football

Vellano leads the way for Christian Brothers

Albany (N.Y.) Christian Brothers (not to be confused with Christian Brothers in Syracuse) has a handful of prospects coming out in their 2007 class. Leading the way is 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end Joe Vellano who is the son of former Maryland All-American Paul Vellano.
"He's received mail from a lot of schools," said Christian Brothers head coach James Smith. "I recall letters from Boston College, Penn State, Rutgers, Georgia Tech and of course Maryland.
"I'd definitely say Maryland is his favorite because he's been down to their camp since grade school. If they offered that would probably be his choice, but Penn State has shown a lot of interest and they send something every week so you never know."
As a junior, Vellano recorded 70 tackles and three and a half sacks.
"I've been here for 35 years and he's definitely a top five guy in my book," Smith said. "Joe has really good quickness and is explosive off the ball. He also has a great understanding of the game and wonderful feet probably helped by the fact he plays basketball too. In our offense, we pull him and run a lot of traps so he's very athletic.
"I really hope he grows another inch or two because he could be a real good offensive tackle. Right now though, most coaches are looking at him as a defensive lineman and I believe that's what he prefers to play."
Smith confirmed that Vellano should have no problem qualifying as he's an A student.
Two other prospects that haven't garnished nearly as much interest are wide receiver Lucas Weaver and cornerback Michael Chaires. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Weaver is receiving local interest for basketball and football from Albany, Siena and others.
"He's an excellent basketball player and may end up doing that in college," he said. "For football, he's real skilled too and has great hands and good speed. He's a long strider and it doesn't even look like he's running."
Last season Weaver hauled in 15 receptions, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Chaires is a very tough cornerback prospect and one of the top wrestlers in the state of New York.
"He's a very talented athlete and I believe he finished second in the tournaments as a wrestler," Smith said. "Most of his notoriety is as a wrestler, but last season in football he played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back for us. I definitely could see him playing cornerback in college because he's very physical, strong and has great closing speed.
"Right now he's a little short, but I believe he'll grow a couple more inches before college. He's gotten a few looks from a variety of schools when coaches come to see Vellano, but nobody has been too serious yet."
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