Anthony LaLota, the 6-foot-5, 260pound four-star defensive end from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., finished his junior season with 40 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumbles caused. He played both defensive end and offensive tackle as a junior, but considers himself more of a defensive player.
"I think I'm really athletic and have good speed," he said. "I get off the ball quickly and use my hands well. I really get after the ballcarrier and passer fast.
"I'm still working on my pass rushing moves and I do a lot of speed training," he said. "My brother is a personal trainer and I work out with him like three or four times week."
LaLota has around 15 scholarship offers, but denies a favorite. He favors Virginia, Penn State, Rutgers, Stanford, Notre Dame, Florida and Michigan. Of those, the Irish, the Gators and the Wolverines haven't offered. He also has offers from Arkansas, Syracuse, Boston College, Connecticutt. Northwestern, Maryland, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and LSU.
His first offer came from in-state favorite Rutgers in February. He plans to attend the Scarlet Knights spring game on April 19, since they are only 45 minutes away. "I'm not sure yet if that's going to be a big deal for me or not," LaLota said of the proximity to his house.
"Rutgers has some of the nicest facilities I've seen," he said. "Their weight room is great and I like the direction that coach Greg Schiano has the program going."
LaLota also plans on attending the Virginia spring game on April 12 and has already been to the Cavs' Junior Day. "I really like that Virginia has great academics," he said. "It's one of the best schools in the country. I also like the coaches a lot. They are great guys and have a lot of passion for the game and really love their players."
Tomorrow (March 26), LaLota will be heading south to visit Florida. "Florida has a lot of the things that I'm looking for," he said. "They have a great team and won the national championship a few years ago. The academics are solid and the coaches are great."
He insists that the main thing for him is academics. "I want to go where they have a strong business program," LaLota said. "I also want to play at a competitive football program that does well. I'd like to get a chance to play early too.
"Once I'm really comfortable somewhere I'll commit," he said. "I just want to be sure I'll fit in with all the people and the program."
While LaLota hasn't scheduled any camps yet, he says he'll likely attend "three to five one-day camps during the summer."
One school that he's really interested in visiting is Stanford. "I think they are a program on the up-swing," he said. "They'll be a good Pac-10 team soon and the academics are the best. I've been to San Francisco before, but never Stanford. I really liked the area though, so I think I'd liked it there too."
Although the Irish haven't offered yet, LaLota says they do seem interested. "They seem to like me," he said. "They are recruiting me and said they are still evaluating things and that if they do offer it'll be within the next two months."
The Wolverines on the other hand, don't seem to be recruiting LaLota quite as much yet. "I haven't talked to their coaches yet, but they have been in contact with my coaches," he said. "I've heard great things about coach Rich Rodriguez and I think he'll do some big things there. They are traditionally known for being a great program and I like that."
LaLota denies followed a specific college through the years. "I followed the NFL," he said.
"A lot of the schools have things I'm looking for," he said. "Each one has something I like, but I've only visited two of them so far. I need to check out the others before I can really start comparing them and coming up with a favorite."
LaLota reports a 3.7 core GPA and a 1310 SAT (out of 1600).