"Our season's going pretty good so far," Jacob Arzouman said of his 8-1 Salpointe Lancers in an exclusive interview last week with TheBootleg.com. "The one team we lost to, Hamilton [45-2], has a really good team. But besides that, we've been playing really well. I think I've been doing pretty well, but I'm always going to try to do better in the next game."
It's said that a football player makes the biggest jump between his freshman and sophomore seasons, but Arzouman is noticing gains this year, in his junior season.
"I definitely feel like I'm a lot better off than last year," he said. "I feel solid, stronger, faster. I know the offense better. Compared to last year, it's worlds different."
Colleges have started to take notice of that improvement -- and apparently don't project it will slow down any time soon.
"I have an offer from Arizona," he said. "Stanford is recruiting me, as are Washington, UCLA, Alabama, Utah, Colorado and Oregon. Plus I get stuff from Boise State occasionally. The only ones I've really looked at are, obviously, Arizona -- being from Tucson, our school is two minutes away – and then Stanford, where I took an unofficial [two weekends ago]."
And as is the case with most recruits, Arzouman reports he was impressed by his Stanford unofficial visit. He went on the trip with his mother and younger brother, a high school freshman, and met DB commit Keanu Nelson, among other recruits, while on the Farm.
"We got up there on Saturday and went on a quick little campus tour, where they just showed us around," Arzouman said. "We got to take the walk down with the players and the band. Their band is pretty crazy, a lot more fun than regular one. Then they gave us food and we watched the [Arizona State] game.
"The campus was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be, but coming from Arizona, the weather out there is incredible with all that green, and obviously the academics are top-notch. I really liked it and my mom liked it a lot obviously. Both of my parents like the fact that it's so good academically. They always tell me there's life after football."
However, Arzouman's tour didn't just deal with Stanford's climate and academics, as Sunday morning brought face-to-face meetings with three key members of the staff.
"The next morning, we got a facility tour and talked to some of the coaches: Coach Anderson, Coach Eubanks [sic] and Coach Drevino," Arzouman said. "Mostly with Coach Anderson we talked about academics and what it takes to actually get in, and then once you're in, what it means. With Coach Drevino, we talked about O-line stuff, and also about academics in school and what I'd be interested in. [Arzouman is undecided as of now.] From meeting him in person, he seems straightforward and obviously that's what you want out of a coach. He talked about coming off the ball and being physical and hitting people in the face: that that's what you want to do, and that's exactly what I wanted to hear. I really like him. He seemed like a really good dude."
Arzouman's mention of physicality speaks to Stanford's blue-collar image and grind-it-out run game that is on the verge of propelling Toby Gerhart to his second straight 1,000-yard season. One would think that the last two years' run-first scheme and accompanying success on the ground would attract offensive linemen, and sure enough, Arzouman fits the mold.
"I like [Stanford's mentality]," he said. "Our high school team is like that right now. There are a couple of games where we ran the ball 40 times. I like run blocking. I'm probably better at pass protection, but like getting out and getting in someone's face."
Along with playing style, location is another major issue for most recruits, and here too Arzouman is no exception. He phrases his desire for a school with a favorable locale as a matter of comfort.
"I know I'm comfortable here in Tucson, but at the same time, I feel I would want to get out," he said. "I feel I'm more likely to end up probably on the West Coast. Not that that's definite, but I'm in California all the time and when I'm there, I feel comfortable. I know Arizona and that I'm comfortable here. Mainly I just want to be somewhere I feel comfortable.
That desire for comfort also carries over to the depth chart.
"I also want to be somewhere where I feel comfortable in that I really buy into the system the coaches have," Arzouman said. "I want to feel I can contribute. I'm not necessarily saying I want to be a four-year starter, but I do not want to sit on the bench for four years either. I want to be somewhere where I'll be competitive and competing for a spot, and hopefully play against some of the best people."
Arzouman, who moved to Tucson from New Jersey at age two, reports a 3.85 unweighted GPA at his college-preparatory high school. He says he plans on taking the SAT after football season, when he'll have more time to prepare.
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