When Ryan Izzo transferred into Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.) before his sophomore year, quarterback was his primary position. Brian Carlson, who at the time was entering his first year as Pope John’s head coach, had other ideas for the 6’6″, 210-pound prospect.
“Ryan came in as a lefty quarterback. I said, ‘Look. With your height and athleticism, you could be a stud tight end. At quarterback you could be good, but at tight end you could be better,'” recalled Carlson.
Carlson told Izzo he felt he could earn a Division 1 scholarship as a tight end. His prediction came true recently, when Virginia Tech offered a scholarship.
“Virginia Tech being the first offer definitely was a big deal,” said Izzo. “It was somewhat surprising, but I know I’ve put in a lot of hard work.”
As a junior this past season, Izzo showed off the athletic ability that has gotten the attention of major college coaches. He lined up all over the field, from a traditional tight end spot to slot receiver to wide receiver. Carlson said the promising prospect “exploded last season. He played wide receiver and slot… he’s a very athletic kid.”
Virginia Tech’s coaches see Izzo as a well-rounded prospect.
“They said they liked that I am a versatile tight end. I can go block, but I can also line up outside and be a receiver,” Izzo said.
A 2-sport athlete, Izzo starred on Pope John’s varsity basketball squad this past season, averaging roughly 14 points and 11 rebounds per game. In previous years he would be beginning the AAU basketball season at this time, but Izzo, who received college attention for his abilities on the basketball court, is now fully committed to football.
“It was definitely a tough choice,” Izzo said of choosing football over basketball. “But the schools looking at me are a higher level in football.”
In addition to the offer from Virginia Tech, the Pope John standout rising senior is receiving interest from Boston College, Maryland, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Rutgers, and Temple. He plans to attend camp at Boston College with the rest of his team, and he will visit Rutgers soon as well. Izzo will attend Virginia Tech’s Spring Game on April 20.
“I don’t really have a timetable for a decision,” said Izzo, who claims no favorite...
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