Junior to Watch: Joe Jianoni
School: La Quinta, Calif.
Size and Speed: Jianoni stands 6-foot-1, weighs 212 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds. His max on the bench is 330 pounds; he has a full squat of 480 pounds, and cleans 225 pounds. Though he missed the Nike combine held at USC, Jianoni was getting ready for the combine and lifted 185 pounds 22 times!
Statistics: Jianoni was a two-way star as a linebacker and fullback his junior season. As a linebacker, Jianoni racked up 126 tackles, six sacks, four picks, four fumbles caused and three fumble recoveries. He even brought one of his picks back to the house for a score. On offense, Jianoni was primarily a lead blocker for San Diego State bound Frederic Collins who rushed for over 2,000 yards. He carried the ball 24 times while racking up 261 yards and six touchdowns. Jianoni will again do double duty as a linebacker, but this year he will take over for Collins and play running back his senior season.
Honors: Jianoni was selected all-state, all-CIF and all-league as a linebacker his junior season.
Favorite Schools: Jianoni is getting a wide range of interest for his services. UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal, Nebraska and San Diego State are a sampling of the schools that are recruiting him hard.
The Skinny: Jianoni plays for a school that has done a great job over the past four years sending their players to the D-I level and he is the next big time recruit from La Quinta high school.
A couple of years D-I schools from coast-to-coast made the pilgrimage to La Quinta high school in hope of signing prep All-America linebacker Michael Craven who ended up signing with Stanford in a photo-finish over UCLA. Jianoni is attracting the same kind of attention.
“Joe is in the same mold as Michael Craven,” La Quinta head coach Dan Armstrong. “He’s not as big, but in everything else they are similar players.”
Jianoni has a great work ethic and he works extremely hard in the weight room. “Joe has a great build,” Armstrong said. “He’s so ripped that he looks like a body builder.”
Jianoni has a very nasty attitude once he gets on the gridiron. An attribute that is much appreciated in a big time linebacker prospect. He flies all over the field making plays. Jianoni is a very active player in a very active defense.
When Stanford’s Craven was a national recruit a couple years ago, Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden and his defensive staff came out to watch Craven practice, the Noles were so impressed with Jianoni that FSU made inquiries about him. “We really love Craven, but who is number 44,” one FSU coach asked Armstrong. The answer was Joe Jianoni…