Huskies on the mind of Balducci

One of the top prospects in the state of Oregon for the 2012 recruiting class promises to be Central Catholic (Portland) DE Alex Balducci. Last weekend, during Washington's preparations for the upcoming Holiday Bowl, the talented defensive line prospect took in a practice and said he came away impressed with what he saw and also enjoyed meeting and talking with the Husky coaches...

"It was a really good visit," Balducci told recently. "I was really jacked up about the practice and how intense it was. The players were really into it and they were going hard for it only being in shells.

"I got to talk with a couple of the coaches and they said they were really happy I came up to see them and said it's been great getting ready for a bowl game this time of the year instead of being done with their season."

Balducci said the trip north was purposeful in that the Huskies are one of the two schools to offer him -- the other school is Oregon -- and he wanted to see the Husky coaches in action.

"It was good getting to know the coaches a little better and what they want and expect from their guys," Balducci said. "It was fun watching how intense they are and how exciting they make practice even though it's only a practice.

"That didn't feel like a practice. It really felt like it was game-intensity and that's something you don't see much."

In addition to his two offers, Balducci is also hearing regularly from schools up and down the west coast as well as across the country.

"Besides Washington and Oregon, LSU is probably recruiting me the hardest so far," Balducci said. "They send me stuff almost every day and they really are pursuing me a lot.

"Arkansas also sends me a lot of stuff and I'm getting information from Texas A&M, Michigan, USC, UCLA and some from Miami too.

"I grew up watching Pac 10 football, so that's where my focus has always been. I mean, there's SC and what they've done and I grew up liking both Oregon State and Oregon and Washington a little too.

"I know that might be a little surprising, but for some reason I've always liked Washington. I know they have a lot of tradition and they are building the program back up and it's a program that I will always have an interest in until the end."

Central Catholic had a chance to boast two of the top defensive end prospects in the country this year with Balducci combining with 2011 standout Brennan Scarlett to bring pressure on their opponents. However, Scarlett broke his collarbone and missed the season and Balducci partially tore the PCL in his left knee, causing him to miss half the season as well.

"The doctors told me that the PCL isn't quite as important as the other two ligaments (MCL and ACL) in my knee and that it would heal itself," Balducci said. "I played in six games, but I wasn't quite as fast or quick or explosive so that was a little frustrating.

"I should be back healthy after I rest up and it will be fine. I want to have a big senior year, so I'll work on strengthening it during the offseason so I can be ready for camps and stuff."

In addition to playing football, Balducci also participates in Track, throwing the shot and discus, and he said he plans to attend as many junior days as possible when his schedule allows.

"I want to see a bunch of schools and meet with coaches," Balducci said. "I need to have all the information I can get to make a decision, plus I want schools to have a chance to meet me and see how interested they are."

We will continue to keep track of Balducci over the next year and we'll update things as they change.

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