Anthony Malaguti made plenty of plays as a sophomore linebacker for Bergen Catholic, which went 8-4.
The 6-3, 210-pounder can handle business on the inside or slide out to either side.
"I was at outside linebacker last year," he said. "I'll be in the middle this year. We play one of the toughest schedules in the nation, which will give us an opportunity to beat the best."
The Crusaders could make a big statement by upending Curtis in its own backyard in front of a national TV audience Friday.
Kickoff is set for 6 P.M. at Pan American Stadium in New Orleans. The Crusaders/Patriots contest is part of the Under Armour Brothers in Arms Classic. The event also features Mandeville vs. Spring (TX) Dekaney.
Both games were originally scheduled to unfold as a doubleheader in Mandeville. Dekaney/Mandeville will still take place at Sidney Theriot Stadium in Mandeville with action to begin at 7 P.M.
"We want to play good defense and establish the run," said Malaguti, who was named linebacker co-MVP at the NUC North Jersey held earlier this year. "I got 29 reps on the bench (with 155 pounds)."
He was timed at 4.68 in the shuttle and runs a 4.8-second 40-yard-dash.
Syracuse, Rutgers, Virginia, Ohio State, Florida State, Oregon and USC are among his schools of interest.
Nearly a decade ago, USC signed five-star LB Brian Cushing from Bergen Catholic.
Malaguti began his varsity career at another New Jersey national power, Don Bosco Prep.
Bergen Catholic faced opponents from New York, Nevada, Florida and Washington D.C. in 2012. After concluding the regular season with a 35-21 win over Paramus Catholic, the Crusaders dropped the playoff rematch two weeks later in a 37-34 thriller.
After facing Curtis, the Crusaders continue their travels. Week two culminates in a road game in Utah versus No. 40 Jordan. Bishop Gorman from Las Vegas treks to Bergen Catholic the following week.
Paramus Catholic, currently ranked No. 4 in the country, looms once again in week ten. In addition to Jordan, Paramus and Curtis (No. 24), Malaguti and company will square off with St. Peter's Prep, No. 27 in the most recent FOX Sports/Scout.com Top 50 national rankings.