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Thursday, June 27, 2013
TE Izzo has three finalists already

By Jared Shanker

At least three teams are safe to make it through final cuts for tight end Ryan Izzo (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII).

Over the last several days, Izzo visited Iowa, USC and Wisconsin, and all three will be in his top group, which he will announce in the coming days.

Izzo visited USC last and raved about the aesthetics of the university and Los Angeles. While there was a lot of construction going on he said, it was still a nice scene on USC’s campus.

The coaching staff and Izzo sat down to talk extensively about the type of role he would play in Lane Kiffin’s offense.

“They want to use me on a lot of seams, horizontal routes and play-action passes,” Izzo said, “but they also want to have a tight end that can go on the line and block. They like my versatility.”

The Wisconsin visit came a day before Izzo’s visit to USC, and he said his trip went so well that he lost track of time. His one-day visit to Madison flew by in what seemed like only a few minutes.

“It went smooth. I had a really great time,” Izzo said. “You look at your clock at 2 and the next time you look it’s 8. It was a great visit, flowed through. Everything was well set up. I’m really impressed with the stadium. Overall it was a good visit.”

The first trip of Izzo’s three-visit swing through the Midwest and West Coast was to Iowa. Assistant coach Chris White and graduate assistant DJ Hernandez spent a lot of time with Izzo about what it is like in Iowa City. It was a player on the Hawkeyes roster that made the biggest impact, though

Junior tight end Ray Hamilton had a recruitment similar to Izzo’s. Both are from areas that are not traditionally strong recruiting areas for the Hawkeyes, and both had offers from some of the country’s top programs. Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma are just a few of the teams that offered Hamilton, who eventually committed to Iowa eight months before signing day in 2011.

“He was one of the top kids with offers everywhere and he told me why he made his decision,” Izzo said. “He said it’s really a family atmosphere for him. He said everybody there is a team. And they way they will use the tight end, every play you have two tight ends in the game, so there’s an opportunity to play early.”

Boston College, Rutgers, Temple and Virginia Tech also hosted Izzo on visits, and he is unsure if he will make any more visits or base his decision on the places he has already seen.