Class of 2013 Watch List - Gino Giarranto

It was a Big Ten coach who told me once "You need to look under every rock if you want to find the hidden gems." That's exactly what I did this fall when I found an unknown Colin McGovern at Lincoln-Way West. Meet another hidden gem that's going to get college coaches taking notice.

Gino Giarranto, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound, linebacker/running back from Plainfield (Ill.) Central is as good a football player on the defensive side of the football as I've seen and he's completely under the radar.

Ok, I can't take credit for finding Giarranto. He was brought to my attention by Mike Goolsby of Game Changers Academy ( Goolsby, a former All-American linebacker at Joliet (Ill.) Catholic and Notre Dame is now in the business of making players better.

"Gino runs really well," said Goolsby, who also played I the NFL with the Cowboys and the Rams. "He played running back and strong safety last year. I see Gino settling in as a rush-backer.

"Gino is much more comfortable being a "chase" player. He gives really good effort and this should suit him well as he can close on plays from the backside and use his burst and athleticism to make plays rushing the passer."

Giarranto says working with Goolsby has helped him understand the game.

"Mike [Goolsby} takes his time with you and helps with technique and positioning," Gino Giarranto said.

"It's more than just a conditioning or drills academy at Game Changers. Mike takes his time with everyone and uses his knowledge to teach situational football. How to look at film, all the little things that help you become a better football player."

Looking at film of Giarranto's junior season, I see an impressive prospect with excellent size and tremendous speed (4.6) for his size. College coaches are looking for players with Gino's skill set.

"Right now it's just been correspondence from Northern Illinois." Giarranto said. "I really want to play college football at the highest level. My early wish list would be Wisconsin, Kentucky, Purdue, Marshall, Northern Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Louisville and I've always been a big fan of Nebraska."

Giarranto will be a three-year varsity starter for Plainfield Central in 2012. He had an eye-popping 105 tackles from his strong safety position to go along with 3 interceptions. Gino led his team in tackles and also led the team with 8 yards per carry as a running back.

Giarranto was an honorable-mention all-state selection. He also letters in track at Plainfield Central.

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