Sometimes you hear about coaches only watching a play or two by a potential recruit and saying that is all they needed to see. That does happen. I see it every year. One of the players that falls into that group of players that is so unique that you don't need to see a game full of tape this year is Louis Irizary, the 6-6 230 lb junior TE from Youngstown Ursuline.
Just watching him run, you see a unique athlete. Most kids of that size who are really top-drawer recruits run well, but not like a WR or RB. Irizary runs like a WR or a top back. Then you see the skill level -- the great hands and the body control. He adjusts to badly thrown balls effortlessly. After the catch, he shows WR run-after-catch skills. Louis is not thinking get a first down like most of the TEs I have seen... Louis is taking it to the house. He is a WR in a TE body. He is quite simply the best TE prospect I have seen in Ohio ever.
Louis recently told me that his favorite player in Kansas City Chief TE Tony Gonzalez. He doesn't really have to pattern his game after Gonzalez; he was born to it. The resemblance is uncanny. I remember when Gonzalez was being recruited, and he had the same kind of body as Irizary has now. Louis also brings the same kind skills to the table that Gonzalez brings. He is going to cause immense match-up problems. TEs are under-utilized in my opinion, but there are so few like Irizary.
Ideally, a TE is too fast for a linebacker and too big for a safety to cover. We are seeing players like that but then they have to be able to catch the ball. So many are coming up short in one area or another. In Louis Irizary you have the total package, and this total package is a devastating weapon.
I spoke to Louis recently and found him to be an intelligent, articulate and eloquent young man. He reminds me a great deal of San Antonio Spurs superstar center David Robinson in personality. Louis has his priorities in order, but unlike so many young men who show that kind of maturity, Louis, like Robinson, is a very gregarious and good-humored young man. We talked about many things that had nothing to do with football, such as computers and downloading music from the Internet. He is looking to major in computer engineering or materials engineering (he had to explain materials engineering to me, but kids with 4.0 grade point averages can explain things like materials engineering).
I can't tell you what a pleasure it is come in contact with young people like Louis Irizary. All we hear about are the troubled kids. This one is not. I was especially impressed with the relationship he has with his father. I have always had such a special relationship with my own father, and I see the same thing with Louis and his dad.
The most surprising thing about Irizary is he has no idea how good he is. Taken aback would be the best way to describe Louis' reaction when I told him that he was at least one of the top 5 tight end prospects in the country and it wouldn't surprise me if he is # 1. It was the only time in the conversation that he was silent. I have always believed that to be the man you have to believe you're the man. Once Louis Irizary realizes how good he is, that is when we are going to see just how good he can be.
Louis told me that if he had to finalize his visit list, his final 5 right now would be Miami, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State. He will visit Ohio State on February 23rd for Junior Day. Miami is very appealing to any tight end, but after talking with Louis I don't know if he will get that far away from his family.
Wherever he goes Louis will be a success and he
will do so with a smile on his face.