SEC West. For Vin’s mom Susan, it was just important to see her son go somewhere he was truly wanted.
“Coach Petrino really got to know our family and that was really important,” Susan Ascolese said. “Going to Arkansas on a visit was such an amazing experience, you could tell they really loved Vinny and we all had a special feeling about that school.”
Vin said he hopes to play special teams right away and that he isn’t quite sure where he will be used long-term but his grandfather thinks Petrino has a specific plan in mind for the speedy 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker.
“He told me he needs someone to get after the quarterback,” Ascolese Sr. said of his conversations with Petrino. “I think he can be very effective both in that role and in coverage, with all of the hurry up offenses now in the SEC it’s good to have a versatile guy who can play in multiple looks and I think Petrino sees that in Vinny.”
It was certainly a day to celebrate but for Vin he said every day is now devoted to getting himself ready for college life and the chance to play in the best college football conference in the nation.
“I’m in the weight room every day and I’ll be ready to head down to school in early July, to be honest I can’t wait. Hopefully this is the start of something really big.”