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Welsh signs with Southwest Baptist

Michael Welsh has been active in Christ the King Lutheran Church when he isn’t playing sports for Fallbrook High School.

His Christian commitments and his football skills earned him a scholarship to Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO.

“Michael’s a great kid all around, good football player, great citizen,” said Southwest Baptist head football coach Keith Allen. “He’s a young man we think is going to fit great into our Christian environment at our university.”

Welsh signed his letter of intent February 4. “It was the right fit for me,” he said.

The Christian environment played a major role in Welsh’s selection of Southwest Baptist. He was also considering options at Ouachita Baptist in Arkansas, Bethel University in Minnesota, and Liberty University in Virginia.

One advantage of Southwest Baptist is that it offers the intercultural studies major Welsh desired.

Southwest Baptist’s football team has a similar offense to Fallbrook High School’s, and Welsh also has the opportunity to play early in his college career.

“We think he’s going to come in and be in a position to compete right away,” Allen said.

Welsh likely will start his college career backing up quarterback Steve Gauchette, who will be a junior in 2009.

Gauchette was the 2008 Offensive Player of the Year for the All-Independents Collegiate Athletic Association, which consists of the NCAA Division II football teams not affiliated with a conference.

“He’s going to be a tough one to beat out, but we think Michael will be able to come in and compete and contribute right away,” Allen said.

Allen indicated that Welsh may see time on the special teams unit as a true freshman. “He’s an athlete,” Allen said of Welsh.

During the 2008 high school football season, Welsh completed 128 of 225 passes for 1,754 yards and 16 touchdowns. He earned second-team Avocado League honors.

“Under Coach Silvey, it all came together,” Welsh said.

“He improved tremendously over the course of the season,” said Fallbrook High School football coach Joe Silvey. “He worked very hard and was very receptive to coaching, and I think the results of that showed on the field.”

Welsh was 6 when his family moved from Carlsbad to Fallbrook. He was homeschooled through the Iowa Street School program before attending Potter Junior High School.

Welsh was 7 when he began playing Fallbrook Pop Warner. He was on Fallbrook High School’s freshman football team in ninth grade, the junior varsity squad as a sophomore, and the varsity for his final two years.

He didn’t play any winter sports at Fallbrook High School and played three different spring sports, spending ninth grade on the volleyball team, tenth grade on the lacrosse squad, and eleventh grade with the rugby club.

He will not play any spring sports this year due to his football commitment.

Welsh’s church activities have sent him to Africa the past two summers for a pair of 14-day trips with Heart of Africa.

He also has been spending Thanksgiving weekend at an orphanage in Mexico, although he was unable to do that in 2008 since Fallbrook High School reached the second round of the CIF football playoffs.

“He’s a real impressive young man. He does a lot of work in the community,” Silvey said.

“We’re excited he’s going to be a part of the Bearcat program,” Allen said.

Southwest Baptist finished the 2008 season with a 5-6 record. Allen signed 28 recruits for the 2009 season. “We think it’s going to be a great recruiting class,” Allen said.

“I’m just very proud of him and wish him well,” Silvey said.

Welsh noted that he had dreamed of playing college football. “I never thought it was actually going to happen, and now it’s finally going to happen,” he said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for me.”

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