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Ty Castillo has shot to be first WLC player to reach NFL
Ty Castillo looks to make a tackle for the WLC Warriors. (Credit: WLC Athletics)

Ty Castillo has shot to be first WLC player to reach NFL

MILWAUKEE (BVM) — Ty Castillo established himself as one of the best football players in Division III, leading all of D-III in solo tackles. The 6-foot, 195-pound athlete is now set on becoming the first Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) player to be drafted. 

Castillo never had any interest in playing football at a young age. But with a ball of energy and built-up anger, Castillo’s parents introduced him to football.

“I originally started playing football in Georgia,” Castillo said. “The sport was first introduced to me when I was 6 years old, and I didn’t even want to play at first. I was revved up as a kid, to say the least, so my parents thought football was a good way to channel my energy and anger.”

ty Castillo wlc nfl draft
Ty Castillo is driven to make his professional football dreams come true. (Credit: Joanna Grahn)

Castillo took a liking to it after a couple of years, and he began to excel on the defense. 

“I wasn’t the best, but the one thing I knew how to do was tackle,” Castillo said. “I’ve been playing defense pretty much my whole life.”

Castillo continued to showcase his talents on the football field, but he’d do that at different schools with his father in the military. He eventually landed at Palmetto High School, where he continued to shine on the gridiron and realized he wanted to continue his athletic career at the collegiate level. He ultimately decided to attend WLC.

Castillo recorded 38 total tackles (four for loss) after arriving in Milwaukee. Alongside a great start to his collegiate career, he learned valuable lessons off the field. Defensive coordinator Steve Donovan helped him recognize there can be other paths to success.

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Ty Castillo in action for the WLC Warriors. (Credit: WLC Athletics)

“Coach Donovan has helped a lot, especially because he’s been my coach since 2018,” Castillo said. “What helped me the most had nothing to do with football; it’s the life aspect they instill with the lessons of football.”

His play continued to improve as Castillo took the off-the-field and on-the-field lessons to heart. His play reached a high point when he became NACC’s career tackling leader in his final season. 

With his collegiate days now past him, Castillo has declared for the NFL draft and set out to become the first-ever professional football player from WLC. Wisconsin native Mitch Skarban is the only player from WLC who has garnered an official tryout with an NFL team.

Castillo began his process by attending the National Scouting Combine. He competed against other D-I, D-II and D-III athletes being part of that combine.

“The combine was a great experience,” Castillo said. “It wasn’t the experience I wanted, but it was the experience I needed. I didn’t know what the whole process was like, so being at the combine was a good insight for me, and I got to know the ins and outs and what I need to do to get to that next level.”

Going to events like that can encourage or discourage athletes about their future. However, Castillo left the event with more motivation than ever. 

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Castillo said. “The combine opened my eyes because I was able to perform against D-I, D-II and D-III athletes; it gave me nothing but motivation.”

Castillo’s path to the NFL will be difficult, especially coming from a D-III program. He’ll do his best to stay in the right mindset and keep the motivation to keep playing football at the next level. 

“I realized how talented players are at D-II and D-III levels,” Castillo said. “I want to break barriers for those kids and shed light on how talented we are. If I can do that, it’ll mean more to me regardless of where I end up.”