With virtually half his family in the military, Chuck Filiaga had no doubt that he wanted to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl when the invitation came.
“It’s an honor to be invited to the Army Bowl and represented out troops,” he said. “Given all of my family involved in military service in the Army and Marines and Coast Guard, it really does mean a lot to me.”
Filiaga started his high school career in Southern California as a 6-6, 275-pound defensive end, but now is a 6-7, 330-pound left tackle who attends Aledo, Texas, after transferring for his senior year over the summer.
Filiaga was honored at his new school Monday when the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance came to town and he got to share the moment with his family, friends and new teammates.
His grandparents live in Texas and his mother was forced to make frequent trips to help, so the family decided it would be best to move, especially with his stepfather retiring from the Marines.
“Family always come first for me,” he said.
So the big question: California or Texas when it comes to high school football? Filiaga laughed for a moment then paused to make sure he answered carefully.
“In Texas, the crowds are bigger and the intensity of the game is a lot faster,” he said. “It’s just more intense honestly. Football is everything out here.”
Despite the move, the college coaches are still finding him. He has nearly 30 reported offers and has already taken an official visit to Oregon and will be at Michigan this weekend. He also plans to take officials to Nebraska and Oklahoma. He also has made unofficial visits to Ole Miss, Texas and Texas A&M this fall.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting the coaches and getting to know them on a personal level as the person inside of the game and also learning how they want you to perform,” he said.
His transition has been helped by the fact that the Aledo coaches are largely using him in the same way as his coaches at Vista Murrieta with some adjustments to his stance.
“The big thing was the heat, but everything else fell in place quickly as I came out here,” he said. “The football team made me feel welcome real quickly and the community support here is amazing. It really wasn’t that much of an adjustment.”
He also learned something about his new hometown following the death of 15-year-old Aledo student Trenten Darden, who collapsed and died after basketball practice in late August.
“This community supports the entire school no matter what happens and pulls together and cares about each other,” he said. “When Trenten died, it made an impact on everybody. I heard a lot of good things about him and wanted to get to know him, but I never had the chance.”