Cavalier Corner

June 2015

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BY BRAD FRANKLIN A S A THREE-STAR defensive line recruit in the class of 2011, Vin- cent Croce had more than 20 offers to choose from, but ultimately he picked UVa for a variety of reasons, including how the coaches saw him fitting in. But he had no idea in June 2010, when he committed to the Cavaliers over a host of ACC schools, that he'd eventually become a fullback and team captain. If anything, Croce's journey from defensive end/tackle to playing not only on the other side of the ball but in the backfield is a success story even before he steps foot on the field against UCLA to begin his final campaign. "Everybody makes plans in their lives," he said. "And you never know what to expect. I'm just grateful to be in the position I'm in now. It's been a really long road with a lot of changes." A 6-4, 270-pound redshirt fourth-year from Ol- ney (Md.) Good Counsel, he's had quite the road to travel. After coming in as a defensive end, he transitioned to defensive tackle during his redshirt year because the coaching staff thought he had a similar body and frame to then standout defensive tackle (and fellow Good Counsel product) Nick Jenkins. The change was short lived, and he made the move to fullback the following year. He remained there until injury issues at tight end forced another move. By last season, though, he was back to fullback full time with no real idea how he'd fit in. "I knew that there were a lot of different pos- sibilities there for me coming out of high school because I played so many positions," Croce ex- plained. "I had an idea of what I thought I wanted to do and what I thought I could do. I think I've just taken everything in stride and not gotten too caught up in how my own plans changed. I just take things as they come. Simple as that." Going into spring practice this year, though, he had no way to know that good things were right around the corner. After appearing in all 12 games during the 2014 season with most of his time spent on special teams, he again went to work. For his efforts, he was one of two players to earn the Rock Weir Award for most improved during spring drills, while also sharing the Iron Cavalier Award for his dedication in the weight room. As if that wasn't enough, he was also tabbed as one of four team captains going into the 2015 season. "I was extremely happy, and it's all very hum- bling," he said. "That I would be recognized for those awards and chosen to be a team captain makes me very proud, but at the same time the work is just beginning now. HARD WORK REWARDED Fullback Vincent Croce Is Ready To Be A Team Leader

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