Max Ricci: It was a mixture of a lot of things. The coach's optimism moving forward with my recruiting class and the '10 recruiting class was amazing, and I am hoping that they live up the hype and BC can compete for a national title a few years down the road when we take on USC opening day. Also the coach's devotion to me individually to make me as good of a player as I can be was very reassuring that I was making the right decision, and I felt as though I wouldn't have that at a bigger, out of state school.
The campus and the stadium felt like home since the first day I stepped on the campus, and is set up very much like my current high school which made it very familiar.
BCD: Before you decided to give BC your commitment, what other schools were you considering? Did anything stand out to you about the other programs that piqued your interest?
MR: I didn't have any other offers, but I had been talking to the D-Line coach at Tennessee, who I was recommended to from my Top Gun camp positional coach, Todd Kelly. Another one of my coaches at FBU, the baby camp of Top Gun I guess, told me he would talk to Nebraska and UNC for me, but I never heard anything from them. The biggest thing that I liked about Tennessee was their reputation for graduating amazing D-Tackles, and the fact that they had the big college campus atmosphere with a 100,000+ capacity stadium.
Other than that I don't know the Tennessee staff as well as I do at BC. With more time that could have changed, but I connected so well with the BC staff I didn't think that was possible.
BCD: For the BC fans out there and the other programs that may still be targeting you despite your recent verbal commitment to Boston College, how would you describe your level of commitment here?
MR: I'm not going to hang up the phone on college coaches, and be rude, because no matter what the situation is, that is not the type of guy that I am, but I am very content at BC.
BCD: For those who have followed your recruitment, it's been mentioned that you are both an OL and DL prospect. Do you have any preference on which side of the ball you would like to play?
MR: I had always wanted to play DL, and I trained and practiced that way, but up until the end of my junior season, I was more just a big body, and didn't see myself having the speed and agility to play defense. But after working out with my strength coach, Mike Morris, I shaved a half a second off my forty, another half off of my shuttle, and completely changed my style of play, and started to practice as a D-Tackle instead of a O-Tackle.
I am not against playing offense at all, I would do whatever my team needed to win.
BCD: Do you think you're a little better at one or the other?
MR: I am way more comfortable with all elements of being an offensive lineman, but I guess that is what makes it somewhat boring. I am not saying I am a perfect offensive lineman because I am far from it, but there is so much to being a D-Tackle that I haven't learned that intrigues me, and getting a sack feels way better than pulling for a 60-yard TD.
BCD: Is defensive tackle what Boston College was recruiting you for? Did you speak to any other programs about what they might specifically be recruiting you to play?
MR: Yes BC is recruiting me to play defense, and I guess the chatter around the office is I am a future Ron Brace/BJ Raji type. My only other offer is from Bryant university and I am pretty sure they wanted me to play offense. Not too sure what Tennessee wanted me to play, could have been both? I'm not too sure.
BCD: Is there a collegiate or professional football player you like to model your game after?
MR: Not really, I like to watch all different types of styles, from [Indianapolis Colts' DE Dwight] Freeney's spin to someone like [Pittsburgh Steelers' NT] Casey Hampton's Bull Rush, and use them all to try and be a solid all around player.
BCD: You've played this past season on a very talented Lawrence Academy football team that's provided more than its fair share of D1 prospects. Where are the other guys going?
MR: Marcus Grant and Mike Orloff are committed to Iowa, Tony Knight is committed to NC State (going to be fun to play against him every year), and there are 3 or 4 more from my class alone that can truly go D1 believe it or not. Tyler Cardoze is going to bring in a lot of hype once his name gets out there, he killed at Top Gun, and his positional coach said he was the best Offensive lineman he saw throughout the country, so look for him to go somewhere big. Clay Horne, and Ryan Welch are just a few of the other names in my class that are doing big things, but haven't received the same exposure as Marcus, Tony, Orloff, and I due to injuries. They will be ready come season time and get their chance.
BCD: Did you feel any pressure to follow the other guys to any of their schools? Are you going to try to bring any of them along to BC with you?
MR: No pressure at all, but I do hope that someone decides to come along with me, but I wouldn't expect any of the current commits to be easily persuaded. No one on my team is really pressuring anyone to commit to their school, there is kind of a mutual respect to let each individual choose where they want to go. Even when Mike Orloff got the offer from Iowa, Marcus was simply saying, "I would amped if you came to Iowa, but it's all up to you. Make your own decision." That is kind of how everyone on the team approaches the whole recruiting situation, and respect all of them more for that.
BCD: Did you ever envision yourself playing D1 ball growing up? Any collegiate team you've always wanted to play for or were you just open to whatever opportunities presented themselves to you?
MR: Since I started playing football in the 5th grade I have been saying I am going to the NFL. I don't mean to be cocky, I just always say if you believe in your dreams and say it all the time, you have a chance to make them reality, but if you doubt yourself, you limit that window of opportunity.
I played for the Newburyport Clippers as a kid, and our colors were maroon and gold, so BC has always been that dream school, but I never thought it would be my first offer.
BCD: It has been reported that BC Head Coach Frank Spaziani put a time limit on your scholarship offer, which was July 31st. Was it a coincidence that you committed on this date?
MR: No, I kind of made that deadline for myself. I told Coach Spaz that I wanted to finish my summer how I planned to from the beginning, uncommitted through all my camps, and then I would begin to make my decision. I told him Top Gun was my last one and it was over the 24th, so the end of the month seemed appropriate. I made up my mind a day early, so I figured why make my team wait an extra day, so I called Coach Devine on the 30th.
BCD: Speaking about the recruiting process in general, what would you say is the best thing and the worst thing about being a D1 (pardon us, "FBS") recruit?
MR: Best Thing -- Personally the best part was finally being able to actively pursue my dream of playing big time ball. As a kid you can't really get offered unless you are a prodigy, and come junior year you finally get to start talking to colleges and pulling in those offers.
Worst Thing -- You have to deal with disappointment, whether it be false/fake interest from a college, a college that just spits lies into your face, or even just watching your teammates get all the attention and having to wait your turn. It> takes a lot out of you sometimes, considering it is one of the biggest decisions you make in your life. The NFL kind of makes that one for you [laughs].
BCD: Even the Pro-Bowlers in the NFL have areas of improvement to work on...so as high school football player making the transition to college football, what do you feel are the biggest areas of improvement for your game that you need to concentrate on?
MR: I need to start to trim up a bit, I may have gotten faster, but if I want to have a chance and tackling running backs, and quarterbacks with ACC speed I am going to need to lose some of the unnecessary weight I kept on as an O-Tackle. I am also concentrating on using my hands. Being as big as I am, I don't really need to have perfect form to make plays on a 6-foot 200 lb high school guard, but come college time, everyone will be as big and as talented as me so I need to get the edge anywhere that I can. Having so much experience on offense I think it gives me the upper hand, since I know where and how the offense is trying to block me.
BCD: What are your team goals for your senior season at Lawrence Academy? Any specific personal goals?
MR: Personally, I would like to improve my stats as much as possible, without sacrificing doing what is best for my team. If it would be better for me to just take on a double team and collapse the whole for my LBs to get the tackle I will do so, instead of trying to be a hero. As a unit, I know we are going for a complete shutout on defense. Zero points scored against all season long.
BCD: Do you have any goals for yourself at the next level?
MR: I would like to be a four year starter, and hopefully achieve not only an ACC champion title, but a national champion title. All of that is possible at BC, it all matters how much effort my team and I put into it. After talking to a few of the kids that committed with me, it seems like we have a really devoted class, so I am not worried about that.
BCD: Max, once again we appreciate your time and wish you the best of luck at the next level!
MR: Thank you.