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September 10, 2008When highly heralded Texas commit Kenny Vaccaro and his mom walked into Early coach Robbie Tindol's office a week after football practice started in August, Tindol thought it was a casual visit to see how Kenny's freshman brother was doing for the state-ranked Longhorns.
So much for Tindol's intuition.
"I had no idea, there had been nothing said," Tindol said. "Kenny already played in Brownwood's scrimmage the Saturday before. But with Kevin here and Kenny's twin sisters already here, they just decided to have everyone go to one school."
Vaccaro had decided to transfer from state-ranked Class 3A Brownwood to neighboring Class 2A Early. Vaccaro committed to Texas in February but recently told rivals.com he might visit LSU with former Brownwood teammate Stavion Lowe, who has committed to the defending national champion Tigers.
But for now, Vaccaro is having an immediate impact with his transfer to the Longhorns. His brother (freshman, Kevin) is a starting cornerback for Early and likely will be a future DI prospect.
The athletic Vaccaro scored four touchdowns as a running back and receiver in Early's 46-6 victory over Wall last week. And he figures to have an impact on Early and the Class 2A state playoffs all season. Early plays familiar playoff foe Clyde this week in a non-district game.
Vaccaro played in Early's season-opening loss to No. 1-ranked Cisco, but was still getting familiar with the switch to Early. Tindol said Vaccaro's arrival spurred some changes with Early's plan to use Vaccaro at linebacker rather than safety, where he's been recruited by Texas. Vaccaro played safety at Brownwood but often was pulled up near the line to stop the run.
With Vaccaro at linebacker, Early moved Bob Atchley back to nose guard and moved linebacker Zach Green. The moves likely will make Early a much tougher defense as the season progresses.
"Cisco has a great team and they got a big first-half lead," Tindol said. "We started playing much better in the second half, but were in too big a hole. We looked much more comfortable against Wall and to keep improving this week and every week is what we're looking to do."
Vaccaro's transfer hasn't been treated as controversial as some high-profile transfers can be. Brownwood coach Steve Freeman approved the transfer and the District 8-2A committee approved the transfer and waived the 15-day residence requirement to let Vaccaro become eligible immediately. Vaccaro's family currently lives in Early's attendance zone but Vaccaro had been a student at Brownwood for some time.
Vaccaro's mother Alesia told the Abilene Reporter News that she could no longer afford "to drive him back and forth" with the death of her husband a little more than a year ago.
"I had to decide what to do and I didn't want to uproot (everyone)," she said. "We've always (sacrificed) for Kenny, but I've got other kids and now he's got to sacrifice a little bit."
Vaccaro had more than 100 tackles with four interceptions at Brownwood last year. He was named the District 16-4A co-newcomer of the year in 2006.