DE Gaziano Preps for Next Visit

Westwood (Mass.) Xavierian Brothers defensive end Joe Gaziano previewed his Rutgers visit and updated his recruitment this week in an interview with

Rutgers makes its final big recruiting push before the spring evaluation period on March 29 when it hosts a large number of underclassmen on campus. Westwood (Mass.) Xavierian Brothers defensive end Joe Gaziano will be one of many to set foot on campus for the first time.

Gaziano holds a trio of offers heading into his Rutgers visit, and the explosive 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive end hopes to add a fourth.

"The school is intriguing, definitely because of the location of it," Gaziano said. "I know it's a good place with good academics and it's the center of big-time football. Almost everybody in New Jersey is serious about football. It could be a good environment."

The majority of Gaziano's Rutgers knowledge prior to his visit comes from defensive end coach Jim Panagos – his recruiter.

"I just know what coach Panagos has told me so far," he said. "He's just been giving me about the academics and everything. In football, they're obviously going into the Big Ten to play some big-time football. I don't know much more than that as of now.

"He's a great guy. He really takes the time to reach out to me. He's really gotten to know me on a personal level. He says I'm the type of player he's trying to recruit. He's great because he vouches defensive linemen, so it's good to talk to him about how he likes to coach."

Gaziano will have his eyes on the Rutgers football facility and spring practice set to be underway next Saturday. He also hopes to gain more information about the classroom opportunities offered at Rutgers.

Gaziano wants to pursue undergraduate lessons in biology.

"Education is huge for me," he said. "From the family that I come from, it's important that you get a good education. You never know how long football will be there for you. We're really emphasizing the education because a college degree is one of the most important things you can have in today's society."

Gaziano said he is hearing most from Massachusetts and Boston College as local programs.

"I'm a local kid for them, and Boston College definitely been recruiting me like that," he said. "UMass is the same for me. It's local. It's a good education. Both of them are on me pretty hard."

Northwestern and Vanderbilt also hosted Gaziano on unofficial visits.

"Northwestern has been great," he said. "I've had a lot of contact with them. I like the coaches over there. When I went up there, I was impressed. They're building brand new facilities. They just released their plans and it's pretty amazing. They're building a football-only weight room and all-inclusive stuff. They have good academics and they play in the Big Ten. Coach Fitz is a great guy."

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