Fromer Lake Zurich High School classmate and current Indianapolis Colt, Anthony Castonzo
You know what scene has become all too redundant in football? When you hear about some high school recruit who is crashing the server over at rivals.com because he supposedly runs a 4.20 40. In case you haven't noticed, no one runs a 4.20 40 at the NFL combine, which to my knowledge is the only place where it is credibly timed.
So therefore, nobody runs a 4.20—not Deion, not Chris Johnson and definitely not some high school senior chasing jackrabbits in the deep South. In the end, it's all a run-around to make sure he gets signed by a big-time D-I school. Very few people do it the hard way anymore; and when it happens, it feels good to be a gangsta. Just ask Anthony Castonzo.
If you want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I'll give it to you, but I can't do it on the Internet for Anthony's sake. I mean, he's a certifiable professional athlete now. But what I will tell you is that Anthony Castonzo doesn't necessarily fit the description of your prototypical NFL draft prospect.
For starters, Castonzo's high-school football career was a far cry from that of the record-shattering blue chips that he will soon be sharing a union with. Truth be told, in his days at Lake Zurich High School, AC probably had more metal in the brace keeping his surgically-repaired knee in place (he sat out his entire sophomore year with a serious knee injury) than he did decorating his bedroom mantle in the form of trophies.
As an underclassman, he was big. And slow. As an upperclassman he was bigger, and although he could now fend off the process of erosion in a foot race, he still wasn't necessarily fast.
In other words, if you saw him wearing a Don Beebe's House of Speed t-shirt, you would have thought he bought it at the Salvation Army—that's about the best way I can describe it. So when his high school career concluded and Les Miles wasn't on the Castonzo's doorstep off of Midlothian Rd. in Lake Zurich like some bizarro scene from the Blind Side, Anthony took matters into his own hands.
Forgoing countless academic scholarships to widely respected universities across the country, he decided to attend Fork Union, which sounds more like a restaurant inside Ogilvie Transportation Center than a Military Institute in Virginia, but that's exactly what it was.
After dressing like a G.I. Joe and making his bed like G.I. Jane for an entire school year, Castonzo had finally blossomed into a legitimate D-I football recruit, and a good one at that. Virginia Tech called, Duke wrote and Boston College offered. Now it was like a scene from the Blind Side. Minus the whole adoption, overcoming illiteracy sub-plot.
The only difference of course was his ACT score (36), and his aspirations to pursue the field of biochemistry. He had the football prowess of the Icebox with the academic aptitude of the kid that was drawing up the "Annexation of Puerto Rico" in a double-breast-pocketed plaid. How could he lose?
He didn't. In two short years he went from receiving the same amount of attention from high school females as yours truly (none) to shaking up protein with Matty Ice and likely being surrounded by adoring Irish-Catholic girls in Beantown. He became the first true freshman to start on the O-line for BC in 10 years and eventually became a First-Team All-ACC left tackle. Even more impressive though, he was named to the Playboy Preseason All-America team as a senior.
Now I never thought Anthony Castonzo was going to be the first pro athlete in the history of Lake Zurich High School, or even fathomed that a kid with worse facial hair than Orlando Bloom would ever make it into Playboy, but he has defied odds.
Of course, when you're proving people wrong it always helps to be blessed with a 6'7'', 285 lb. frame, but that doesn't diminish what Anthony has accomplished at all. He finds himself as the first-round choice of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2011 NFL draft, and if labor unions lock him out, he can fall back on a 3.9 GPA from Boston College. Not bad at all for the city that was No. 64 on Frommer's list of "100 Best Places to Raise Your Family." Not bad at all.
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