After I received this text from Sebastian Riella yesterday, I thought back to all that he had gone through over the last several years.
Very few true freshmen walk-ons earn a starting role for the season opener at an FBS program. But Sebastian has done just that after being named the starting punter for FAU’s season opener vs Oklahoma.
Early in his high school career, he showed college potential as a kicker. Punting was more of an afterthought. Then a serious injury which required surgery set him back a full year. During his senior season, dysfunction within his team/coaching staff caused him to contemplate an attempt to transfer schools. Fortunately, he called for advice before he made a decision based on emotion. He listened and agreed that the grass is not always greener elsewhere. He made several humbling but mature decisions, and stayed the course. He finished his senior year strong, both athletically and academically.
Along the way, we were able to help him with his development and his recruiting. Sebastian trained with us monthly at our South Florida location throughout most of his high school career. He continued to work and improve. He ended up earning Punt Champion honors at two of our Showcase events. He had scholarship options at a few FCS/D2 programs, but they weren’t the right fit. We used our connections with the coaching staff at FAU to make sure Sebastian had a fair opportunity to compete for the starting role. Paying in-state tuition and playing for an up-and-coming program close to home seemed like the right fit. He took advantage of that opportunity and will make his collegiate debut in front of 80,000+ in Norman, OK. Do your thing, Sea-bass! We’ll be watching!