Q&A with QB Nik Scalzo following junior day, UK's offer
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons quarterback Nik Scalzo seems to feel like all of his hard work is paying off.
The 5-foot-11 high three-star quarterback landed an offer from Kentucky while visiting with the Wildcats over the weekend. He tells Cats Illustrated it was one of the offers he was waiting for.
He said a lot more than that, too.
Cats Illustrated: What was your reaction when you found out about Kentucky's offer?
Nik Scalzo: I mean I was just in shock. Well, not really in shock but extremely happy. This is one of the offers I was really working for. Coach (Eddie) Gran came to our school a year ago. He told me he really liked me then but he didn't offer. So since then I've been working hard and trying for this offer. So it means a lot to get it.
Cats Illustrated: Why was the Kentucky offer one that was so important to you and one that you wanted for so long?
Scalzo: Probably the biggest thing was Coach Gran believed in me before just about any other coaches did. He was one of my first believers. We talk a lot over the phone and have a really good relationship.
Cats Illustrated: This was your second trip to Kentucky?
Scalzo: That's right. I went to the camp last year.
Cats Illustrated: We saw you at that camp, but how do you feel like you did there and what kind of feedback did you get last summer?
Scalzo: That camp was good. I had a really good camp. I sat down with the QB coach (Darin Hinshaw) and we went over the film from my sophomore year. He was like, 'Yeah, we're really looking at you. Your height's a little off but we know that you're the player who's going to get the job done.' He knew I had a chip on my shoulder and he was comparing me to Baker Mayfield.
Cats Illustrated: So what were your thoughts on the junior day on Saturday and how did it go?
Scalzo: We got there around 10 o'clock before everyone else got there so we had a private tour and went around and did our photo shoot before the other guys. I sat down with Coach (Eddie) Gran by himself and then with Coach Hinshaw by himself, then with Coach (Mark) Stoops by himself. So I had separate talks with all of them throughout the day. They kept hinting at (the offer), saying things like, 'We really, really like you,' so I was thinking, 'OK, maybe I'll get the offer.' Then I found out right before the junior day started.
Cats Illustrated: What did they say when they actually offered?
Scalzo: That they really just loved me as a player and that they believe in me.
Cats Illustrated: Have they told you what they're planning to do in the 2019 class, in terms of how many quarterbacks they want to take or where that stands?
Scalzo: Coach said it's up for grabs right now. They're not sure. They're kind of in between on whether they're taking one or two. It depends on who they get.
Cats Illustrated: Last week you were saying that Kentucky, Harvard, Yale and Boston College were right up there as your favorites. Is that still the case or has that changed?
Scalzo: Kentucky's definitely one of my top two if anything right now. I'm most likely going up to Boston College for their junior day coming up. I'll probably end up going to Syracuse for a spring practice and I'll definitely be going back to Lexington in the spring.
Cats Illustrated: With so many quarterbacks making early decisions these days, have you thought about a timetable for when you'd like to commit somewhere?
Scalzo: I would like to have it done by the end of spring but if not then I'll probably commit between weeks one and three (of the regular season).
Cats Illustrated: Have you really taken a closer look at Kentucky's offense and how you think it would suit you?
Scalzo: Yeah, they run a lot of RPO's and they throw a lot of their balls to the tight end, which is good because me and my tight end (Nikolas Ognenovic) have a really good connection and we'll probably go as a duo.
Cats Illustrated: There's also offensive guard Jamari Williams at your school and Kentucky is recruiting him too, correct?
Scalzo: As of right now it's me, Jamari, Vincent Davis and Khris Bogle, plus Nik. We all have offers from Kentucky.
Cats Illustrated: Chaminade Madonna has been Kentucky's big pipeline down to South Florida lately but it seems like there are more UK targets at Cardinal Gibbons this year.
Scalzo: Yeah, I used to play with Marvin Alexander. He was on my 7-on-7 team last year. He and Akeem Hayes are going there. We have really good timing.