2009 Recruiting: Anthony LaLota Comment Count

Brian April 1st, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Previously: S Vlad Emilien, S Thomas Gordon, CB Justin Turner, CB Adrian Witty, LB Isaiah Bell, LB Mike Jones, LB Brandin Hawthorne, and DT Will Campbell.

Princeton, New Jersey - 6'6" 260
anthonylalota Scout 4*, #15 DE, #116 overall
Rivals 4*, #11 SDE, #215 overall
ESPN 80, #13 DE
Others --
Other Suitors Notre Dame, Penn State, Florida, Stanford
YMRMFSPA Alain Kashama… except good!
Previously On
AA game roundup. Hello: Anthony Lalota.
Notes Early enrollment. Teammate (Tyler Stockton) committed to ND.

Anthony LaLota came to the attention of college recruiters via a very strange and nasal route: Terry Bowden. Bowden met LaLota's father at some corporate event, got LaLota's film, and then devoted one of his columns to the kid and his upside. Key graf that's not getting ahead of ourselves at all:

I've broadcasted several University of Virginia football games over the last couple of years and he reminds me very much of Howie Long's son, Chris.

Yes, Chris Long as in the guy taken right after Jake Long in last year's NFL draft. Schwing.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. LaLota may have Chris Long upside, but his rep was that he was big and raw. Then he showed up at 230 pounds—which you'll note is a full 30 pounds less than the number above, which was harvested from dozens of internet links and Michigan's official site—and started practicing at Greg Robinson's DE/LB hybrid spot. He could probably snap 90% of this blog's readership in half, but he's not so big in context.

He's raw, at least. Notre Dame Scout.com guy Mike Frank:

"When you watch him, he's just an extremely athletic kid that just runs real well, plays aggressively, pretty big kid that just plays very well," he said. …

"I think he's one of those 'projectable guys,' a guy who's not ready to play from day one because I think he might need a little work on technique. But he's a guy that's got so much athletic ability that you think that it'll be a short time before you see him on the field," Frank said.

Frank also called LaLota "an ideal candidate defensively."

LaLota's coach echoed the sentiments about his athleticism:

“Just an endless amount of potential. Runs like a deer; doesn’t get tired. He’s relentless just keeps going after the ball. Could play offensive or defensive tackle. Ton of potential. Only played 12 games of football in his entire life. He continues to learn, and a kid that has Ivy League grades, as well.”

His position coach agrees:

"His upside is just absolutely out of sight," adds Law, who played at Rutgers. "Right now he's still learning, but he's learning fast. He has all the natural skills to be a big-time player in college."

When LaLota showed up at the Army game, he showed off his potential… and how far he has to go. He went mostly unmentioned, but Rivals' Barry Every filed this report:

ASSETS: Excellent height, great frame and long arms.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Really needs to work on pad level at the point of attack. He cannot get by on size and strength alone against this level of competition.
WHAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE IN PRACTICE: Seems to be a high-effort guy that really wants to get better as a defensive end.
CONCLUSION: Most likely a redshirt candidate next season as he continues to learn his position and acclimate to playing against stiffer competition. His excellent frame is meant for long-term success.

LaLota was the only Michigan commitment of the eight who attended an All America game to not impress. Rivals chucked him down 90 spots and Scout took back their fifth star after he struggled with more experienced opposition. He remains in the 100-200 range on all three sites, so that's not a disaster.

Obviously, the Anthony LaLota word of the day is "potential." Of this he has a ton. Despite having only a single year of college football under his belt, by March schools from every BCS conference had offered, including Penn State, LSU, West Virginia, and Boston College. By June, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Florida had added their names to the list. Yow.

Michigan will have to wait and see whether he's the guy who got all those offers or the guy who couldn't quite hack it at the all star game. Though his stock has dipped of late, LaLota's inexperiece means he's barely scratching the surface of his ability. Think of him as a 6'4", 230 version of Press Your Luck. No whammies.

Why Alain Kashama? Kashama, a Canadian, was also a very large, extremely athletic defensive end with little experience. He did exactly nothing in his Michigan career until the very end of it, when he owned Florida in the Outback Bowl, but his athleticism took him on a five-year tour of NFL practice squads. LaLota projects better because he's better scouted and had a boatload of offers.

Etc.: McCaniac! Official fluff.GBW interview at AA game; I would embed these highlights but instead of LaLota video it gives me a six-second clip of someone hitting a double.

Guru Reliability: High. All Star appearance.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Though the guru reliability is "high," they all say LaLota is a boom-or-bust sort. We won't know what Michigan will get out of him for at least a couple years.
Projection: LaLota showing up 30 pounds light might actually be a boon for his chances at early playing time, as he's slotted into this spinner position and, given his athleticism, seems like an excellent fit for the spot. Still, he's so new to the game a redshirt seems likely, and preferable.


turbo cool

April 1st, 2009 at 12:52 PM ^

brian i like how you made a note of Kashaim being Canadian since it was completely out of context. Whenever i talk players, past or current with friends and a guy like R Segassee comes up there is an immediate "isn't that dude canadian?" -"yeah" -"huh...cool i guess...".


April 1st, 2009 at 1:36 PM ^

It was an entry in last summer's banner contest. It was championed by those who saw it as an interesting alternative amid the sea of nondescript "we need a montage" banners. It has lived on in the hearts and minds of all MGoBloggers since it fell in eventual defeat.


April 1st, 2009 at 1:50 PM ^

Despite being 230, any chance LaLota moves to offensive tackle? If he can put on the weight, then that would seem to be the route with the highest probability of an NFL career.

How many 6'6" lb's do we see?


April 1st, 2009 at 2:31 PM ^

dont want him...

was a problem as a sophmore, very hard to coach as a junior was kicked off the team for punching a coach. played for one of our biggest rivals, last year he was kicked off the team 2 games before the showdown with us. in the offseason transfered to the biggest recruiting school in greensboro who is stealing athletes from all over. next year will be only their second year of varsity football, yet they are one of the favorites in the state.

freak athlete, impssible to block when he wants to be (sometimes takes lots of plays off) but has a very bad reputation around here.. he player for a coach that i despise becasue he usually caters to the undiscplined athlete, but this one bit him in the butt, not upset to see him leave the conference, yet still going to have to play him again..

i understnad why he wants to back up sometimes and be that hybrid, he did that on his own a lot the last two years, when he didnt think he could beat some of the DI tackles in our league...


April 2nd, 2009 at 12:11 PM ^

I'm a little surprised he showed up 30 lbs less than what people reported, unless someone told him (RR? Barwis?) that he should do so. Now, maybe he was told to show up lighter so that he would have a shot at the spinner/rusher spot. Otherwise, I would be a little worried that his frame has a hard time keep weight on (as crazy as that sounds, I knew kids in high school and college who simply couldn't keep weight on no matter how hard they tried), and that he might never been an effective lineman.


April 3rd, 2009 at 1:42 AM ^

I'm guessing he weighed somewhere between 235 and 260 when he came to Michigan. He probably lost some weight from the workouts/eating right and now he'll start packing on some more weight. Ultimately, I think he'll be a DE but he'll play some LB in the meantime.