It's been quite the weekend for North Bergen (NJ) linebacker Vin Ascolese.
Not only did Ascolese (6-2, 220) take an official visit to SEC power Arkansas, but he was also one of just 53 players named as Parade All-Americans.
"I actually found out when I was walking across the Arkansas campus and a Razorback fan came up and told me," Ascolese said. "How cool is that?"
Ascolese had 137 tackles as a senior, including an unheard of 57 tackles for lost yardage. He also had 12 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and three interceptions.
"I just feel really honored and very blessed," Ascolese said. "Things are going pretty well for me right now and I am very appreciative of that."
Ascolese, who recently played in the Semper Fidelis All-Star game, raved about his visit to Arkansas – on which he got an offer from the Razorbacks.
"Oh, man, Arkansas is awesome," Ascolese said. "What a great campus. I loved being around the fans. They have such great fans. I also loved being around the players and the coaches. This is what big-time football is all about and I can certainly see myself playing here."
Ascolese has a visit scheduled next week to Illinois and also has offers from Michigan State and Cincinnati.
"I am going to take the visit to Illinois and then right after it announce my decision," Ascolese said.
Ascolese admits to being a bit stunned when he first got off the plane in Arkansas.
"The first 20 minutes or so after we left the airport it was just all country and farms and stuff and I thought "oh, my goodness,'" Ascolese said. "But then as we drove on more we got to Fayetteville and it was a nice, big city and I though this is more like it."
Ascolese has carried on a ton of conversations with Arkansas fans via twitter.
"I love Arkansas' fans," Ascolese said. "They have such great passion for the team and are so supportive. It's been a lot of fun talking with them on twitter and then getting to meet a lot of them this weekend."
Ascolese got a chance to bond with new Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes this weekend as well as Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino and his lead recruiter Paul Petrino.
"Coach Haynes is really cool and really knows what he is doing," Ascolese said. "Coach Bobby Petrino and Coach Paul Petrino just are really knowledgeable about the game and run a great organization. It is easy to see why they have had such great success."
He was hosted by Razorback linebacker Ross Rasner.
"Ross Rasner is the man and showed me a great time and told me everything I needed to know about being a football player and student at Arkansas," Ascolese said. "He was a great host. I couldn't have asked for anyone better."
Ascolese is being looked at as an outside linebacker by Arkansas.
"They are looking at me as a Will linebacker and think that I have the opportunity to come in and play some for them because they don't have as many linebackers as they would like," Ascolese said. "They think I could really be a big help right away on special teams as well as playing linebacker."
Ascolese's granddad Vinnie led his team to the state title this season with his grandson leading the way.
"He is going out on top retiring after we won the state championship," Ascolese said. "It's been a great year for our family."
Vinnie The Hammer
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