football Edit

UK trying to keep Cardinal Gibbons pipeline open

Troy Stellato and Nik Scalzo visiting UK over the weekend (from Twitter)

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons is home to quarterback Nik Scalzo and tight end Nikolas Ognenovic, both Kentucky commitments from the Class of 2019.

The school is also home to Class of 2021 receiver Troy Stellato, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound young standout who unofficially visited Kentucky along with Scalzo, his friend and older teammate, for the Cats' win against South Carolina.

Stellato has a long way to go in his recruitment and he doesn't have to make a decision anytime soon, but this weekend was a big one for his life as a football player. It was Stellato's first unofficial visit to any school as a recruit, and he landed his first offer.

"I thought it went really good," Stellato told Cats Illustrated. "I liked the facility and everything. I just liked everything about it. The coaches, they were all really good. I liked all the coaches. They were all really nice. And just the whole atmosphere, the atmosphere of the game on Saturday was just crazy, too. All of those people made it great. The main things were I liked the facility and everything about the school."

Stellato said he made the trip with Scalzo because the two are good friends. The offer took him by surprise.

"I was just going up with him and I ended up talking to Coach (Eddie) Gran," Stellato said. "He looked at my film and everything and he just told me he was going to offer me. I wasn't really expecting it at all. I was kind of shocked. Well, not really shocked, but it was kind of a surprise."

Scalzo and Stellato are "really good friends," the receiver said, and they hang out together just about every weekend.

"It shows on the field," Stellato said. "He has confidence in me to throw up those balls in some of those one on ones and contested passes. He has that confidence in me so the relationship shows on the field. It's really good. The relationship off the field helps his trust in me and that's why we're doing so good or as good as we are."

Stellato said Scalzo has made it clear what he likes about Kentucky.

"Even before I got offered he's been telling me in a couple of years he wants me there with him. He likes everything about the school and the coaches. He really likes the environment and he's nudging me there," Stellato said.

Although Stellato hasn't visited any other schools he did tell Cats Illustrated he's likely to take some other trips once the season is over.

While he's only at the beginning of his recruitment, Stellato acknowledged that Scalzo being at UK will make the Wildcats a more attractive option.

"Me and Nik are only going to have this year together and with the connection we have, if he's the starting quarterback when I'm going to college then, yeah, that'd be a big upside for Kentucky," he said.