"My freshman year, I had a pretty decent season, and I started working hard in the weight room," Scott Vallone said. "Coach was like, we are going to move you up to varsity as a sophomore, and that's when I was like maybe I can do this in college."
Not maybe, guaranteed. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Vallone has eight written scholarship offers from Boston College, Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, Minnesota, Maryland, Duke and recently Vanderbilt. Michigan State has stepped in with a verbal offer. Notre Dame is sending regular mail.
"I got their spring practice schedule the other day," Vallone said.
As a junior, Vallone made 98 tackles, 52 of the solo variety, with 12 tackles for loss including six sacks, with two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt. He was named NYCHSFL lineman of the year, first team All-CHSFL, second team All-State Class AA and was a first team All-Long Island selection by Newsday.
As a sophomore, Vallone had 66 tackles, eight for loss including five sacks, with three fumble recoveries and an interception.
"My technique and my knowledge of what's going on around me, those are my two biggest assets," Vallone said.
The versatile Vallone lines up at defensive end and defensive tackle in St. Anthony's 4-3 defense. It just depends on running and passing situations. He is being recruited to gain weight and play defensive tackle by some schools, but is mostly being looked at as an end.
"The name of the game is versatility in my eyes, and I think I can play both," Vallone stated.
Vallone camped at Syracuse last summer and has attended a couple combines. He reports a 300-pound bench press, a 450-pound squat and a 4.9 40-yard dash. He has also done the shuttle in 4.4 seconds.
Vallone sent his tape to the Notre Dame coaches last year, and started receiving mail from the Irish staff in September. He was invited to last season's North Carolina game, but couldn't make it.
"My coach called to ask about my tape about two weeks ago, and they were a little late in the evaluation process, but they liked my tape, and I'll see what happens," Vallone explained.
"If they start to show me more interest, that would be pretty exciting and I would think about taking a trip. That is probably the best combination of athletics and academics in the country."
St. Anthony's doesn't use the traditional GPA setup. Vallone's average is 89 percent. Right now he is interested in the schools that have offered him. He is planning on going by Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia, Rutgers and Maryland for spring practices.
"I'm just taking everything in," Vallone said. "If they are interested, I'm interested. I'm looking for the best combination of academics, athletics and atmosphere. And definitely my trust with the coaches and how comfortable I feel with them."