By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
Perhaps it’s the unlikeliest of friendships. Alex Villalobos is a senior at San Gabriel High School, a school more known for producing top-tier boys volleyball teams than Division I athletes. Kevon Seymour is a senior at Muir, which – in its heyday – produced Olympians and players in the NFL and NBA.
Villalobos is a wide receiver who made a name for himself in the West San Gabriel Valley, recording 802 yards and eight touchdowns on 41 catches for the Matadors.
Seymour is a 6-foot cornerback who last year lit up La Mirada in the opening round of the CIF- Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs, helping oust the defending champion. He’s since skyrocketed on many recruiting charts and is listed as the No. 9- ranked cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com. He has offers from nearly every Pac-12 school, to go along with offers from Florida and Nebraska.
CLICK ON THREAD TO CONTINUE READING
Villalobos – despite unparalleled speed, soft hands, likability and a bright mind – has gone overlooked because of his height as a 5-9 wide receiver.
Villalobos and Seymour crossed paths for the first time last year when the teams met in the season opener at Muir, the Mustangs getting the better part of that encounter with a 46-12 win.
The teams will meet against in their season opener Friday at San Gabriel, only this time there comes a new respect and even friendship that stems from one summer day while attending the same football camp.
Over the summer, Muir hosted a DI Camp, inviting some of the best area athletes to take part in a skills competition. USC offensive coordinator/running backs coach Kennedy Pola was there watching his son, a quarterback, take part. Pola quickly took notice of Villalobos, who’s garnered some interest from San Jose State and a slew of Division II schools. The first impression brought Pola to a San Gabriel practice to take a closer look at Villalobos, and he invited him to a skills camp at USC, where Villalobos again made an impression, resulting in an invitation to the prestigious Rising Stars Camp at USC. There, Villalobos went up against some of the best corners in the nation, who seemingly towered over him.
“But I started running routes,” Villalobos said. “That’s my thing.”
Near the end of the session, Villalobos was matched up against Seymour. When it was over, Villalobos said, he noticed Seymour’s shorts, which had a Mustangs logo on them.
“That’s when I figured out he played for Muir,” Villalobos said. “I knew I was going up against one of the best DBs. I had never gone up against someone so talented before.”
Seymour said Villalobos is a Division I receiver based on what he saw at USC.
“He’s got skills,” Seymour said. “I like his game, his confidence. He’s a real humble dude. He’s not cocky like a lot of the other receivers in general. There’s no doubt there’s a school out there for him, and I hope these schools recognize he can play. San Jose State can definitely use him.”
Seymour will play safety Friday, but if Villalobos breaks into the secondary, friendship no doubt goes out the window.
Sportsmanship, though, won’t.