Jon Abbate runs a 4.5 forty yard dash, benches 370, squats 480, has recorded a 10.9 in the 100 meters, can dunk a basketball, and more importantly plays linebacker. He recorded 96 tackles and had seven sacks for Harrison (GA) High School last year.
With those kinds of numbers, one would think that colleges would be beating a path to his door.
There is one stat that may be troubling to college recruiters, however. Though Abbate weighs in at about 240 pounds, he stands only 5 feet, 11 inches. Are many colleges holding off on offering Abbate because of his height?
"Actually, most of them are, but I'm going to keep playing hard and see what happens," said Abbate last Friday evening.
Abbate has gotten some interest from North Carolina, but so far, no offer.
"Last week, I went up to North Carolina, saw the [Texas] game and met with Coach Huxtable. He has my films and is going to give me a call. I've been getting mail and stuff like that. I hope it steps up because I went to that campus and loved it." Abbate said.
When asked what he was looking for in a college, Abbate replied, "Everything Carolina has—a nice campus, nice facilities, a team on the rise, and good coaches."
Speaking of coaches, Abbate likes the interaction he has had with North Carolina head coach John Bunting and defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable.
Said Abbate, "He (Bunting) is a cool guy, down-to-earth, and intense. It's the same with Coach Huxtable. I like both of them."
It encourages Abbate that Bunting, though not posessing great size for an NFL linebacker, was able to overcome and have a successful NFL career.
"He was short, and he made it to the NFL. Hopefully, he can pass some of that on to me. There is a coach who can feel what I'm going through. I'm 240 pounds and run a 4.5 forty, so I think I can make up for it." said Abbate.
In an interview this summer with Scott Kennedy of Border Wars , Harrison High School head coach Bruce Cobleigh said, "The kid's a player. He'll hit you that's for sure. He's going to be a great player for someone on the next level."
In addition to UNC, Abbate said he was interested in Georgia, Middle Tennessee, Wake Forest, UAB, and Troy State.
North Carolina has a verbal commitment from lineman Scott Lenehan, a teammate of Abbate's at Harrison.