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Despite ties to Miami, Alonso's Anthony Chickillo keeps an open mind

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Sun. February 14, 2010 | Keith Niebuhr

It's pretty common to see teenagers wearing college gear, but don't expect to find anything like that on Anthony Chickillo's body in the near future.

"I haven't worn any in a long time," he said.

The reason?

"When I would wear something, everyone would start talking," Chickillo said.

Chatter comes when you're a big-time recruit, and Chickillo is certainly that. A talented defensive end for Alonso, he is likely to be one of the state's top prospects in the Class of 2011.

He already boasts scholarship offers from schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Purdue and Wake Forest, though we are 50 weeks away from the next national signing day. Another major program, Notre Dame, is showing strong interest and may be close to offering a scholarship, Chickillo said.

Why the fuss?

As a junior, Chickillo, who combines great power with better-than-average speed, sustained a broken collarbone in Alonso's opener but returned to register 80 tackles and 121/2 sacks in only six games.

"Every play, I go 100 miles an hour," Chickillo said.

Chickillo has other things working in his favor, notably his size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), his smarts (4.2 grade-point average) and his bloodlines.

Chickillo's father, Tony, and grandfather, the late Nick Chickillo, played in the NFL. Tony Chickillo, also a defensive lineman, was taken by the Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 1983 NFL draft. Before they were pros, both played for the Miami Hurricanes.

"My father has done a great job preparing me to play at the highest level," Chickillo said.

As one might expect, Miami is very much in the mix.

Last year, Florida International became the first to offer Chickillo a scholarship, but the Hurricanes were quick to follow after he earned defensive MVP honors at a Miami camp during the summer.

"I've liked them since I was little," Chickillo said.

But …

"As I got older, I became a recruit, so I'm more open," Chickillo said. "I'm open to every school. My dad told me that he went through the recruiting process, and he's going to let me go through mine and not put any pressure on me. Whatever school I go to, he'll support it."

--KEITH NIEBUHR

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