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PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF FMU ATHLETICS Emmaus graduate Brian Velasco earned All Centennial Conference and All ECAC recognition last season. PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF FMU ATHLETICS Emmaus graduate Brian Velasco earned All Centennial Conference and All ECAC recognition last season.

Velasco shines at FMU

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by CJ HEMERLY Special to the Press in Sports

At a time during his junior year at Emmaus High School, Brian Velasco was feeling the love during the recruitment period. Division I schools from the Patriot League, including Lehigh and Lafayette, and the University of Pennsylvania all kept in regular contact with Velasco, and all wanted him to be a part of their programs.

But then they changed course, and decided to look elsewhere.

While Velasco could have gotten down over this, he kept moving forward, and with the help of his coaches, started thinking about the Division III route for his football career.

That's when Franklin and Marshall came calling, and Velasco listened. After visiting the campus and talking to the team, he knew that was where he wanted to spend his next four years.

The Diplomats have finished the last two season 7-4 overall and 6-3 in the Centennial Conference.

Velasco has been a big part of the winning tradition over the past three years. He started seven games, and played in all 10 as a freshman, leading the team in interceptions with three. He made 38 solo tackles that season and 49 tackles overall, including seven tackles for loss.

The following year he was named to the All-Conference Second Team defense after playing in all 11 games and making 67 tackles while breaking up three passes.

And his junior year Velasco was recognized on the All-CC First Team, and ECAC South All-Star First Team. He was fourth on the team with 62 tackles, including two for loss. He made one interception adn broke up five passes last season.

"It means a lot as a player, but also the coaches vote on if you are a good person off the field as well," said Velasco. "I was excited to hear the news that I was voted by the conference coaches onto these teams. I didn't even expect to play much as a freshman, besides on special teams."

The Diplomats won their opener last Saturday, 28-21 over Lebanon Valley, which was a conference champion a year ago. And the tough competition continues with a road game against Muhlenberg this weekend.

"It was a big win for us," said Velasco on the Lebanon Valley victory. "They were the MAC champs last year and are a really good team in a really good conference. It gives us a confidence boost heading into our game against Muhlenberg."

Velasco is also a standout in the classroom. The ex-Green Hornet is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major.

"I don't have much free time outside of class and football," Velasco added. "My day is usually waking up, going to class, grabbing food, do homework, go to practice, eat, study, and then do it all over again the next day."

Velasco plans to enroll in medical school after graduation in May. He is looking to stay on the east coast.

While all of this success on the football field and in the classroom came quickly, he doesn't forget his roots.

"Emmaus is well known for its good academics and teachers," stated Velasco. "I took some AP classes, which have definitely helped prepare me for the tough course load in college. My coaches and the talent level in District 11 gave me some valuable experience as well."