Indiana adds defensive end to 2014 class

Cincinnati St. Xavier coach Steve Specht still hasn’t seen everything Nick Carolvillano is capable of. The rising senior defensive end just moved to Cincinnati a year ago, transferring from Brophy College Preparatory School in Phoenix, Ariz., and Specht barely had a month to work with him before he was on the field.

But he’s seen enough to believe that Indiana got a steal in Carolvillano, and that locking him down early was a great move.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end committed to Indiana on Friday over offers from Purdue, Boston College, Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Kent State and Miami (Ohio), but Specht believes there would have been more if other schools had a chance to see how St. Xavier’s coaches plan on using him this year.

St. Xavier runs a 3-4 defensive front, and obviously in that scheme, the defensive ends have to take on more offensive linemen and can more easily be double- and in Carolvillano’s case triple-teamed. In large part for that reason, Carolvillano recorded 53 tackles but just 2 1/2 sacks last season.

This year, Specht said he plans on using him as more of a stand-up pass rusher, technically an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. That, he said, will make other schools wish they got in on Carolvillano quicker.

“He got to us on Aug. 4 last year, so it was tough to game plan for what he can and cannot do,” Specht said. “By that point, he’d spent his whole career in a three-point stance, but he’s athletic enough and mobile enough to stand up, drop back in coverage and rush. This year, we’re going to move him around. He’s going to pass rush from different angles. We might use him to cover the tight end some, because he’s that type of athlete. … I think a lot more schools would have been interested in him if they were able to see him standing up.”

Specht isn’t saying that Carolvillano must be a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level necessarily, but he does believe that his greatest asset — and the one that attracted Indiana — is his potential versatility. He said that he would expect Carolvillano to be a five-technique defensive end in Indiana’s 4-3 scheme, but said that he has the sort of frame that he could put on 30 pounds or so in college and eventually move inside to defensive tackle. His combination of length, athleticism and strength would allow him to be effective in any of those circumstances.

“He was our best defensive lineman even though his stats might not show it,” Specht said. “He was the guy you had to game-plan for.”

Another reason that will be more evident this year, Specht said, is that it took a season for Carolvillano to get used to the gravity of high school football in the state of Ohio.

It wasn’t that Carolvillano didn’t work hard last year, Specht said, it was just that his body was getting used to the level of commitment that was demanded and also to the pressure level that came with every game.

“He thought the first week when we played in front of 20,000 people that it was the greatest thing ever,” Specht said. “Then the next week it was the same thing and then the week after that and the week after that. As the season went on, his body was beat up. He had that look in his face, ‘Oh my God, this is every week.’ Yeah. Welcome. Now, he’s not only changed his body physically, but mentally, his approach has been really good. I can’t say necessarily that it’s any different from who he was, but I know that what we did from a strength and conditioning perspective was kind of a shock to him.”

Indiana apparently saw that quickly. They had been recruiting him for several months and Carolvillano had taken visits before they offered a scholarship after he attended camp at IU in early June. Carolvillano took a visit to Purdue this week, but finalized his position after he returned.

“He loved it from the first time he was there,” Specht said. “He went there for a visit and came back and said, ‘I love it up there coach, do you think they’ll offer?’ He kept visiting, and eventually they did.”

2 comments

  1. Good get CKW and staff. This kid comes from a program that wins and sends kids to FBS programs year in and year out.
    The Greater Cincinnati Catholic league is as competitive a league as I’ve seen. Keep ’em coming, as always go Hoosiers.

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