Blue Chip, US Army All American New Jersey Linebacker Anthony Sarao is the ultimate prize of a pitched recruiting battle that has developed between the PAC 12’s two private schools – Stanford University and USC.
Sarao of Holy Spirit High School (Absecon, NJ) has been verbally committed to the Stanford Cardinal since March of 2010. He then solidified his commitment after navigating Stanford’s stringent admissions process.
But recruiting is similar to those 60 minutes on Saturday – it ain’t over till the clock hits triple zeroes. In recruiting, triple zeroes is the equivalent of the student athlete’s signature on his letter of intent, which cannot happen any time before February 2, 2011. Before that day, many twists and turns causing commitments and decommitments can and do occur every year. Such may happen with New Jersey’s top linebacker.
Stanford’s head coach Jim Harbaugh, the coach to whom Sarao gave his commitment, is now with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. He has also taken with him Vic Fangio who was Stanford’s defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. The Holy Spirit prospect had developed a relationship with the leader of the nation’s 24th ranked defense and 10th ranked scoring defense, and elected to keep his options open due to Fangio’s departure.
Sarao takes official visits to both USC and Stanford this weekend. Will he choose the stellar football tradition of USC, or will he follow through on his original commitment and go with the recent success and elite education offered by Stanford? His final decision is likely near.
Scouting Report: Anthony Sarao (6’1”, 215lbs) may be the most athletic linebacker in the class of 2011. His speed is apparent on film, as he repeatedly chases down quarterbacks and running backs in the back field. That speed combined with top-level agility also makes him one of the best pass-cover linebackers in the class. He absolutely was stellar in one-on-one passing drills against running backs during off-season scouting camps. Sarao will need to bulk up for the college level, and shouldn’t have too much of a problem doing so once in a collegiate training program.
In USC’s scheme, he would likely be a Will (outside) linebacker. In Stanford’s 3-4 defense, he would surely play on the inside. All accounts paint Sarao as a vocal team leader, as he made very positive impressions at both Stanford’s camp and at the US Army All American Bowl in which he was named a captain.
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