Manitoba nose tackle turning NCAA heads

Twenty-four scholarship offers and counting for West St. Paul’s Sevillano

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When Sean Sevillano Jr. moved from West St. Paul to Florida less than two years ago, he had visions of an NCAA football scholarship in his future.

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When Sean Sevillano Jr. moved from West St. Paul to Florida less than two years ago, he had visions of an NCAA football scholarship in his future.

Now, after 24 offers, including heavy hitters such as Ohio Sate and Notre Dame, already on the table and more likely on the way, the 6-2, 300-pound nose tackle has reached one of his goals. He is, however, resisting the impulse to make a hasty decision.

“Of course Ohio State is a big school and people look at that (and say), ‘What are you waiting for?’” said Sevillano by phone from Clearwater, Fla.

“In my mind, I’ve gotta do my due diligence. Make sure that it’s a spot that I can see myself in for the next four years and I could see myself around those people, which I do. I like those people a lot when I’ve talked to them. To me, I’ve gotta visit and I got to see the culture and I’ve got to see what the players are like.”

Sevillano’s official visit to the OSU campus has been booked for April 3-4. He’s also planning to make the trek to Notre Dame and the University of Kansas before he makes a verbal commitment in July.

Sevillano was due to start his high school career at Dakota in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out his entire Grade 9 season. On the recommendation of Winnipeg-based Recruit Ready founder Brad Back, he found a football home at Clearwater Academy International, a private school that caters to an international clientele.

At CAI, Sevillano found his niche. As a freshman in 2021, he registered 29 tackles including five tackles for loss and two sacks in 10 games.

As a junior in 2022, he dominated with 78 tackles (including 50 for loss) and 22 sacks in 11 games.

“I mean, 22 sacks from the interior defensive line, that’s unheard of,” said CAI head coach Jesse Chinhar. “I would say that the numbers were incredible, but shoot, when our centre’s mom passed away and the centre had to go home to Mozambique, Africa to attend the funeral, Sean stepped in and started at centre for us as well.

“So even as staggering as those numbers are, it would have been even better if he wasn’t playing centre for two games.”

Sevillano, along with fellow Manitobans Dallas Sims, a wide receiver, and Dillano Gulad, a safety, helped the Knights win their second consecutive Sunshine State Independent Association championship last fall.

Sims and Gulad are also considering multiple NCAA offers prior to their senior seasons in high school.

Sevillano said he was 11 when he decided to get serious about the game, playing in the Nomads, Interlake Thunder and Eastside programs during his formative years.

“I was 6-1, 310 pounds and I was very raw because I just hadn’t played guys at a high level before — at least not in games… But once I got down here you notice the speed is different, the speed of the game and the intensity is higher,” he said, describing his situation upon arriving in Clearwater.

“In my development, obviously playing against good players forces you to adapt and change so that that helped me a lot and there’s no snow around here ever. I love the game of football and I’m at the field every day and in the gym as much as I can.”

Chinchar expects the notoriety with college recruiters to continue to spike for Sevillano, who starts his senior season this fall.

“It was just a matter of time and then any time somebody like Ohio State jumps in the boat, everybody else pays attention,” said Chinchar. “(They’re thinking,) ‘Who the heck is this and what are we missing or what have we overlooked?’ ”

Sevillano’s work in the weight room would be difficult to overlook.

“I’m bench pressing 405, I squat 600 pounds and I dead lift 700 pounds, which I haven’t heard of a defensive lineman that does as much weight as I can and if they do, we can go toe-to-toe on the football field,” said Sevillano.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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