Anthony Sarao: 2011's Football Valedictorian
Over the last couple years, it has been easy to take great linebacker for granted. Just in the last five years, we’ve seen some of the best line backing every Saturday. Looking as far back as of Shawne Merriman and Demarcus Ware, and as close as Aaron Curry, supreme linebacker talent introduced every season in college football.
As coaches prepare for the 2010 football season, they can’t help but look ahead to future prospects in the class of 2011. To defensive coaches that love a combination of blinding speed and unrivaled intellect, the future is in sight: Anthony Sarao is a perfect example what the future has in store for one lucky program.
Sarao set high expectations for himself and Holy Spirit High School last season. As the team went 8-3, and Sarao led the Spartans in tackles, those lofty expectations were met with the hard work of the team and player alike. While Anthony did like how he did last fall, he knows there is always room for improvement. The thirst for greatness only comes around every once and a while, and Sarao’s thirst is unquestionable. He hopes his senior leadership next season will motivate his teammates' productivity on the field as well as his own.
Every year, many potential recruits have their dreams dashed when they find out they are academically ineligible to move to the next level. It can be noted that there will be at least one player in the 2011 class that doesn’t have to worry about the NCAA clearinghouse.
Sarao sports a 4.0 GPA and is rightfully proud of it. To Anthony, decisions come quickly and easy in the classroom, but his recruitment might have to put in some more study time.
Anthony told me he has received offers from Boston College, Rutgers, Maryland, Stanford, Temple, and Nebraska. To pile more on this junior, an even greater number of schools have shown heavy interest in Sarao, but have yet to offer a scholarship to him. In order to narrow down his favorite schools out of such a large pool, Anthony said he wants to go to a school that excels in academics and has the premier ability to vie for a National Championship.
In order to truly get a feel for a college, it is always recommended to visit the institution so it is easier to make an educated decision. Sarao understands this is a necessary part of the recruitment process and has scheduled trips to colleges across the nation.
“I went to Georgia’s junior day not too long ago. Next weekend I’m going to Stanford and staying there for a couple days. I have already been to Connecticut and Rutgers for junior days. Also, during the football season I was up at Boston College,” said Sarao.
All those schools with the exception of Connecticut have officially offered Anthony. When asked how specific visits went, Anthony said, “Every time I went to one visit, everything was great. Georgia was a great time and I’m especially looking forward to the Stanford visit, I’ve heard some great things about it.”
Back on the field, Sarao used his self-described “speed and knowledge of the game” to tackle his opponents a total of 82 times in the 2009 season. While these statistics and those great attributes, Sarao understands he must work on his linebacker technique before calling himself a perfect player: “I know I have to work on my technique all the time.”
In addition to an already outstanding resume, Sarao let me know that he just recently was one of three linebackers to become first team All-American combine.
With Rivals.com Showcase coming up as well as many other visits, the end of the recruiting process is no where in sight for this linebacker out of New Jersey. Schools will gladly stand in line to be granted the services of this young talent.
Put above any of these off-field recruiting distractions, Anthony Sarao still has a team to lead on the field next fall. With the potential of this player, it won’t be the last time he’s given the opportunity to lead his team onto the gridiron. Who knows? Anthony Sarao may become a household name every Saturday a few years down the road.
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