Zach Vigil Making An Impression

Posted Aug 17, 2015

Thanks to several strong performances on the field and his unique hairstyle off of the field, rookie linebacker Zach Vigil has been garnering plenty of attention over the past few weeks.

Zach Vigil has been getting a lot of attention lately around Dolphins training camp.

He’s been getting more and more opportunities during practice, looked impressive during the intrasquad scrimmage at FIU and then turned in a solid showing in the preseason opener against the Chicago Bears.

Vigil is one of four rookie free agents the Dolphins have at linebacker this summer, but he’s the one who has stood out because of his instincts and his knack for being around the ball.

But when he was surrounded by reporters after practice Monday and was asked what he thought was the first thing fans would notice about him on the field, his answer had nothing to do with football.

“Probably my horrible hair,” he answered quickly.

As the media around him laughed, Vigil proceeded to explain that his brown hair is the longest it’s ever been and that he decided to grow it out on a whim.

He also was quick to point out he sees no magic powers in it and that it might be gone quickly.

“This? Shoot, I don’t know,” Vigil said. “We’ll see how things go. One of those days, if it’s too hot out here, it’s going off. I promise you that. I’m not that attached to it.

“I just really haven’t taken the time to go get it done yet. We’ll see how much longer it lasts.”

It’s not just the long hair that’s different for Vigil these days.

For the first time in three years, his brother isn’t lining up at linebacker next to him. See, Zach’s younger brother Nick also was a linebacker at Utah State.

While two brothers playing next to each other always makes for a nice story, the Vigils actually were stars. Both of them.

As Dolphins fans might know by now, Zach was selected as the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. Guess who else was a member of the All-MWC first-team defense: Yep, Nick Vigil.

“Man, that was awesome,” Zach said of playing next to his brother. “That was something that not a lot of brothers get to experience together. You know, I miss playing with my brother. I was able to play with him for two years. We started together last year and that was special. And that’s something, whether I play for 15 more years or if I never play again, that I’ll always hold real close to my heart because I love my little brother and I wish him the best this coming year.”

Nick Vigil will be a junior at Utah State this fall and will be looking to continue doing the family name proud.

In the meantime, Zach will be trying to make a name for himself in the NFL and with the Dolphins. Zach said he was hoping that at some point he also could develop a close bond with a fellow linebackers, something along the lines of what he had with his brother.

“I do miss that close camaderie because he and I were very competitive and very combative, how we talked to each other,” Zach said. “I haven’t found anybody quite to my brother’s level that I can talk to like that yet.”

Zach did find a familiar face after signing with the Dolphins, that being Will Davis.

The third-year Dolphins cornerback was a senior at Utah State in 2012 when Vigil became a starter as a sophomore.

“He was just one of those hard-nosed hard workers, always trying to get his nose somewhere on the ball,” Davis said. “He was good. We loved him. He was great. He kind of led as far as the front seven at the time. He put everybody in the front seven in the right place. He was solid, somebody to depend on.”

Vigil, however, was considered an overachiever at Utah State, something evidenced by the fact he joined the football team as a walk-on. Nick, on the other hand, was considered a star in the making from his high school days.

But Zach never let anything get in his way, not on the field or off. While he went from walk-on to redshirt freshman to ultimately MWC Defensive Player of the Year as a linebacker, he also graduated from USU in the spring of 2014 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and earned his second bachelor's degree in business administration in the summer of 2015.

In some ways, Vigil shares some similarities with a former Dolphins linebacker who had the same first name.

And when classic overachiever Zach Thomas spoke to the Dolphins players at camp last week, Vigil made sure he was paying attention.

“Zach wasn’t the best athlete or anything like that, but he was a smart player, he worked hard every day,” Vigil said. “And that’s anybody who ever played with him that I’ve talked to anyways, and that’s the vibe you get from Zach. He was a smart guy and he just pretty much said (if) you’re going to come in here you’ve got to work. It’s a flash. No matter if you play for one year or whether you play for 12 years, it’s still a flash in the pan. So when you’re here you might as well make the most of it.”

Vigil undeniably is off to a good start in that end. The challenge for him is to keep it up.

With or without the long hair.
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