December 22, 2011

Duke Comes to Texas

Christmas Day may still be three days away, but the Texas State coaches opened up their presents a few days early in the form of eight high school and junior college players who signed with the Bobcats on Wednesday.

Perhaps the biggest present under the tree is Santa Ana junior college quarterback Duke DeLancellotti.

"It was really exciting," DeLancellotti said about signing with Texas State Wednesday. "My dad woke me up an hour and a half before I had to sign. He was excited and I was excited, and it was just one of those things where I wanted to get it done and get one step closer to getting to Texas."

The Bobcats discovered Duke almost by accident. Texas State Co-Offensive Coordinator Mike Schultz was visiting Santa Anna C.C. to check out one of their offensive linemen. It was through this process that the quarterback in the highlights caught his eye.

"Coach Schultz was coming here to look at one of our offensive linemen and he told me that they were thinking about taking another quarterback, but they had another guy in mind," said DeLancellotti. "He came in and saw my film while he was watching my offensive linemen's film and he loved everything I did. After that we started talking all the time."

The Bobcats later extended a scholarship offer, and DeLancellotti committed after taking a visit to Texas State.

"I had a perfect time and I saw everything I wanted to see," said DeLancellotti. "All the facilities and people were great and the thing that stood out to me was how nice everyone was and how great the atmosphere was around the city. I fell in love with it right when I stepped on campus."

The quarterback position is one of the few spots in sports where a team needs consistently strong play in order to be successful. The inconsistencies at the position will likely define the 2011 Texas State football season.

DeLancellotti will be expected to come in and compete for the starting quarterback position right away, but competing for a spot isn't anything new to him.

"I bounced back from Cal-Poly because I had a good relationship with this junior college coach," said DeLancellotti. "They had a guy there that had started every game the year before who was supposed to be leaving, but he had a problem with his grades where he wasn't able to transfer out so he ended up staying to play another season after I had already made my commitment to play with them. It was an unfortunate situation for me, but I think I made the best of it and I did the best I could when I got in."

With the setback of limited playing time in the season where he's trying to showcase himself for division-1 coaches, DeLancellotti just tried to make the most of his limited opportunities.

"I definitely thought it was going to be a big red flag," said DeLancellotti. "My thought was that if a college coach saw that I wasn't starting every game then they were not going to give me a scholarship. At that point I just told myself that I have to kill it when I'm in and prove to everybody that I should be the guy."

"That was my mentality the whole season and my highlight tape really portrays that," said DeLancellotti. "I made a lot of good plays, and I think that was enough to catch the coaches' eyes."

With many expectations heaped on him by fans to come in and win the starting spot, does he expect to be the starter?

"That's my goal and that's what I'm working out every day for," said DeLancellotti. "I'm not coming in to hold a chalkboard, I'm coming in to earn and fight for a starting spot. That's what I'm coming in to be. I'm coming in to be the man for Texas State."

It's a little different situation from other teams where DeLancellotti isn't replacing a departing veteran, he's stepping into a team that, at least for now, returns the two quarterbacks who started games for Texas State last season and will be fighting just as hard to be the starter in 2012.

"It's one of those things where it's humbling," said DeLancellotti. "It's definitely a road block in my path to where I want to be, but that's football. Nothing's given to you and I've learned that over the years."

"I've had to fight for starting spots my entire career, and that's what I plan on doing again," said DeLancellotti. "Nothing's going to be handed to me. I have to come in and work my tail off, and that's what I plan on doing."

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