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Jesuit's Landgraf playing another year of high school football

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Former Jesuit offensive lineman Charlie Landgraf will spend a postgraduate year at The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where hell play a final year of high school football.

The Les Schwab Bowl — normally the final time each participant will don its high school jerseys — wasn’t the end of Charlie Landgraf’s high school football career.

The Jesuit senior bulldozing center is taking the path less traveled to chase his dreams of competing at the collegiate level by playing a postgraduate year of pigskin at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. Landgraf — who anchored an authoritative Crusader offensive line that produced a pair of 1,000-yard running backs and led the state in rushing — in a nutshell is getting another year of high school football, another season to get bigger and stronger while preparing for the rigors of college.

While many of his fellow classmates playing collegiately will spend the next year either redshirting or seeing spot duty on special teams, Landgraf will see live action against competition that’s comparable to the Metro League or possibly even a step above.

“There’s just something about high school football — nothing compares to it,” said Landgraf. “I’m pretty excited of how things worked out. It’s not going to compare to what I had at Jesuit because that was four years, but it’s a great opportunity for me.”

Landgraf was initially introduced to the idea of prep school by Jesuit linebacker Joey Alfieri’s older brother, Nick. Nick Alfieri played three quality seasons at Jesuit before attending Hotchkiss for a season where he earned the school’s Most Outstanding Player Award while making the New Founders League All-Star Team and All New England team. The linebacker’s efforts at Hotchkiss caught the eye of Georgetown University, who enticed the former Crusader to commit to the Bulldogs.

Alfieri had an immediate impact as a freshman with 33 total tackles and a fumble recovery, and thrived as a sophomore with 91 tackles, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and an interception.

As a 6-foot-2, 270-pound center who anticipates packing on more muscle during his postgraduate year, Landgraf hopes to attract the added attention of Holy Cross University, Georgetown, Fordham and Dartmouth.

“There are a lot more schools I can play for over there,” noted Landgraf. “Here, you have Oregon and Oregon State that are national programs. On the East Coast, there are a lot more D1-AA schools that I have the opportunity to play for.”

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Charlie Landgraf was introduced to the idea of playing an extra year of high school football by former Jesuit linebacker Nick Alfieri who also played at The Hotchkiss School.

Eye on success

Each year, Hotchkiss takes four postgraduate students on its squad who not only get the additional season to develop, but don’t lose a year of college eligibility.

Hotchkiss is a boarding school that houses freshmen-through-seniors in high school in addition to the post grads. It’s a similar setting to a four-year university in that all the students live in dorms and are away from their families, adapting to the college life. Landgraf said the East Coast has a different way of life, but Hotchkiss is in more of a remote location on a lake in Connecticut.

“It’s really fast-paced,” said Landgraf. “Me and my mom flew into New Jersey and immediately we could tell it was a faster lifestyle. A lot of people trying to get from point A to point B faster. But, I like it. I’m ready to get to work when I get over there.”

Landgraf noted Hotchkiss’ offense is a far cry from Jesuit’s old-school, eight men in the box, smash-mouth style of football. The Huskies run the spread attack, so Landgraf could see more time at guard, pulling and trapping upfront or continuing to fasten the offensive line at center.

“I’m willing to play whatever,” said Landgraf. “I’ve been talking to (Hotchkiss head coach) Danny Smith, and he said wherever I’ll go I’ll have success.”

The first-team, all-state pick spent the spring working out with Stanford University commit Joey Alfieri, closely following the Cardinal’s workout program with power cleans, sprints to add size to his physique and short-burst explosiveness. Landgraf takes off for Hotchkiss in late August, where he’ll participate in daily doubles before starting the Huskies’ season.

“That’s huge because not a lot of kids have access to those workouts,” said Landgraf. “It’s tough for sure. The sprints have a lot of reps with not a lot of rest in between. You get really tired without a break, but it’ll pay off next year. I think I’m in really good shape right now.”

Source of strength

Landgraf, David Brugato, Nick Miller, Mike Miller, Ben Jarrett and Paul Vickers made up a dominant group of mauling movers for Jesuit, who before the season were thought to be the Crusaders’ Achilles’ heel. With so much Division One talent lost from the likes of Doug Brenner, Andrew Kirkland and Max Rich, some thought Jesuit would be battered along the line.

However, the Crusaders’ offensive front morphed into a source of strength through the season, gaining confidence each week with perpetual power and ended up putting four of their starters on the 6A all-state team.

“A lot of people thought we didn’t have a shot,” said Landgraf. “But, we came together. We had a group, and we stuck with it. Really, we were playing our best football at the end of the season, and that’s what you want.”

The quintet turned out to be anything but Jesuit’s weak leak, pummeling opponents with an aggravated anger that opened holes the size of freeway lanes for running backs such as Joey Alfieri and Chase Morrison to run through. Brash, big and overbearing, the big hogs upfront overwhelmed and uprooted opposing defensive lines, taking games over early on and finishing them off in the fourth quarters.

The offensive line was the heart of Jesuit’s state runner-up squad, the motor driving the Crusaders through the postseason, yet Landgraf gave all the credit to offensive line coach John Andreas, the unsung hero of Jesuit’s success upfront.

“He’s the best line coach in the state,” said Landgraf of Andreas. “He’s able to take guys who are in-between positions and don’t really know who they are and teach them the fundamentals. He stressed getting after it, repetition and working hard. He did a great job.”




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