As of last Tuesday, the notoriously slow recruiting University of Oregon had yet to extend Joey Alfieri a scholarship.

Defensive coordinator Nick Allioti has been in touch with Alfieri, telling the Jesuit middle linebacker to be patient. The Ducks are doing their due diligence when it comes to scouting and dispersing scholarships, Allioti alleges. Alfieri’s offer will come when the UO feels at ease with the rising senior’s ability to transition to the Pac 12.

However, after Alfieri’s A-one showing at The Opening- a five day display on Nike’s World Headquarters showcasing more than 150 of the nation’s top high school football players- the Ducks might want to get on the phone and present that full ride to Alfieri before one of the nation’s blue-blood programs poaches arguably the top recruit in the state. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit middle linebacker Joey Alfieri proved he can play the pass as well as defend the run at The Opening.

In front of a national audience watching on ESPNU, the 6’3” 220-pound Alfieri turned an ample amount of heads amongst his peers and highly acclaimed coaches. By running a blistering 4.55 40-yard dash on top of an extraordinary 37-inch vertical jump the modest senior permanently put himself on the nation’s radar as a gifted, detonative kind of player. Alfieri took sixth in the camp’s SPARQ (speed, agility, reaction, quickness) combine to earn a spot in the SPARQ national championship on Monday. Both his 40 time and vertical jump would’ve been eye-popping at the NFL combine last March, much less a national high school showcase.

Alfieri already has scholarship offers from Stanford, Washington, Oregon State, and Cal among others so, as a recruit, he’s far from unheralded. His combination of speed, size, work ethic and intelligence are a coveted package, one that Oregon is taking a hard, long look at. Alfieri’s the type of explosive athlete the Ducks seem to lean towards in their blitzing, aggressive manner of defense. He hopes his “Opening” efforts endear himself even more to Allioti and company.

“It’s been a really good experience being able to compete with the best of the best,” said Alfieri. “It’s a once in a lifetime chance to compete with guys of such high caliber who are all so good.”

More than just a workout warrior, Alfieri looked secure versus the pass, either tipping balls away across the middle or at the very least ensuring yards after the catch were minimal. In today’s era of college football where teams throw the ball 30 times a game, a linebacker can’t be solely an oversized runner stopper. They have to play all three downs and be just as coercive covering tight ends and slot receivers.

Alfieri established he can do work against the run with more than 100 tackles a season as a sophomore and a junior at Jesuit. What Alfieri wanted to show in the 7 on 7 scrimmages was his ability to get depth when dropping into zone coverage against the pass while also displaying an aptitude for covering smaller, quicker wide receivers. The 6’3” ‘backer was up to the task against the “Field Generals” utilizing his volatile burst to close on speedy pass catchers on the perimeter. The bullets weren’t flying at The Opening as they would in a Friday night showdown with Southridge. All the 7 on 7 games were two-hand touch affairs and contact was minimal yet, Alfieri said the lack of physicality was a TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit middle linebacker Joey Alfieri had to cover smaller, quicker receivers at The Opening but held up well in pass coverage.

“You can focus and isolate the game onto the passing and there’s no linemen to get in the way and distract you,” noted Alfieri. “You can focus on how to have good coverages and isolate those specific coverages. It’s a bit different covering guys that are so fast, so quick and 60 pounds lighter than me. It’s tough to keep up with them at time but it definitely challenges me.”

Alfieri wasn’t by his lonesome on the Nike Campus and fellow Crusader and high-major D1 prospect Henry Mondeaux joined Alfieri on “Team Alpha Pro” during The Opening’s two-day, 7 on 7 competition. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit tight end Henry Mondeaux was named to The Openings all-tournament team with 10 catches for 139 yards over two games.

There may have been quicker or fleeter tight ends at The Opening, but few played as hard or with the consistent effort and heart as Mondeaux did. Mondeaux, who has offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Nebraska, and Washington among others, ran every route like Jesuit was down six in the final minute of the 6A state championship game. If a pass was thrown below his knees, Mondeaux dove to the turf to haul it in with his grizzly bear-sized mitts. If asked to go across the middle with ballhawking safeties lurking, Mondeaux wasn’t afraid to mix it up and be physical. Some of the players at The Opening were too focused on end zone celebrations, looking good for the ESPN cameras and hyping themselves. Mondeaux just played all-out, old school football and allocated the kind of effort ordinarily seen in pads and helmets, not shorts and t-shirts.

A power forward on the Crusader basketball team, Mondeaux used his 6’5” 250-pound frame to get open downfield and carve out space by boxing box out the smaller Field General linebackers. Mondeaux is a huge target with the speed to get behind the second level of the defense but he also has the carnal nature to go toe-to-toe with feisty linebackers.

Mondeaux caught 10 passes for 139 yards over the final two days of 7on7 and was named to the All-Opening tournament team. Not bad for a guy who was a last-second addition to The Opening and is known more for his abilities as a burly blocker that blows open holes in the run game. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit tight end Henry Mondeaux brought a physical style to The Opening, showing he was willing to mix it up on the perimeter.

“I wanted to outphysical them on the inside routes and on the outside and deep routes I wanted to get the depth right,” said Mondeaux. “Getting open on the DB’s is a lot more technical than you would think. It’s not just all skill and speed.”

Mondeaux said the coaching tips he received throughout the three-day session were indispensable in his drive to improve as a tight end. Learning from former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Terance Mathis and former Jacksonville Jags quarterback Jordan Palmer, Mondeaux picked up little pointers on the nuances of route running and creating separation against ball-hawking defensive backs.

“I’ve learned a lot of technical things that I didn’t know before, a lot of the stuff you have questions about but don’t have anyone to ask about,” said Mondeaux. “They’ve been able to answer those for me I’m excited to bring it back to Jesuit. I think that’s going to help us a lot and make our team even better.”

Both Crusaders said they were proud to represent not only Jesuit, but Oregon high school football as a whole.

“I think Oregon football is definitely underrated because there isn’t a lot of credibility with the 5A and 6A teams that there are in Texas and California,” said Mondeaux. “I think we’re slowly proving ourselves through events like this.”

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