After playing one season at Miami of Ohio, Evan Azzara announced on June 1 via Twitter that he’s committed to Duquesne. Azzara is a 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle who hails from Plum, which is just outside of Pittsburgh.
Azzara will officially sign with Duquesne on July 1.
“I really liked all my options, some I liked more than others,” Azzara said about being in the transfer portal. “My top three schools from a recruiting standpoint were Duquesne, Notre Dame College (a D-2 powerhouse) and Concord, but that’s five hours away. Duquesne is in my own backyard. I liked Saint Francis, but I didn’t feel a home vibe like with Duquesne. Duquesne is in the city and there’s stuff to do. Miami of Ohio has a few places, but other than that you had to drive to Cincinnati. I like the city.”
Along with liking Duquesne’s urban campus, Azzara said head coach Jerry Schmitt played a big role in him committing.
“I really like how he comes from a teaching background and that there’s multiple ways to attack a problem,” Azzura said. “Same thing with the offensive line coach (Mike Silianoff), he comes from a teaching background. They’re going to help you understand football. I feel like that’s what’s going to separate you from the rest.
“When I first met Coach Schmitt he gave me like a father figure vibe. He is down-to-earth. He wants to win, but he wants to help you as a person also. He’s going to make it so you’re the best football player, but the lessons he teaches you are going to make you a better player, teammate, person, friend and co-worker.”
Azzara entered the transfer portal after one year at Miami of Ohio because the coach who recruited him left for another school. He also was moved around often on the offensive line. Overall, it just wasn’t an ideal situation.
“The coach that recruited me is at Iowa now. It just wasn’t the best fit,” Azzara said. “That was one of the main reasons I entered the portal. I’m pretty much a tackle, and they were playing me at guard. I was fine with it, but I’m 6-foot-6 and used to playing tackle. I was playing at left guard, left tackle. I never played at a spot where I can stay and get good at.”
Along with playing tackle and guard, Azzara has experience playing center as well, which bodes well with Duquesne’s philosophy of creating versatile offensive lineman.
“I can snap, too. I snapped in the playoffs for Plum,” Azzara said. “Duquesne likes to cross train. I like that, where you can play every position. When I entered the portal, everyone saw me as a tackle. At Duquesne, they have you practice multiple positions. It’s a good opportunity for me because I can snap, and that opens up another position.”
Players report to training camp on July 27. In the meantime, Azzara will be training at Plum High School or the local gym, along with getting acclimated with Duquesne’s playbook.
“I train on my own,” Azzara said. “I have to take a summer class to train with the team. It’s been a pretty hectic last couple of months with recruiting. I go to the local gym or the high school. I have access to the facility.”