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Alfieri gives verbal pledge to Cardinal

The University of Oregon flirted with Joey Alfieri late in the recruiting process.

The University of Southern California and Ohio State University also courted Jesuit’s disruptive defensive enforcer. Other Pac-12 schools, including Oregon State University, tried to butter up the 6A all-stater and pitch their programs.

But, as Alfieri’s recruitment came to a head, it was Stanford University that always had the Crusader linebacker’s heart.

The rising senior committed to the Cardinal on Saturday via Twitter, tweeting his affirmation to a Stanford program that’s been on his brain since he visited the campus in the spring. Alfieri said there wasn’t one specific reason why he chose Stanford but more of an accumulation of qualities that made him want to be a Cardinal.

“All the schools I was looking at had good things about them, but in the end, I think Stanford was just the right fit for me academically, athletically and overall,” said Alfieri. “I wanted to go to a program that’s improving every year and is only going to go up.”

After a stock-rising summer with outstanding showings at various Nike Combines, including The Opening in June, Alfieri could’ve explored blue-blood programs from coast-to-coast and pledged to whomever he pleased. Stanford was there from the start, though, and constantly wooed the defender for his services. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit senior linebacker Joey Alfieri, seen here at The Opening in July, committed to Stanford University on Saturday.

The Ducks piqued Alfieri’s interest early in the recruiting process, but they were the last high-level Division One school to offer a scholarship. Stanford, meanwhile, made Alifieri a top priority and classified him as a must-have on the top of its recruiting board. Stanford was one of the first schools to extend a full ride to Alfieri, something that wasn’t lost on the all-state selection.

“Oregon’s a great school, I have a lot of good friends that go there. But in the end, Stanford was just a better fit for me,” said Alfieri.

Jesuit head coach Ken Potter said Alfieri’s explosive summer on the camp circuit helped raise awareness about his ability. But, Potter also mentioned schools were interested in Alfieri because of how well he played in pads on the football field as a junior and how he performed in the classroom. Alfieri plans on studying mathematical engineering at Stanford.

Stanford has experienced a defensive rebirth thanks to a stable of ill-natured, corn-fed linebackers such as Shane Skov, Chase Thomas, James Vaughters and Trent Murphy. Alfieri is a medley of each Cardinal ‘backer in that he takes a little from each of their respective games and molds it into his own arsenal. The Cardinal’s front seven is brainy but still athletic enough to decelerate the likes of the University of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and DeAnthony Thomas.

Last season, Stanford University put together a highlight video underlying the “disciplined, cold-blooded, hunter” exploits of its accomplished yet often times overlooked linebacking crew. Alifieri falls right in line with what Stanford’s come to expect from its second line of defense.

“I definitely like how Stanford develops their linebackers,” said Alfieri. “They have a really good pro-style defense, and guys like Skov are good role models. They showed what Stanford can do with their linebackers.”

Alfieri can ferociously blitz off the edge with his 4.55.40 speed, stuff the run in short-yardage situations or backpedal into coverage and blanket bigger tight ends and wide receivers. Alfieri’s football IQ — the ability to read-and-react without losing velocity — is fantastic, and he always seems to turn up in the backfield. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuits Joey Alfieris explosive athleticism and 37-inch vertical leap appealed to Stanford University who recruited the linebacker early on.

“He has tremendous speed and a very good nose for the football,” said Potter. “What he does best is his pursuit of the ball combined with good strength allows him to be a pretty darn good linebacker.”

Stanford runs a throwback 3-4 defense that doesn’t get too fancy or exotic with its attacking schemes. The Cardinal coaches preach discipline, gap control and trusting what your eyes tell you.

“I like how it’s not the new-age stuff,” said Alfieri. “I like how they stay with the basics, and do what’s usually done in football. It’s a traditional defense and traditional team overall, which is really appealing to me.”

Stanford plays a lot of freshmen as it is, and with Skov and Murphy graduating after this season, the door is open for Alfieri to get on the gridiron early. Alfieri said he’d like to make an impact early.

“Joey has a tremendous work ethic,” said Potter. “It’s hard to look into a crystal ball and say how he’s going to do at the next level, but I know he will compete to the best of his ability, and I think he has the athletic ability and awareness to be a person who will contribute at Stanford, probably fairly soon.”

Since the collegiate decision is in the rearview mirror, Alfieri can now focus on playing football and having fun during his senior year. Jesuit was recently named the preseason No. 1 team in 6A in large part because of Alfieri’s aptitude on both sides of the ball. He’ll anchor a defense that should be one of the best in the state, with difference makers in Christian Martinek, Henry Mondeaux and Trent Werner flanking Alfieri in the middle.

“I think whether he’d made that decision or not, he would’ve come through in any situation. He’s just that kind of young man,” said Potter. “I’m very proud of him, and I know we can trust him to come through.”

“It’s good to get the recruiting process done so I can focus on my senior year,” added Alfieri.



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