"He comes from a long list of good athletes," said coach Mammoliti about his junior tight end Rob Gronkowski. "When I first got his older his brother, it's kind of gone down the line. He's the fourth of five brothers. I knew he was going to be something special because all of his brothers have been great athletes, so I knew he'd be a good athlete too."
We asked coach Mammoliti what makes Gronkowski a special player.
"I think he's got a unique combination of size and speed," he said. "I know a lot of guys do these days, but I think he brings athleticism to the table, and he brings a desire to be a great one. That's what separates a lot of guys with physical size and speed categories. He's has both, but he also brings competitiveness, and I think that's what separates him."
"Sure, we've had a bunch," said Mammoliti when asked if he's had other D1 prospects that have played for him. "Both of his brothers, Dan and Chris, are both at Maryland, they were some of the best. I think he may be the best of the lot."
"I think tight end is his best position," the Williamsville North head coach said. "He's such a force there. I just think he can dominate there."
"He had 36 receptions for 628 yards and 7 touchdowns," Mammoliti said when asked Rob's stats on the season. "He also plays defensive end for us, but I don't have his stats handy. He's a good prospect on the defensive side as well."
Like any player, Gronkowski still has room for improvement. Coach Mammoliti says he expects Rob to really develop well at the next level.
"It depends on where he's going to play," the coach said when asked where Gronkowski most needs to improve his game. "If he plays at tight end, I think he's just going to improve physically, but right now he's 251 and 6-6. There's a lot of room for him to fill out physically. He's going to get bigger. I think if anything he can always improve on his run blocking. His hands swallow you up. There isn't much thrown his way that he doesn't grab. Since he's 6-6, he goes up and takes balls 11 feet out of the air."
Gronkowksi says recruiting is already heating up for him.
"I've been getting letters from Florida State, Maryland, LSU, Penn State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Arizona, Duke, West Virginia, Virginia and a lot a more that I can't remember," he said.
"I'm looking for the whole package," Gronkowski said when asked what he's looking for in a college. "The offense, how much they use the tight end. How much they pass to them. Do they use double tight ends, single tight ends? And I'm also looking at academics. I want (the school I choose) to be in the top 20 business schools in the country."
The Irish have already made a positive impression on the top junior.
"I have a lot of interest in Notre Dame right now," Gronkowski said. "I like how they use their tight end, too. I always watch them on TV, and I'm visiting there this weekend. I'm going to see how it is.
"They've been sending me letters and e-mails telling me to call them. I called them and I got real interested in them."
Gronkowski also says he'll likely make an early decision.
"I want to decide before next season. I'd like to get it over with before my season," he said.
Comments: The Irish area already in the hunt for Gronkowski. I think it's a good sign he's visiting this weekend. Many speculate he'll be a top 100 tight end next year. He's also a great student with a 92 percent average in high school.