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FIU Football: One-on-one with former FIU kicker Jose Borregales

FIU’s all-time leading scorer has transferred to the University of Miami. I sat down with him to get his reasoning and his favorite FIU memories.

UTSA v Florida International Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Jose Borregales’ FIU tenure will be looked in two vastly different ways.

One lens will view him as the program’s all-time leading scorer and the most talented kicker to step foot on campus.

He could have left it at that - but having reached all of his goals - and with the opportunity to pursue new ones - the other lens will show him as having decided to play for a rival in the crosstown Miami Hurricanes.

I sat down with Borregales two hours after he made his decision public on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

Eric Henry: What went into the decision to transfer from FIU?

Jose Borregales: Before I stepped foot on FIU’s campus, I set a couple of goals for myself. After this season, I accomplished those goals. I didn’t want to go back and feel like I was doing the same thing all over again. Also, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with a “what if,” I wanted to reach new goals and I decided to take a risk and play on a bigger stage.

EH: You mentioned playing on a bigger stage - can you elaborate on that?

JB: I’ll always be grateful for the diehards and those fans who chanted my name. That means everything to me, more than people can understand. But being at FIU and looking up at the stands, you see the diehard section 112 guys, a couple of students and maybe some kids who just went along. Sometimes, people don’t even go to the games. Playing football at any level, you want to play where you’ll be seen. Every kid has that dream to play in front of a packed stadium and I’m chasing that dream.

Miami v Florida International
Borregales made cruical kicks to help FIU beat Miami last season.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

EH: Growing up in Miami, did you always envision yourself as a Hurricane?

JB: I did. I went to their camps, I won a couple of their (kicking) camps and then thought they were going to look at me and that never happened. I’m grateful for FIU giving me an opportunity and without them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. I hold no ill will towards FIU or any of the fans who have made their feelings known, I understand and all I can say is thank you.

EH: If you could sit down with FIU fans personally, what would you want them to know?

JB: I’m thankful for loyal ones always being at the games and chanting my name. Even when I was having my slump, they still rooted for me. I know how much it hurts for me to go to a rival school but if they grew up playing football in Miami, you saw them winning back in the day winning championships and you get that feeling like, damn. Everybody goes to their games and I’m chasing my dream, this isn’t your dream - it’s mine. I’m truly sorry that I hurt them, it wasn’t my intention and I’ll always appreciate everything you’ve done for me.

EH: Did you talk to any other programs or was it just Miami?

JB: Miami was the main school. I also had conversations with Boise State, Georgia Tech, Oregon, Nebraska.

EH: You’re very close to your former special teams coach James Vollono. Did you talk to him before making the decision?

JB: Yeah, of course. That’s my guy and he’s the one who gave me the biggest piece of advice. He said that his dad told him if you feel like you’re done chasing everything that you set out at one place, there’s no point in looking back. That was eye-opening to me. It made the choice a little easier. I told him that I appreciate everything he’s done for me and that he’ll always be my guy. I know our paths will cross again.

NCAA Football: Camellia Bowl-Florida International vs Arkansas State
Butch Davis has been Borregales’ head coach for three seasons.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

EH: Did you get to talk to Butch Davis?

JB: I didn’t get the chance. I tried sending him messages, I hit him up by calling and leaving a message. I told him let’s meet up and talk about this in-person because I didn’t want to leave without talking to him personally and have him find out through other channels. But he never responded. I don’t know if he’s angry or disappointed with me, but the last try I just thanked him for making me the starting kicker at FIU. I owe him and all the coaches there everything I have now.

EH: You leave FIU as the program’s all-time leading scorer, what does that mean to you?

JB: It means everything. That’s what I came to FIU for. To be one of the best that ever kicked there and to be able to do so in three years, it’s...I have no words. I’m just happy that I was able to set those records.

EH: Now that your time at FIU is done, what are some of your favorite memories?

JB: The first one would be the Bahamas Bowl. Me, James Morgan and Anthony Johnson had a chance to go swimming with dolphins and it was amazing. Especially seeing those guys scared of the dolphin swimming towards them, it kind of scared me too because in your head you think it’s a damn shark or something. Then, the Western Kentucky game when I threw a crack-back block and the UTSA game where I blocked their all-conference linebacker (Josiah Tauafea).

EH: What’s next for you?

JB: Just trying to improve my game everyday. I want people to know that nobody critiques themselves harder than me. The guys I look up to are Adam Vinatieri and Justin Tucker. Vinatieri is the goat and Tucker plays for my favorite team. So those are the guys I try and model myself after.