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Ex-Brooke Point standout has change of heart

A comeback in the classroom has led to a change of heart for Alex Figueroa.

The former Brooke Point High School football standout signed a national letter of intent with Division II Shepherd (W.Va.) University in March.

But Figueroa said he worked diligently to improve his grades, and on Tuesday he was accepted into Fork Union Military Academy. Figueroa said he’ll enroll in Fork Union on Aug. 15.

He plans to spend one semester at the prep school in Fluvanna County with hopes of landing a scholarship offer from a major Division I program.

“I expect the next semester will be like his junior year of high school,” Brooke Point coach Jeff Berry said. “He’s going to be heavily recruited. There’s no doubt he’s one of the best in the state. I believe when it’s all said and done, he’ll be a national recruit, not a regional recruit.”

Figueroa (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) was an All-Area selection at outside linebacker for the Black–Hawks last season. He was one of 400 nominees for the U.S. Army All-America Bowl.

He also played wide receiver for Brooke Point, but Berry said he’ll likely play defense at Fork Union.

Figueroa said he began the school year with a 1.5 grade-point average but raised it to 2.3 by the end of the year. He’s hoping to improve his SAT score at Fork Union.

Figueroa said when he signed with Shepherd he told its coaching staff he was holding out hope that he would improve his grades enough to get into Fork Union.

“Fork Union was the initial choice for me, but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” Figueroa said. “I signed with Shepherd in case things didn’t work out with Fork Union, but of course it did.”

Berry said he has already talked to coaches from Miami, Virginia and Virginia Tech regarding Figueroa.

Berry said he’s proud to see the turnaround Figueroa made because “it would’ve been very easy for him to give up.” Instead, Figueroa said he improved his study habits and constantly went to his teachers for extra help because “I wanted to make sure I got that second chance.”

“He’s was either going to go one of two directions,” Berry said. “There was no gray area. Either he was going to get it done at the final hour or he wasn’t.”

Now that Figueroa knows where he’ll spend the fall, he’s turned his attention to getting bigger and stronger. He said he’s a bit out of shape when it comes to running, but is lifting heavier weights than ever before.

Still, his most dramatic change has been in the classroom.

“I’d say the biggest lesson I’ve learned is not to be the stereotypical jock,” Figueroa said. “Being a student-athlete is definitely something to take pride in. It will get you a long way in life, and open up driveways for you to live the best life you can live.”

–Taft Coghill Jr.