Lukas Vigil has been in love with football since the sixth grade.
Not particularly unusual for a kid growing up in El Paso, Texas, but when his family relocated to Durango three years ago, his career plans were slightly altered.
Vigil played football at Durango High School for three years - some offense, some defense, some special teams. Primarily a blocking wide receiver his senior year in coach Kyle Davis' triple option offense, Vigil figured his football playing days were over after the Demons' final game at home against Montrose on Halloween, a scary 42-8 blowout to cap an 0-10 season.
Regardless, he sent tapes to Adams State, CSU-Pueblo, Mesa State and Western State in November, less than one month after his final prep game. The answers from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference programs were universally the same.
"They had already given away all of their scholarship money, so the only other offer they had was a walk-on position," Vigil said.
His dream of playing college football with his older brother, Jan, a redshirt freshman at Adams State, appeared over, but his dream of playing college football was not.
Dana College, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in Blair, Neb., came calling last December.
"I wasn't expecting that," Vigil said.
"One of their coaches contacted me in December, so I sent him my highlight reel, and he said he liked what he saw."
From Adams State to Kansas State to Dana College, Vigil finally found his school.
"One of my goals was to play at Adams State," Vigil said. "After our season was over, I worked really hard in the weight room, lifting weights every day.
"(Dana's) recruiting coordinator called me out of the blue ... I really wanted to go to Kansas State, a bigger university," Vigil said after Adams State's scholarships had been given away.
"I'm really excited about this, though," he said.
Vigil said the coaches at Dana College are likely to move the wide receiver back to defense.
"My senior year I played mostly wide receiver, but they asked me if I would be willing to make the transition from wide receiver to defensive back," Vigil said. "I've played defensive back in high school, so it shouldn't be too hard a transition.
"I just want to play."
Davis coached Vigil for two years, and he used the player in several capacities.
"This is fantastic for Lukas. I'm glad (Dana College) recognized him," Davis said. "He might not be the fastest kid, but he'll go out and block for you and take care of business.
"The offense that we were running - the triple option - we had a big need for our receivers to go out and block on the outside. A lot of our big gains came over him.
"He's one of the best all-around athletes that we've had," Davis said.
Try as he might, Vigil had all but given up on college football after the RMAC rejections.
"The way my senior season ended - 0-10 - I didn't want to end my football career on that note," he said.
"I was real happy for him," said Davis, who resigned after the winless season. "This turned into a real positive for us.
"If anybody deserves this, it's him."
Good thing, too. Vigil has become attached to his sport of choice.
"Right when I started playing it, I got attached to it," the son of Kevin and Wivina Vigil said. "I started in sixth grade, and ever since then I've loved this game."