Eagles Sign Army Vet

Posted on May 27, 2014 by

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The Philadelphia Eagles recently signed Captain Alejandro Villanueva, a six foot, nine inch, 277 pound Army Ranger. He plays defensive lineman and recently worked out at the Super Regional Combine in Detroit. The Eagles liked what they saw in him and signed him to a rookie free-agent deal.

He served three tours in Afghanistan, which amounted to six years. He was born in Michigan but mostly lived in Spain, where he played rugby. While attending high school in Belgium, he picked up football.

He went on to play at West Point for college. He played wide receiver for the Black Knights. He was their leading wide receiver with 34 catches for 522 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was their senior offensive captain. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in science and systems engineering.

He joined the Army on 22 May 2010 as a 2nd Lieutenant in Infantry.

According to phillymag.com, he has received the following medals: the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, the Bronze Star Medal for overseas service, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with the Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Expert Infantryman’s Badge.

“As soon as I graduated, especially with all my classmates at West Point who were all going to serve, my mind and my heart were going to Afghanistan. That’s where I wanted to be. I wanted to serve. I wanted to see combat. I was actually trying to get as many deployments as I could and see it with different units. That’s where my mind and my heart was,” Villanueva said.

“And even without his post-college heroics, or his West Point background, Villanueva’s tale is an interesting one. The son of a Naval officer, he played only two years of high school football, both in Belguim, and started at left tackle as a junior, then became Army’s top wideout as a senior, while also having taken snaps at left guard, tight end and defensive end over his four years. In 2009, he was the Black Knights’ leader with five touchdown catches, and the tallest player in major college football. As he said, at that point, his focus shifted to more serious battlefields. After his tryout with the Bengals, he went to Ranger school and Airborne school, and was deployed to Afghanistan in the spring of 2011. He went again in 2012, and again last year, all the while never losing his passion for football,” Albert Breer said about him.

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