Friends say Texas A&M lineman was great man first, football play - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Friends say Texas A&M lineman was great man first, football player second

Zack Spears Zack Spears
Spears Spears

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Friends of Joseph Villavisencio, the 22-year old Texas A&M football player who died Thursday afternoon in a car accident, say they'll remember a man whose love for football came second to that of his friends and family.

Villavisencio, a radiological health engineering major and a senior offensive lineman, was driving home to Jacksonville from College Station Thursday afternoon when he hit an oncoming 18-wheeler near the town of Normangee, about 40 minutes from College Station.

Villavisencio died at the scene. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured in the wreck.

Iowa State offensive lineman Zack Spears says football was but just a portion of his friend Joe Villavisencio's life.

"It just came up that Joe's the kind of guy that you want your sister to date or you want your daughter to date or as a parent you want your son to be friends with. He was a great guy, never got in trouble, big on academics, and just wanted to be your friend," he said.

Bobby Stroupe trained Joe when he was in high school, and says Joe was different than everyone else.

"He could instantly make everyone laugh in the room, yet he's most definitely the smartest kid in the room, and his work ethic is just unparalleled to any other kid I've ever seen. He's just a remarkable kid," Stroupe said.

Spears, an Arp native, never played football with Joe, but he says that doesn't matter.

"I know for me he was one of my biggest supporters. And I felt blessed to have him as a supporter. Someone who's never been my teammate in anything, just, you know, a guy I met. And he's always been one of my biggest fans," he said.

Today, Spears and Stroupe are remembering a talented friend who lived life to the fullest.

"I just want them to remember a kid that excelled at everything and did things the right way.You know, for me it's just hard to wrap your mind around a kid that was all-state band, was a valedictorian. On the day that he passed away was giving gifts to kids, doing charity work," Stroupe said.

"I have some sort of peace knowing the last time I saw him face to face, it was in Ames, I told him I loved him and I was proud of him. And he said the same thing to me," Spears said. "And I know that I'm not the only one that loved him and was proud of him, and I know that he knows that. I know that a lot of people were proud of him."

Texas A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne told the media yesterday, in part, "Joey always had a smile on his face and had such a positive influence on everyone. This is a sad day for Texas A&M and our hearts are broken for his family, his teammates and his friends."

Villavisencio's funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at the First Methodist Church in Jacksonville.

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