(9/8/99) This summer was not a good one off-the-field for Ohio State. The loss of several players academically cast a negative image across the nation and left many fans hoping that OSU will stick to recruiting quality students as well as quality athletes in the future. In Alex Stepanovich, the Buckeyes' highest-rated commitment to date, Ohio State gets a quality student and athlete . . . and a real quality person as well.
Today, Kirk talked to Alex's coach, Bob Cistolo, and his description of Alex made us thrilled to learn what Ohio State was getting. "(Alex is) a great kid," Cistolo said. "He works hard at everything and wants to be the best he can be." Coach said Alex is always doing things to improve as he is always in the weight room and is always working to improve his game.
"(Alex) does a lot really well," Cistolo said. "He's the best player we've had on the offensive or defensive line in the last five or six years... he's a good blocker, a great guard, has a strong upper body, great balance, and great technique... if he works hard, he can step right in (and help Ohio State as a freshman)."
Coach Cistolo also told us that Alex even pays attention to the little things that will help make him a better player. Alex has a strict diet as he only eats the right foods and drinks juice instead of soda pop. Like Coach said, Alex wants to be the best he can be.
Needless to say, Alex dominates on the field. In Berea's last game, Alex graded out at 90% with two pins in limited action (the game was a blowout). Alex routinely manhandles opposing players. Or as Coach Cistolo put it, "If a little defensive back gets in his way... God help them. It's their fault."
Alex is indeed a great player and student (3.0 GPA). But above all, Alex is a great person. "Alex has a big heart," Cistolo said. "As rough as he is, he's compassionate." Coach told us how Alex likes to work with special needs kids, and he also is helping out a teacher who is in the first year at Berea. "He's a special kid," Cistolo said.
Alex Stepanovich sounds to be like the type of player that all of us want to see play for Ohio State. For Ohio State fans, who are pretty sick and tired of hearing about off-the-field problems, Alex sounds like a breath of fresh air. Keep an eye on this kid; he sounds like he has a very bright future ahead of him.
Very special thanks to Coach Bob Cistolo for the interview.