Lookin' at July

"Florida is the front leader, but it can still change," Nick Alajajian said. "I went to their junior day and it was real good. The facilities are great and I liked the coaches a lot too. They are always in the mix for the national championship and that's great." The Gators are about three and half hours from his home, but he says that distance will not be a factor. "I was born and raised..."

Nick Alajajian, the 6-foot-4, 280 pound four-star offensive lineman (either tackle or guard) from Naples, Fla., gave up only one sack in 2007 and helped lead his team to a perfect 16-0 season and a state championship.

Alajajian hopes his team can win it all again in '08 and says that part of the reason why he plans to make a commitment in July. "My parents and coaches think it'd be better to get it out of the way," Alajajian said. "There's a lot of hype around me and they don't want that becoming a distraction during my senior year. I think that's probably a good idea."

He's not kidding about the "hype" either, as Alajajian is ranked as the No. 1 offensive guard in the country by Scout.com.

"I want to go to a school that has a good grad rate because academics are important to me," he said. "I also want a program that is heading in the right direction and has a great history behind them."

Although Alajajian maintains he's still pretty open, he admits favoring Florida slightly over Florida State, Miami, Clemson and Georgia.

"Florida is the front leader, but it can still change," he said. "I went to their junior day and it was real good. The facilities are great and I liked the coaches a lot too. They are always in the mix for the national championship and that's great."

The Gators are about three and half hours from his home, but he says that distance will not be a factor. "I was born and raised in Naples, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna stay here."

The closest school to Alajajian at just over one hour away is Miami and Alajajian says he grew up following the 'Canes. "I like their style of play and how they would just dominate people," he said. "They had a down year last season, but I think coach Randy Shannon is doing a good job rebuilding. I went to see a scrimmage there and was real impressed. They are working very hard and I think they'll be back on top again."

The only other school that Alajajian has already visited is Florida State (he estimates six hours away). "They have great tradition," he said of the 'Noles. "Coach Bobby Bowden is a legend and I heard Jimbo Fisher will be taking over when he retires and he's very cool too."

Alajajian says he won't commit anywhere without visiting a few more schools, specifically Clemson and Georgia. "It wouldn't feel right making a commitment somewhere without seeing more schools," he said.

"Georgia really impressed me last season, especially during the bowl game and how they destroyed Hawaii," Alajajian said. "They really beat them up pretty badly. They dominated them and made them look like a high school team."

The other spring visit he plans to take will be to Clemson. "I like their stadium, but I don't know too much about them," he admitted. "I really want to learn more about the program and I was actually surprised when they offered. I don't know why, but Clemson was always one of those schools I thought about going to. I remember being a freshman thinking, 'I wonder what it would be like to go to Clemson?'"

Alajajian says he has around 18 scholarship offers. South Florida, Central Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Iowa and South Carolina, among several others, have also offered.

His brother, Joe Alajajian, plays right tackle for Florida International University. "He's a good brother," he said. "He's real supportive of me. He says that I should take some time and make sure I get to know the schools well, but he also says that I should try and have fun during recruiting."

He says he can bench press an impressive 350 pounds and squat 450. Alajajian also runs a 5.2 forty. "I have great agility and footwork," he said. "I can finish my blocks and that's really what college coaches say they like most about me.

"I also don't take a play off and don't stop until the guy is on the ground," he said.

Although he says he's already pretty agile, Alajajian is working hard to become more flexible. "I want to improve my flexibility and have a better stance and explosion off the ball. I work out Monday through Friday and we train hard. I'm always running and lifting."

Alajajian reports a 2.9 core GPA and a 19 ACT.

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