It wouldn't have been a big surprise if Princeton (N.J.) Hun School defensive end Anthony LaLota had made his decision a month ago or waited to make his decision a month or two from now after taking a few official visits. However, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Rivals250 standout decided that Friday, Sept. 12 was the decision day to the surprise of many. LaLota announced his choice on television Friday night and his destination is also a surprise to some who have followed his recruitment closely.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
QUOTABLE: "I didn't really know what to expect honestly but everything just felt right. The football side of things is obviously great and the atmosphere, the coaches, the school – everything just sort of fell into place for me." – LaLota
A LOOK BACK: Once a basketball prospect, LaLota played football for the first time in 2007 and scholarship offers quickly followed.
Anthony LaLota in actionClick Here to view this Link.
LaLota announced his commitment to Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines Friday night on CSTV. LaLota spoke about Michigan before the announcement aired.
"I liked a lot of things about Michigan when I visited," he said. "I really liked the coaching staff including the strength coach and I was impressed with the academic side of things as well out there. Ann Arbor is a nice area and I felt comfortable out there when I visited."
Many thought LaLota would choose Penn State or Notre Dame ahead of the Wolverines. What was it on his most recent visit that set Michigan apart?
"I was a little surprised at what I saw out there I'll admit," he said. "I didn't really know what to expect honestly but everything just felt right. The football side of things is obviously great and the atmosphere, the coaches, the school – everything just sort of fell into place for me."
So why a decision now?
"I just felt it was the right time," he said. "I always said I wanted to make the decision before my season starts and we have our first game Saturday so it made sense. I really liked my experience with Notre Dame, Penn State and Boston College as well as some other schools, it was a hard decision to make but I'm excited and feel I made the right choice."
LaLota scheduled an official visit to Michigan for the weekend of Oct. 24 when they host rival Michigan State.
"That will be my official visit date still," he said. "I am looking forward to getting back out there."
Last year, in his first year playing football, LaLota had 40 tackles with 10 sacks. He is ranked as the No. 6 strongside defensive end in the country and some feel he'd be an even better offensive line prospect. Does LaLota have a preference?
"I prefer to play defense because I like to get after the quarterback and I like to hit," he said. "All of my finalists wanted me as a defensive end and no one really talked about offensive line. Michigan plays more four down linemen now than they used to but I think I could be successful in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense."