Balducci: "I Love The University Of Oregon"

Arguably the top college football prospect in Oregon, Portland (OR) Central Catholic three-star defensive lineman Alex Balducci is seeing his recruitment take on all new heights. As of now, Balducci has offers from only West Coast schools, but programs such as Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and USC are knocking on his door.

Do you have an offer from Oregon?

"Yeah I do."

How long ago did you get that offer?

"They kinda told me they were gonna offer me before the football season (last year), so in August (was when they offered). All the way back in August."

What kind of contact have you had with Oregon throughout the recruiting process?

"Coach (Jerry) Azzinaro and coach (Steve) Greatwood, who recruits the Portland area. So mainly coach Azzinaro and coach Greatwood."

Other than the Junior Day, do you typically speak with them over phone, e-mail, etc.?

"Yeah, when I went to the football game this past season. I went to a basketball game and talked to them (there) and they came up to my school once and just phone calls too."

How often would you say you're in contact with those guys?

"I'd probably say we touch base every week."

What is your overall interest in Oregon at this point?

"I love the University of Oregon. The Junior Day was a big eye-opener for me and I definitely have something to think about, but definitely Oregon is one of my favorites."

What were your overall impressions of the Junior Day as a whole?

"I loved it. I got to meet a couple of the players and I talked to coach 'Azz' while I was in the position meeting and in practice. I talked to Chip Kelly and it was great. I was able to eat dinner with the team after practice. I liked the competitiveness during the practice also...there were a lot of things that were positive, so I didn't really see anything that was wrong."

Was there anything specifically during the Junior Day visit that really impressed you?

"When coach 'Azz' told me he rotates a lot of guys and he explained his system and how I would fit in that system. You know, I was thinking about it, and it looks like the best situation and it was kind of a big factor when he told me how his system works and how I would fit in to it. I could have the chance to get in the mix real early depending on whether I redshirt or not."

What is the vision that coach "Azz" has for you?

"Well, he explained to me that there are going to be three guys graduating, so I think there will be three spots open in the depth of his nine guys he rotates. Kind of depending how I do in the summer, if I was ready and doing all the right things, then he takes one freshman from each class and if they're ready, he plays them 20 plays a game. That's what he told me. Maybe I could play early, but if not, I'd redshirt and then be in the mix my redshirt freshman season."

Was the Junior Day the first time you got to tour campus and experience everything the school has to offer?

"No, it was't the first time."

Outside of coach Kelly, coach Azzinaro, and coach Greatwood, did you get a chance to interact with any of the other coaches on staff?

"I talked to a lot of the coaches, just mainly defense (though). I talked to coach (Don) Pellum, the linebackers coach, and he's a real good guy. I talked to coach (Nick) Aliotti, the defensive coordinator, and he expressed to me that he really wanted me there and I felt honored by that that he wanted me to play in his defense. Going in to coach Azz's practice and then meeting, I definitely benefited seeing how he works through situations and going over blitzes and calls. He worked a lot on technique, so I liked all of that. I think he has the reputation of being a hard-nosed coach, but he doesn't really lose his head. He has a lot of respect for his players too and that goes a long way."

How does coach Azz's coaching style mesh you with you?

"My dad coached me, so he was always hard on me. I can definitely really respond and get motivated by that, so that's fine with me. Having a more fiery, passionate coach is what I'm gonna like more."

Did you get a chance to mix it up with the other Junior Day attendees?

"Oh man, they all loved it too. Me and Zach Banner really liked it, Josh Garnett, I think Isaac Seumalo liked it a lot too...Oshay Dunmore, I mean he committed already...and also Thomas Tyner was liking it too, even though he's a sophomore."

Was there an urge from deep down or from the coaches to commit?

"I mean I'm debating that right now, honestly. There was a big urge. Me and my family have been talking about it and we'll see...I think it was deep inside myself (the urge to commit). They expressed their want for me and that kind of helped me."

Do you feel like you're any closer to deciding on a decision date?

"I think I kinda want to make my decision before my senior year of the football season, so I'll probably say around the summer time I'll probably make that decision, maybe around July or August...just so I can be done and relax."

How would you describe yourself as a player?

"I'd probably describe me as very versatile. I'm a pretty big guy, but I can move and I'm strong and I'm fast and I'm pretty athletic. The overall word would be: versatility. I can move to the inside, I can be on the outside. I can be a 3 (technique), a 5, or a 9."

Have the Oregon coaches discussed which position they would like to have you at?

"Coach 'Azz' told me it doesn't matter. He said I can play nose tackle or end. He said the only position he doesn't want me at is the 'Drop' defensive end -- the one that drops out in to space to cover receivers. I would learn the rush end, the nose, or defensive tackle. I can learn all three, he said."

Do you have a preference, or are you open to whatever?

"No, I don't have a preference. I'm fine with that. That's what I do at my high school. I move around a lot, so I'm totally fine with that."

Is there anyone at the collegiate or professional level that you try to pattern your game after?

"No, not necessarily. There's a couple guys that I like. I like Ndamukong Suh and I watch Nick Fairley and Brandon Bair from Oregon."

What are you looking for in a program?

"A good solid program with tradition, good academics, my family has a nice feel for it, and all those factors."

Have you given any thought as to what you might want to study when you get to college?

"I probably want to study business or advertising and marketing. Something along those lines."

What are some of the offers that you have right now from other schools?

"Right now I have Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Boise State, Utah and I just got my film sent out, so I've been hearing a lot from coaches at Boston College, Illinois, Georgia Tech, USC, UCLA, Cal, Oklahoma."

Would you say that you have a top list of schools right now?

"Not right now. I have them in my mind kind of, but I'm not really sure yet."

Do you have any other plans to go on any other unofficial visits, Junior Days, or camps?

"I've been invited to several Junior Days but I can't afford the flights. I think I'm gonna go to USC's Rising Stars camp and see how I measure up against those kids. I'm definitely gonna go to the UCLA camp and that's about it. I'll probably go to the Oregon camp if I can and then Washington's (camp)."

Alex Balducci profile

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