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4-star DL Antonio Alfano focused on Penn State, SEC powers
Top-ranked New Jersey recruit Antonio Alfano frequently has appeared in our conversations at Land of 10 in April. The dynamic defensive lineman seemed to slow things down a bit after delaying a December commitment announcement, but he has picked up the pace this month.
Alfano, who starred April 8 at The Opening’s Northeast regional camp, traveled to Alabama, Georgia and Penn State during the past 10 days. Those are precisely the three college football programs he is seriously considering as a decision nears:
MY TOP 3 (Alphabetical Order)… I will be committing no later than August 1st!! pic.twitter.com/OWdhPNUHqt
— Antonio Alfano (@Antonioalfano99) April 22, 2018
Alfano’s Sunday evening announcement confirmed what he recently told my DieHards network colleague Chris Kirschner, who covers Crimson Tide recruiting for SEC Country.
“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.”
Those are strong words from Alfano, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound junior at Colonia (N.J.) High School. Based on that outlook, he plans to enter the 2018 season as a foundational member of whichever recruiting class he lands in.
Unless he chooses to use more unofficial visits to Athens, State College or Tuscaloosa, Alfano already might have had his last look at each campus prior to his commitment.
Alabama and Georgia previously hosted Alfano in June 2017 and welcomed him back to town during the weekend of April 14-15. He traveled to Penn State on April 5, then returned Saturday for the Blue-White Game.
“My family and I had a great time at Penn State [Saturday],” Alfano told Land of 10. “We had a great talk with Coach [James] Franklin, and my mother loved it.”
While Alfano was on campus, the No. 1 overall offensive prospect from New Jersey verbally committed to Franklin. Caedan Wallace, a 4-star lineman, pledged prior to the spring game.
“My boy Caedan committing there is awesome,” Alfano said. “I know he loves the school and I’m really happy for him.”
Those two battled at the aforementioned Northeast regional camp this month, and they’ll reunite in June at The Opening Finals near Dallas. Expect Wallace and fellow Garden State standout Taquan Roberson — a Nittany Lions quarterback commit — to work on bringing another New Jersey prospect into the class during upcoming weeks and months.
Alfano is projected to play various positions in college, depending on the coaching staff. He’s told Land of 10 that Penn State envisions his future at defensive tackle, a compelling outcome when considering an elite athletic arsenal (4.82-second 40-yard dash, 4.27-second agility shuttle, 36.6-inch vertical leap).
Nittany Lions RB target Devyn Ford makes a major change
Devyn Ford established a busy April travel schedule, aiming to research each of his top options before a scheduled May 18 commitment. The North Stafford (Va.) running back spent time at Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech so far, and was slated for a return trip to Columbus this weekend.
Those plans have changed, as Ford has canceled his official visit to Ohio State. This development was reported Sunday by Rivals.com’s Adam Friedman, who noted the recruitment is now a showdown between Penn State and Virginia Tech.
Land of 10 independently confirmed the news with North Stafford coach Joe Mangano, who added Ford had a “GREAT” official visit to Penn State. (Those are Mangano’s capital letters, not mine).
Ford spent Blue-White Weekend in Happy Valley, following up on a productive unofficial Penn State visit that occurred on Feb. 19. He was joined on campus by high school teammate Nana Asiedu, a tackle signee who will join the Nittany Lions roster in June.
“Having people that I know up there, like Nana and [2018 running back signee] Ricky Slade, makes me feel more comfortable because there are people up there I can relate to,” Ford told Land of 10 in March.
Penn State signed Slade, a 5-star recruit and fellow Virginia product, last December. The Nittany Lions haven’t yet secured a 2019 commitment at the position and, one way or another, Ford’s decision is likely to determine how Penn State approaches other running back prospects.
Ohio State hosted Ford during the first week of April. However, the Buckeyes added a second running back pledge last Wednesday when Steele Chambers joined Sampson James.
Friedman reported Friday that Ohio State’s handling of this situation may have proved costly.
“Ford doesn’t mind that Chambers is now a part of Ohio State’s 2019 class but he is surprised that the Ohio State coaches didn’t let him know they were taking a commitment from Chambers,” Friedman wrote. “Ohio State let Ford know prior to Sampson James’ commitment and that actually helped build trust between Ohio State and Ford. Ford’s camp is now questioning whether or not they can trust Ohio State and that plays right into the hands of Virginia Tech and Penn State.”
Virginia Tech took its turn in the official visit rotation to coincide with its April 14 spring game. The Hokies are favored to land Ford by 95 percent of experts’ predictions placed in 247Sports’ Crystal Ball but another positive experience in Happy Valley could help facilitate a late Penn State push.
Ford, a 5-11, 190-pound playmaker listed 68th overall in 2019 composite prospect rankings, earned first-team all-state honors as a running back and punt returner in 2017. His junior season featured 2,056 rushing yards with 32 total touchdowns.
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