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HOUSTON Like thousands of other standout high school football players, David Wilganowski got the phone call he had been waiting for on National Signing Day.

But for many reasons, the day was just a bit different.

Back in September, the big defensive end at Bryan Rudder High collapsed during a game after his heart gave out. He nearly lost his life.

After being diagnosed with Long Q-T Syndrome, a heart defibrillator was implanted in his chest and his promising football career was over.

But Rice Head Coach David Bailiff never wavered and on Wednesday the full scholarship offer was honored by both sides.

We ask young men to keep their word to us, you know we say we re going to be with them through thick or thin. I think it s a good practice that you keep your word, said Bailiff.

Wilganowski says he ll still be working with the defensive line.

I m going to be a part of the team, but a different part of the team, he said.

His father, David Wilganowski, says he couldn t be more proud of his son.

I m really happy that Rice honored his commitment, he said. God bless Rice.

Wilganowski is scheduled to arrive on campus in time for summer school.

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