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New Jersey DE AJ Pena Enjoys Visit to Pitt



Pat Narduzzi’s defense dominated in yesterday’s win over Ohio University, sacking Bobcat quarterback Nathan Rourke six times and pressuring him all game.

When a high school defensive player watches a performance like that, it most likely gets them to think about one day playing in that sort of scheme.

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That was the case for 2021 New Jersey defensive end/linebacker AJ Pena (6’2”, 225) who made an unofficial visit yesterday for the Ohio game.

“I’ve been talking with Coach Salem now for a couple months. He originally started following me on Twitter and we started talking from there,” said Pena. “I then got the invite from Pitt to attend the game and visit things.”

Courtesy of AJ Pena

”I watch Pitt football all the time on TV and I felt that it would be a good place to go see. While there, one of the things that really stood out to me was how well people and coaches treat one another. The fan base is very loyal I can tell and I loved the Pitt coaching staff.”

This was Pena’s first visit to Pittsburgh and hopes it won’t be his last. He says that Salem told him that Pitt plans on watching him this season to get a better evaluation of him as a player and a person. Here’s how Pena described his game to PSN. 

“I play defensive end/hybrid outside linebacker,” said Pena. “I can play stand up or I can get my hand in the dirt. I would compare the way I play to Jadeveon Clowney because they can bring him up to the line from linebacker and they always switch him around to different positions and have him at different spots on the defense.”

”I feel like one of my biggest strengths is the effort I give. Even if the play is backside I’m always running to the ball because you never know. Even if I make a mistake, I always want to give it 110%.”

While at the game yesterday, Pena told me he was focused on watching the defensive ends and linebackers on Pitt’s defensive and what they were doing.

“I was watching how the ends were stunting and also reading their defensive keys. I really could see myself playing in that sort of defensive because that’s what we do here at Somerville.”

The junior tells me that he’s currently hearing most from Pitt, Rutgers, Northern Illinois, UMass and Central Michigan.

“An offer one day from Pitt would mean a lot to me. I really could see myself there especially with that coaching staff.”

Courtesy of AJ Pena

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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