Player Profile #12 – OT Anthony Castonzo

As time is running out on the start of the upcoming draft, we are going to jump ahead on some of these profiles and make sure you learn about some of the players that could fall to the Chiefs in the first round. We start with OT Anthony Castonzo.  We will continue to mix in other players as well.

It has been producing NFL players for over 30 years. More than 70 cadets from Fork Union Military Academy have been drafted or signed by NFL teams. That includes players like QB Vinny Testaverde, RB Eddie George and WR Plaxico Burress. To that group we can add OT Anthony Castonzo.

After high school graduation, Castonzo was a 6-7, 215-pound self-described “drink of water” who couldn’t find a school on the Division 1 level of college football interested in signing him. So the kid from suburban Chicago went off to center Virginia and FUMA. He marched, he wore the uniform, and he did all the things the other cadets did.

But Castonzo was there not to improve his grades, but to get bigger and to improve his standing with recruiters. After playing on the line both ways for the Blue Devils, he had his choice of Division 1 tickets. He picked Boston College and four years later, he should become the first offensive lineman taken in this year’s draft class.

“It was a tremendous help for me,” Castonzo said of his time at Fork Union. “It really set up what happened over the last four years.”

Here’s the rest of his story.

FAMILY MATTERS

Anthony Salvatore Castonzo

Born – August 9, 1988 in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois.

Family – Parents are Shair and Bill Castonzo, and Anthony is the fourth of the couple’s four children. Dad is a football coach at St. Viator High School in Chicago. He was an offensive lineman at Illinois where he played all four years. Older brother Bill played quarterback at Drake University in Des Moines. Sister Kristyn got a softball scholarship to Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee. Second sister Carissa got a softball scholarship to Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-feet, 7 inches.
  • Weight – 311 pounds.
  • Arm – 34½ inches.
  • Hand – 10 5/8 inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 5.21 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.92 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.80 seconds.
  • Bench press – 28 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 29 inches.
  • Broad jump – 8-feet, 9 inches.

Physical oddity – his left foot is a size 18 and his right foot is a size 17 – the results of a growth spurt he experienced in high school. He wears size 17 shoes to play football and size 18 on the street.

HIGH SCHOOL

Castonzo was part of the graduating class of 2006 at Lake Zurich High School, part of the Community Unit School District 95 in Lake Zurich, Illinois. He was a three-year player for the Bears and head coach Mike DiMatteo.

He earned All-Area honors in his senior season from the Arlington Daily-Herald as a two-way tackle.

He also played basketball and was part of the track & field team at Lake Zurich where he earned All-North Suburban Conference honors in the discus.

FOOTBALL

2005 – The Bears made the state playoffs again going 5-5 on the season.

2004 – LZHS finished with a 7-3 record and a spot in the state playoffs.

2003 – Castonzo saw plenty of playing time as a sophomore for a team that went 6-4 and made the state playoffs.

PREP SCHOOL

Castonzo enrolled for the fall semester at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia.

2006 – He was a two-way tackle for the Blue Devils and coach John Shuman. He also saw some snaps at tight end.

RECRUITING

When Castonzo graduated from Lake Zurich H.S., he did not have any scholarship offers. He was a 6-7, 220 pounds “a drink of water” is how he described himself. In one year at Fork Union, he added 20 pounds of muscle.

Eventually, Boston College, UConn, Virginia Tech, Stanford, Temple and Vanderbilt showed interest. He committed to B.C. in January 2007 and enrolled at Boston College for the spring semester.

COLLEGE

Castonzo graduated in May ’10 with a degree in biochemistry major from Boston College, finishing with a 3.5 GPA. He was enrolled in post-graduate courses during the ’10 fall semester.

He established a new record for career starts for the Eagles, opening all 54 games that he played over four years.

He was a three-time, first-team All-ACC. In ’10, he earned third-team offense status on the Associated Press All-America squad.

Castonzo received the 2010 Scanlan Award, presented to the Boston College senior football player who excels on the field, in the classroom and in the community. In 2009 he received the Anne and Gerald B. Healy Scholarship for Academic Excellence.

2010 – (Captain) He started all 13 games at left tackle as the Eagles went 7-5.

2009 – Named to the first-team All-ACC offense, Castonzo started all 13 games at left tackle in what was an 11-3 season.

2008 – He moved from RT to LT and started all 14 games for a team that went 9-5. They lost again in the ACC title game to Virginia Tech and fell to Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl.

2007 – As a freshman, he showed up weighing just 246 pounds with his 6-7 frame. But Castonzo became the first true freshman to start on the B.C. offensive line since 1998. He opened all 14 games at the RT spot protecting QB Matt Ryan. He received several post-season All-Freshman honors. The Eagles lost the ACC Championship Game to Virginia, but came back and beat Michigan State in the Citrus Bowl.

ACADEMICS

Castonzo earned his degree in biochemistry, finishing with a 3.45 GPA. He was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, called the academic Heisman. He was also one of 16 players to receive a National Scholar-Athlete Award presented each year by the National Football Foundation. The honor came with a $25,000 scholarship.

When he came out of Lake Zurich High School, Castonzo’s GPA was 4.2. His ACT score was 35 and SAT score was 1,440.

His test score of 41 was the second highest score in the Wonderlic intelligence test among the players tested in February at the 2011 NFL Combine.

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – For the run game he comes off the snap with a good initial punch, but after that he’s inconsistent. When he gets his hands placed right, he can drive his man off the line. In pass protection he moves his feet well on the snap and has good lateral movement as he slides with the rusher. His long arms make it hard for pass rushers to get their hands on him. Great effort guy and he understands the game and is very smart, and is also very football smart.

Weaknesses – Tall and lanky without a lot of ballast in the lower half of his body, Castonzo can lose the battle for leverage and get himself pushed and pulled out of position. He will need to get stronger, especially since he’s not gifted physically with a lot of power in his gluts and quads. He needs to learn to use his hands better, especially when dealing with speed rushers.

Analysis – He’ll likely start his career at left tackle, but long-term he might play longer in the league on the right side. There’s no reason he won’t play for a decade, but whether he’ll excel and become a Pro Bowler remains impossible to tell at this point.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

A scout for an AFC team said – “Solid player who probably won’t make may Pro Bowls, but he’ll hold down one of the tackle. He’s really not very strong and he’s got a lean and lanky physique that can add some weight. He needs more muscle.”

A scout for an NFC team said – “He’s not a finished product, but one thing we know is he’ll figure it out. He’s smart, but he has a football player’s mentality. Usually it’s one or the other.”

WHAT HE SAID

On the importance of intelligence in playing along the offensive line – “I think it’s huge because you got to be able to understand not just what you’re doing on a play but kind of how the play works out as a scheme because defenses are not stationary. They’re constantly moving around so you’ve got to know how you’re going to react to how they’re going to react. It’s almost like a game of chess; just trying to stay one step ahead.”

“Growing up I heard from a lot of people don’t set your sights on the NFL because you might be heartbroken. I’ve always thought; why not shoot for the stars? It’s just something I’ve always desired to be the best and regardless of what anyone says it’s what I’m going to try and do.”

“Football is something I love so I pour everything I have into it. I want to be the best. I feel like no matter how good I am I can always be better. (I’m) constantly thinking about the game. I think that’s what sets me apart.”

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM

Boston College offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill – “His athleticism is unquestioned. That’s what makes him what he can be.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

In a word, yes. There might be better options at tackle, possibly Southern Cal’s Tyron Smith or Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin, but Anthony Castonzo is worthy of the 21st pick. There’s a chance he can play on the left side, and that would open up things to possibly move Branden Albert inside to guard. A.C. would garner Pioli/Haley a grade of A.

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