Alex Anzalone: What the doctor ordered?

LB/ATH Alex Anzalone

Pennsylvania athlete Alex Anzalone is one of the best linebackers in the nation, and has the offer list to show for it. Last month, Stanford joined schools including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC in offering the 6-foot-3, 225-pound two-way player.

The Cardinal offered Alex Anzalone in late February after new inside linebackers coach David Kotulski got a chance to review Anzalone's film. Kotulski and the Stanford staff were so impressed with what they saw that they not only offered Anzalone at his primary position, linebacker, but also expressed interest in the four-star recruit at running back.

"They wanted him to see my film, whoever the new coach would be, before they offered me, but they ended up offering me and I guess they like me at running back too," said Anzalone, Scout.com's No. 10 OLB in the country. "I think it's whichever I'm more comfortable doing. I think it's pretty neat that they offered me at running back as well."

Although Anzalone feels that his best chance to thrive on the professional level may be at linebacker, he's also excited about the possibility of trying offense.

"NFL-wise it seems to me that I'd have a better chance at linebacker, but it would be pretty cool playing running back," said Anzalone, who added that Stanford has yet to discuss playing both ways. "I'm pretty open to anything right now."

Since Stanford offered Anzalone, Cardinal coaches Mike Sanford and Kotulski have been in regular contact with him.

"We've just been communicating through Facebook," Anzalone said. "I've been talking to Coach Sanford and also I had a really long, probably like 40-minute conversation with Coach Kotulski [a few nights ago], so we've been speaking pretty frequently."

Next week, Anzalone will get to meet Sanford and Kotulski in person when he visits Stanford, USC and UCLA on a West Coast swing.

"I'm leaving this upcoming Sunday, I think it's the 1st," Anzalone said. "We're flying into [the Bay Area] and I think we may do a meeting or something and see everything by myself and sit through a couple of meetings on Monday and then we're probably going to go to UCLA on that Tuesday and USC too. Then we'll probably drive back up to Palo Alto for the Junior Day."

Well aware of Stanford's academic reputation, Anzalone is eager to learn more about life as a Cardinal football player during his visit.

"Obviously the academics are really strong and the program has been doing really good recently, so I guess just seeing everything," Anzalone said of his goals for the Stanford visit. "I'm not familiar with Stanford, so I want to see everything. The academic support, the campus life, how the coaches coach, so pretty much everything."

Anzalone's West Coast swing could go a long way toward helping him determine how Stanford will factor into his recruitment.

"I think my recruitment is pretty open right now," Anzalone said. "I haven't visited all of these major schools, so I definitely want to take my time and see everything before I actually make a decision."

Anzalone said that it would be convenient to make a commitment before his senior season, but he might extend his recruitment and take his official visits should circumstances dictate. When Anzalone does make a commitment, comfort level with the school and football program will play a large role in his choice.

"I think it's just being comfortable with the coaches and the players and just making the right choice just by making sure it's the right choice, because I'm not a big fan of decommitting," Anzalone said. "I think it's just being comfortable with the players and coaches."

Although he hasn't gotten to know Stanford as well as he has some other schools, the Cardinal's academic reputation appeals to Anzalone.

"Definitely the high academics," Anzalone said. "That's very attractive especially for my family because my dad's a doctor and both of my brothers, one is in medical school and one is in pre-med. So it's definitely attractive coming from a family like mine. [It's also] powerhouse football in the Pac-12, so it's all-around pretty well respected." The family's academic emphasis has rubbed on to Alex. A potential business major, Anzalone is taking a rigorous high school courseload.

"My current GPA is 4.8, and I'm taking four AP and two honors classes," Anzalone said.


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