Alex Malzone is finally starting to see buzz surrounding his recruitment pick up. The Birmingham (Mich.) Brother Rice quarterback added Wake Forest to his offer list a few weeks ago, and then suddenly in recent days Michigan began displaying renewed interest. The Wolverines hosted the in-state standout on an unofficial visit Saturday to make their position clear.
“When I got there Coach Heck told me that Coach Nuss was down in Florida because they have spring break this week. He is down there with his family,” Malzone said. “(Hecklinski) had me call Coach Nuss on his cell phone when I got there. Coach Nuss just said that they’re interested in me and they want me to come back up for a spring practice real soon. When the dead period is over April 15th they’re going to come see me throw. He said just to stay in contact on twitter and to call him every week or few weeks.”
“I was pretty much with Coach Hecklinski the rest of the visit. He sat next to me at the basketball game and pretty much didn’t leave my side.”
Malzone’s longstanding interest in Michigan is no secret. He camped in Ann Arbor previously and visited campus on several other occasions. Despite that his Wolverine courtship seemed stagnant. But that was before the change at offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Nussmeier’s arrival spells the beginning of the Maize & Blue’s evaluation process all over again. It’s a fresh perspective that Malzone welcomes.
“I was just going in to see what they were thinking,” the talented youngster stated. “I know they have a couple of offers out to some big time guys, but it looks like they’re going some other places. So maybe we’ll see happens after they see me throw.”
With that opportunity well over a month away, Saturday’s visit was more of a “getting to know you” session.
“It was great,” he stated. “There was no more than 10 people, so we got to spend a lot of time with Coach Heck. I talked to Coach Jackson and Coach Mattison too. It was pretty cool hanging out with them all day. Then we checked out the locker room and the Big House, and they showed us a cool video on the big screen at the Big House. But it was really cool getting to know the coaches and talking to them.”
Numerous other coaches are doing their due diligence on the relationship building front also. Malzone’s offer list is climbing gradually as a result, but his contact with other interested suitors has escalated more rapidly.
“It’s at eight (offers) now… Wake Forest, Old Dominion, and then it’s six MAC schools,” Malzone reported. “It’s Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Toledo, Bowling Green, Ohio, and Akron. I’m talking to a lot of coaches more frequently (as well). Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Penn State, Tennessee, Cincinnati, and North Carolina State.”
All those schools have picked up on what high school football observers in Michigan have known since Malzone helped quarterback Brother Rice to the 2012 state-championship as a sophomore back-up. He’s just a flat out winner. He may be 6-2 instead of 6-5, he may run a 4.7 instead of a 4.4, and he may have a good arm instead of a great one… but all of those attributes are enhanced by his intangibles. Simply put, Malzone makes plays when they count the most. He showed that again last fall when in his first season as the fulltime signal caller he led his team to another title.
“I’m definitely a pass first type of quarterback,” Malzone said describing his game. “A lot of guys like to say I’m a pocket passer, but my highlights this year or even if you watch me in a game, I think I proved that if I need to pick up some yards on the ground I can do that. That’s what a lot of coaches said that they see in my film and it’s something that they like. Obviously we had a great year this going 14-0. We had a lot of close game victories and beat a lot of great teams.”
“My biggest games were the first game versus powerhouse Cleveland St. Ignatius and then the state championship game versus Muskegon. I’m a big game type of guy. I like playing in those big games and stepping up for my team. I’ve always been a leader since I was younger. I’m not a big shouting or rah rah guy. I kind of lead by example. Other guys see that and respect that. That’s just how I’ve been. I work hard and I’m going to produce.”
Film and throwing sessions alone may not be enough to convince some schools of those claims. That’s why Malzone is going to dedicate more time to football this summer than he has in any prior.
“I’m planning on not playing summer baseball as of right now,” he said. “It’s just (about) getting ready for football season during the summer, or if I had to make some visits or go to some camps. So I’m planning on just playing high school baseball right now, which starts next Monday and will end probably the middle of June because that’s when the state playoffs end. March 21st I’m going to the Elite 11 regional in Atlanta. Then April 15th the dead period ends. I know through May there are going to be coaches that want to see me throw, so I’m probably going to be throwing once a week (during that time).”