Pope John's Ryan Izzo gets offer to play football for Virginia Tech
Posted: Mar 23, 2013
By PETER STEIN
SPARTA - Pope John junior Ryan Izzo doesn't yet know his exact college football destination. He does know it
will be a Division I destination.
On Thursday, Izzo received a full scholarship offer to play tight end for Virginia Tech. It was the first of what
could be several D-I offers for Izzo, with Penn State and Maryland already showing interest.
But with a firm offer from the Hokies, Izzo knows that regardless of what happens with any other schools,
he will be a Division I college football player as of 2014.
"It's a great feeling," Izzo said on Friday." Especially Virginia Tech, it's one of the top programs in the country.
And to get that as my first offer, it definitely sets the bar for the rest of the year to try to get other offers, too."
Some of the more famous names to play football for Virginia Tech were: defensive end Bruce Smith, the 1985 NFL draft's No. 1 overall pick, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009; quarterback Michael Vick, selected No. 1 overall in the 2001 NFL draft; and running back David Wilson, the New York Giants' top draft pick last year.
Izzo isn't thinking about the NFL just yet, with more than a year of high school still left. But knowing he will play
for a Division I college team, whichever it turns out to be, says a lot about his talent and work ethic, and a lot about Pope John's football program, which saw linebacker Cole Farrand go to Maryland in 2011, defensive lineman Malachi Moore reach Boston College in 2012, and offensive lineman Seamus Ryan sign with Marist earlier this year.
There is also at least one other future Division I player, all-purpose back Noah Brown, joining Izzo as a Lions'
returnee for the 2013 season.
As reported in the Herald last August, Brown received verbal offers from Boston College, Rutgers and Temple just
after the end of his sophomore year at Pope John. Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, West Virginia, Georgia Tech
and Virginia Tech have since added to Brown's offer list.
That paved the way for Virginia Tech's interest in Izzo, according to Pope John head football coach Brian Carlson.
"After they saw Noah and made an offer to him, I said, '"Hey, we've got another guy, Ryan Izzo,'" Carlson said on Friday. "They have a new offensive coordinator (Scot Loeffler) who's kind of running some of the stuff we're doing, a lot of spread,
a lot of throwing. So Ryan kind of fits in that. He's not a traditional 6-6, 260-pound tight end. He's a 6-6, 230-pound kid who can catch in space. Good athlete. They liked that a lot."
Izzo, a Vernon resident, made the All-Herald first-team offense last December after averaging 16.8 yards per reception
and hauling in four touchdown catches.
But it is football that will carry Izzo to the elite college level. And he may wind up having his choice of schools.
"I don't really have any favorites right now," Izzo said. "I'm just trying to go through the recruiting process. I'm new to it now, so I'm just trying to see how it goes, see who shows me the most interest. And then I'll make my decision next year."