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Pitt football recruit Wirginis to miss senior season at Fox Chapel

| Monday, July 29, 2013, 3:51 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Knoch's Kyler Kenyon (12) goes airborne after a sack from Fox Chapel's Quintin Wirginis (33) during a game at Knoch High School on Friday Sept. 23, 2011.

Just a month ago, life on the football field could hardly get better for Fox Chapel senior Quintin Wirginis, who committed to play at Pitt amid a sudden swirl of Division I recruiting attention.

Then a workout about two weeks ago marked the start of an unfortunate series of events.

It all started with a jump ball.

Wirginis, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound tight end/linebacker, suffered a right foot injury as he tried to leap for a fade during a seven-on-seven drill — a teammate accidentally stepped on Wirginis' foot as the senior jumped. Doctor visits and tests two weeks later revealed that Wirginis experienced a Lisfranc injury, which involves bone and ligament damage in the middle section of the foot.

Because of the severity of the injury, Wirginis will undergo surgery Thursday and will miss his entire senior season with the Foxes. Wirginis, a three-year starter and the team's top tackler last season, said the full recovery process likely will take about six months.

“It's the worst news you could hear as an athlete, but it is what it is,” said Wirginis, who learned the full extent of the injury Friday. “Really, there are worse things that could've happened, though.”

Pitt's offer stands, said Wirginis, a two-star recruit according to rivals.com. He called the Panthers' coaching staff soon after he learned he'd need season-ending surgery, and he received assurance that he's still a welcome addition to the recruiting class.

Fox Chapel is less fortunate.

“I think everyone is taken back and surprised by it,” said coach Eric Ravotti, the first person to learn of Wirginis' season-ending injury. “It's difficult because we knew what he wanted to do this year. He wanted to leave his mark on this program.

“He's a team leader, and he's going to continue in that role, which will help the younger kids learn how to be leaders. But you can't replace him.”

When the injury occurred, Wirginis did not suspect any sort of serious damage. He continued to practice and waited for the swelling to go down after a few days.

The swelling failed to lessen, though. After a week passed and the foot remained tender, Wirginis wondered if he had broken a bone. Nothing too serious, he imagined. Just something that might sideline him during camp.

Ravotti said when Wirginis called with the full diagnosis, the team leader was understandably upset yet impressively composed.

“I think that he knows he'll have more chances,” Ravotti said. “This isn't the last time he was going to put on the pads.”

Said Wirginis: “I'm being as positive as I can. I look forward to kind of taking on a coaching role. And I'll still be able to lift and get ready for Pitt.”

Wirginis, who will have screws and a plate inserted into his foot, said he'll use crutches and place no weight on the foot for approximately five weeks after Thursday's surgery. He'll then wear a protective boot for five months; the screws and plate will be removed at the end of that period.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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