Anzalone is still officially committed to Notre Dame, but it doesn’t look like it will be much longer until he de-commits from the Irish and commits to Florida. He is ranked 48th overall in the nation according to Rivals.com and the 6th ranked linebacker in the country. He canceled his visit to Notre Dame when the Irish took on BYU. Anzalone first committed to Ohio State, then de-committed after a visit to Florida. After that visit he committed to Notre Dame, but now he has taken 2 visits to Florida since he has committed and it is not looking good for the Irish. He is getting a lot of family pressure since his father went there, and his grandparents live in Gainesville. If Notre Dame was to lose Anzalone, then our last option would be Isaac Savaiinaea, which is a decent recruit, but nothing like Anzalone.
Anzalone has the college linebacker frame at 6’3’’229 pounds. He is not only quick, but fast running a 4.73 40 yard dash. Not only does Anzalone play linebacker for his high school team, but he also is one of the running backs. He would out run defensive backs with pure speed, which you don’t see a lot from a linebacker the size of Anzalone. One of the things I really like about him is the fact that he plays on the balls of his feet and they are always moving. His first step is always forward and the rest of his technique is solid. I was very surprised how good his coverage was in the flats, hook zone, and over the middle of the field. His backpedal and shuffle to get to these zones is what makes him a good pass defender. Anzalone’s man coverage is good as well going up against running backs, tight ends, and slot receivers. Many people say he is the guy to replace Manti, well let’s get something straight you don’t just replace a guy like Te’o. You want to, but it isn’t possible at least not right away. The one thing that is similar to their games is the closing speed they both have on making a tackle.
While watching film I saw some flaws in his ability to shed blocks. Anzalone didn’t use his hands well or correctly for that matter. During high school, when someone is an elite athlete they can tend to get by with just their athleticism, which he does to get off blocks, but by using his hands he could get off the blocks even quicker to make plays. Also, he can be too high when making tackles, I know he is 6’3’’, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get low and hit someone with better technique. Anzalone can be prone to going for the knockout shoulder pad hit, while everyone likes these on sportscenter it isn’t a good form tackle and will drive a coach crazy. These are small things that can be fixed in a couple weeks or less.
Overall, an elite recruit that Notre Dame needs to find a way to hang onto. He has the size, speed, and talent to be a 4 year player. He would be behind Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese next year, but he would rotate in for Carlo more than likely. Both the Irish and Gators are doing much better than last year, but who will be the better team when the year ends? Will that factor into his decision? The coaching staff needs to sell this kid on playing time, education, and the fact that there is no other place like Notre Dame.