Recruiting interest ramping up for Plum lineman Evan Azzara
Friday, February 7, 2020 | 6:52 PM
Plum junior Evan Azzara has visited almost every Mid-American Conference school in Ohio, but the one he went to the most has been Miami (Ohio).
On his most recent visit, he left with his first Division I scholarship offer.
Azzara, an offensive lineman, was offered at the RedHawks’ junior day Jan. 19.
“It’s definitely a great feeling, and it’s very motivating,” Azzara said. “It’s an honor to have a Division I offer because a lot of high schoolers don’t have this opportunity. I feel like I need to keep putting in work to make sure I get better, and the team gets better. It’s been a fun trip so far.”
Azzara also visited Miami (Ohio) for a camp and went to a game against Northern Illinois this season. He was impressed with each visit.
“The facilities are great,” Azzara said. “The coaches are great, and the campus is great. I feel like it could be my home away from home. It’s a little college town that’s nice and condensed. It’s a good fit for what I like.
“It was a great atmosphere at the game. The crowd was pumped up. It was a great time.”
Aside from Miami (Ohio), Azzara has visited Ohio, Toledo, Akron and Buffalo. He has a visit scheduled with Bowling Green in March.
Listed at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds, Azzara has the size and range college coaches covet in an offensive tackle.
“You can’t teach size, and he was blessed with it,” Plum coach Matt Morgan said. “He’s has a very large stature, and what he has that a lot of guys don’t have is extremely long arms. A lot of Division I schools look at that, and they like what they see with his stature. He’s developing as a player, and he’s only going to keep going up from here.”
Only a handful of Plum football players have received Division I FBS interest in recent years. Nate Caldwell is a Plum grad who played tight end at Ohio in the early 2000s.
Morgan, a 1999 Plum grad, went on to play tackle at Pitt and in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills.
Azzara is happy to have a coach like Morgan who played his position to be a guide through his development.
“He pushes me to my max every day,” Azzara said. “If I do something that’s not perfect, I do it over again so I can get reps. He tries to make me perfect.”
When Morgan was being recruited, social media did not exist, so the landscape was much different. Morgan expects more offers to come in for Azzara, and the advice on how to handle the process remains the same, even if the methods of communication have changed.
“I think the biggest thing is not let it get to you mentally,” Morgan said. “You have to be humble about it. The biggest thing today that’s different is there’s more ability for coaches to contact recruits. They can tweet them now. All I had back in the day was phone calls and letters. The world has changed in general with communication.
“The coaches get to know the kids better, and you just have to make the right opportunity for yourself. I’m sure that other opportunities will come up for Evan, and he just has to make the right decision for what fits him for his education and as a player.”
While the process works itself out, Azzara is focused on becoming a stronger player before his senior season.
“I’ve been lifting weights and doing ladders,” Azzara said. “I’m also trying to get some more of my classmates to come out and play football. I’m trying to be encouraging and become a leader and push myself every day.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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