Have Penn State football recruiting questions? Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers here.
Let’s take a look at our latest Penn State Nittany Lions Recruiting Question of the Day…
Who was the most impressive prospect at The Opening regional at the Jets facility in your opinion? — @107kUnrivaled, via Twitter
Last Friday, when we first tackled this question, I explained it would be split into a two-part answer. Instead of singling out one player at The Opening’s Northeast regional camp at New York Jets headquarters in Florham Park, N.J., we’ve approached it by identifying a prospect on each side of the ball.
In this case, our focus is fixed on the trenches. Hun School (Princeton, N.J.) offensive lineman Caedan Wallace, who estimates he’s visited Penn State at least eight times, shined at The Opening and was the subject of our offensive breakdown.
While Wallace was dominant, one opponent particularly provided a challenge and got the best of him on a couple occasions — fellow Garden State standout Antonio Alfano.
“It was a great experience going against Antonio,” Wallace said. “I see us both as really good players, so that opportunity just sharpens the way I play. We both talked about it after the fact, and I think he feels the same way.”
Both blue-chip recruits earned an invitation to The Opening Finals this summer in Dallas. They’ll reunite Saturday at Penn State’s Blue-White Game.
It will be an unofficial visit for Alfano, who most recently traveled to campus April 5. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Colonia (N.J.) High School junior told Land of 10 he is a fan of the “family vibe” in State College, adding “they really care about their recruits up there.”
The Nittany Lions offered a scholarship to Alfano in June 2016, shortly after his freshman year. He’s visited Happy Valley for several events and now approaches his final prep campaign considered the No. 1 recruit in 247Sports composite 2019 New Jersey player rankings.
Alfano backed up that No. 1 label at The Opening regional. He approached the action like a man on a mission, according to Ronny Torres, who works with linemen on The Opening’s national circuit.
“Antonio had a ton of energy from the moment he stepped through the door,” Torres said. “You know what — I’ll actually take it a step further. Leading up to the camp, he was reaching out to The Opening [Twitter account] and to myself. He said he was coming to [earn an invitation to The Opening finals] and even threw out a few testing predictions. He was fired up from the get-go and tested off the charts.”
Alfano registered a Nike Football Test rating of 124.80. He is the only participant who produced a top-90 score nationwide and weighs more than 257 pounds. That effort featured the following:
- 4.82-second 40-yard dash
- 36.6-inch vertical leap
- 4.27-second agility shuttle
- 46-foot power ball toss
“At his size, to do some of the things he did in testing is outside this world,” Torres said.
It’s clear he’s concentrated on maximizing his physical assets. In fact, Alfano told Land of 10 that he used State College High School’s field to train while in town for his most recent Penn State visit.
No days off, indeed.
When it came time to push around offensive linemen, including several who carry Power 5 offers, he didn’t slow down.
“During drills, he was the first guy going through, taking every rep he could,” Torres said. “At the end when [former New England Patriots star] Willie McGinest was talking about pairing guys up for 1-on-1s, it was obvious the alphas there were Caedan Wallace and Antonio Alfano.”
Torres said Wallace “lives up to [his] top billing” under the pressure of competition, and the same sentiment can be applied to Alfano.
“That performance speaks volumes about the kind of athlete and competitor Antonio is,” he said.
Alfano took reps inside and outside during the showcase. Versatility is a key aspect of his skill set. Just ask the college coaches who are recruiting him.
“It is actually funny. The West Coast [programs] want me at tight end and linebacker. The East Coast [programs] want me at D-tackle and D-end,” Alfano said.
He repeatedly has explained that Penn State projects him as an interior force. The Nittany Lions welcome Alfano, fresh off trips to Alabama and Georgia, back to Beaver Stadium this weekend, then this recruitment is a bit of a blank canvas.
Alfano shed light on his commitment timeline this week during a conversation with SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner. It presents a significant shift from the plans for a postseason decision he expressed at The Opening.
“After Aug. 1, I am locked in with the school I choose. I will know where I want to go,” he told Kirschner. “After I make my decision, that’s it. I’m locked in. There will be no official visits other than the school I am going to. I am not taking any official visits this spring. There will be one official visit, and that’s the school I am picking.”
So what will the right fit feel like for Alfano?
“I really want to build that family bond,” he said. “I really want to form that bond and get to know the coaches and the players and see how they like that school and how they are going to treat me as a brotherhood. That’s what I am looking for. A brotherhood.”
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