'08 Unwrapped: A.J. Wallerstein

At Stanford's Junior Day two Saturdays ago, Chris Owusu was not the only California state champion in attendance. 6'4" 272-pound Canyon Country (Calif.) Canyon High School offensive guard A.J. Wallerstein was an unmistakable presence on the Cardinal campus, and the road grader walked away high on Stanford. Read on for more on this academic-minded powerhouse prospect from Los Angeles County.

One of the top offensive interior linemen in the state in the Class of 2008 is Canyon Country (Calif.) Canyon High School guard A.J. Wallerstein (6-4, 272).

An All-State Underclass pick as a junior, Wallerstein was one of the chief reasons BYU-signee J.J. DiLuigi rushed for nearly 4,000 yards the past two years.  He has started the past 29 games for the Cowboys at left guard, coinciding with consecutive CIF-SS titles and this past season's Division I state title.

Now, schools are beginning to find their way to Canyon and showing a great deal of interest in him.

"Some schools have hinted that they were close to offering, and some have hinted that I am high on their list, but no one has offered yet," Wallerstein says.  "I've been hearing the most from Stanford, UCLA, Ohio State, Oregon and a lot from the Ivy Leagues."

Wallerstein is an excellent student, holding a 4.2 GPA and scoring a 1970 on the new SAT, so it stands to reason that academics play a huge role in his decision.

"Stanford is my favorite, and UCLA is up there, too, as well as the Ivy Leagues," he states.  "Academics are really important for me."

In fact, Wallerstein says that if Stanford offered him, the Cardinal would likely be netting themselves verbal commitment.

"For me, if Stanford offered, I'd commit," says the Canyon Country junior. "If not right away, then not too long after."

Wallerstein attended Stanford's Junior Day a week ago and raves about his experience.

"There didn't seem to be many prospects, only about 20 of them, but it was great," the recruit relates.  "All the coaches seemed real personable and energetic, and all were really nice."

"I talked with Coach [Chris] Dalman and Coach [Jim] Harbaugh quite a bit," he adds.  "I really like Coach Harbaugh.  He's energetic and personable."

Wallerstein says he's also very serious about UCLA, having gone to their Junior Day as well as spring practice last week.

"UCLA is close to home and has a good education, too," he notes.

Strictly an inside lineman, Wallerstein says most schools want to keep him at his natural position of guard instead of moving him to center.

"As far as I know, most schools are looking at me as a guard," Wallerstein explains.  "I like to think I can pass block, but we didn't throw much.  I do like to run block.  Running the ball, you have to move your feet well, especially blocking the linebackers and defensive backs.  My strength as a lineman is in moving my feet and getting in front of the linebacker."

Wallerstein is trying to get to 285 pounds by the time the Cowboys kick off the 2007 season, while he is also working on lowering his forty time of 5.3.

"I'll be at the Scout.com Combine this month and the Nike Camp in May at Stanford," says Wallerstein, who also attended the U.S. Army All-American Combine in January.

Coming off the D-I state title, Wallerstein says he is looking forward to his senior season, where the Cowboys will go for their third straight section title.

"I think we have a bunch of good juniors taking the spots of seniors," he opines.  "We play Notre Dame, St. Bonaventure, Crespi and Palmdale.  There is no backing down from anyone."

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