Imperial Presence

The defining characteristic of this two-way New Jersey standout is the physical nature of his play.

Washington Township's Ryan D'Imperio is a star on both sides of the ball, and it's his love of contact that has helped him achieve accolades as both a linebacker and a fullback for Coach Tom Brown's team in Sewell, N.J.

"On offense, I can move around guys if I have to, but I like running over them," D'Imperio said as he quantified his style. "On defense, my strength is coming up and filling the hole, then making the big hit."

There probably isn't a better trait for a guy at two of the most physical positions on the field, and D'Imperio possesses it in spades. So much so, in fact, that West Virginia, along with Rutgers, has already offered the rugged New Jersey native a scholarship. Those schools, along with Virginia Tech, Virginia and North Carolina State currently hold the top five spots of interest for the two-way performer.

Unlike many high schoolers, D'Imperio has no preference for which side of the ball he plays on.

"I like them both equally," the laid-back rising senior said. "I don't have any preference, whether it's here in high school or in college."

While D'Imperio is certainly making his mark on the field, the six-foot, two-inch, 235-pounder also wants to leave an impression behind in the classroom. He is looking for a school with "good prestige and good academics", and although he hasn't decided upon a major yet, knows that the college decision in front of him is a big one.

"I'll take visits and compare all of them," he acknowledged. "I'm trying to hold off and look at all the schools I'm interested in. I know the coaches all tell me this is an important decision in your life, and I want to make the right one, so I don't want to rush it. Once you go somewhere, it's no so easy to start over somewhere else."

D'Imperio also says that location will be a factor in his decision, but with most of his early favorites within a four- to five-hour drive of his home, they all appear to be under consideration.

WVU coach Herb Hand, who includes New Jersey in his recruiting area, was up to visit D'Imperio during the recent active recruiting period, and the youngster liked what he learned about the dynamic Mountaineer recruiting coordinator.

"I like him, because he is a nice guy," D'Imperio said. "I like his attitude and the way he explains things. He told me what the coaching style is like at WVU. They don't mess around - they tell me how things are."

As a junior, D'Imperio had approximately 200 carries for more than 1000 yards, and also snared 22 passes for another 200 yards. On defense, he had 70 tackles, including seven for loss, as well as five sacks.

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