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St. Joe Prep’s Anthony Sacca chooses Notre Dame as his next destination

Written by: on Saturday, March 30th, 2024. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.


Photos courtesy of Rick Martin

In the end, it came down to the people. Anthony Sacca, St. Joseph Prep’s multi-talented 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior linebacker, announced on Saturday that he will be attending Notre Dame.

Sacca said he told Irish head coach Marcus Freeman and defensive coordinator Al Golden on Monday, and Sacca stressed Freeman, Golden and Irish linebacker Max Bullough played a big role in his decision.

“I’m glad that this is over, and happy to make my announcement, because it’s been a long time coming,” said Sacca, the son of former Penn State and Delran star Tony Sacca. “It was not easy. I was mainly focused on Notre Dame, Ohio State and Alabama, and my other two were Wisconsin and Duke (where former St. Joe’s Prep head coach Gabe Infante is).

“I felt a connection with coach Freeman, coach Golden and coach Bullough. I didn’t really see where I could fit at Penn State. That was my decision. When I came out with my top schools and a ton of respect to the Penn State coaching staff, but I just didn’t see it as a place for me.

“I would say my relationship with coach Freeman, coach Golden, and coach Bullough played a big factor in my recruitment.”

Sacca started as a freshman at national-level St. Joe’s Prep. He was an impactful player as a safety his freshman and sophomore years. Last year, for the first time, he moved up to linebacker, where in his first game, in the Hawks’ season opener against IMG, his 10-yard touchdown off a scoop-and-score in the fourth quarter turned what seemed to be an easy victory for national powerhouse IMG into a slugfest.

Sacca has always had a knack for being around the ball. Last season, he had 67 tackles with two interceptions and the scoop-and-score.

At Notre Dame, he is projected to be a “combo backer,” relied to do a little of everything in the Irish defense. Notre Dame plays a lot of 4-2-5, and the interesting thing is Sacca outgrew safety at Prep, to linebacker, and he could keep growing, possibly a few more inches into what Aidan Hutchinson played for Michigan.

Sacca possesses a great blend of size and speed. He said his plan is to be on the field for three snaps.

“This a big thing to get this done now, so I can focus on winning another state championship before I leave,” said Sacca, who wants to major in either business or broadcast journalism at Notre Dame. “I lost in the states as a freshman, and these seniors know what it is like to lose states as freshmen, so we want to go out with the threepeat.

“Notre Dame has the same culture as I have here at Prep. But I can’t wait for my senior year at Prep. We lost a lot of talent from last year, but we return a lot of talent. We have back Max (Roy), (Alex) Haskell, Cam Smith (Duke commit), Ryan McDonald, so we have a lot coming back. We were special on defense last year and I think we could be special again.”

Prep will open the season at St. Edward (Ohio) on Labor Day weekend, and eventually, if tradition holds up, could eventually play the defending PIAA Class 5A state champions, Imhotep Charter, which will move up and play 6A this coming season, for the PIAA District 12 Class 6A championship.

The Philadelphia Catholic League will also undergo a different configuration this coming season, with Bonner-Prendie and Cardinal O’Hara moving up from the small-school Blue Division to the big-school Red Division with St. Joe’s Prep, La Salle, Roman Catholic, Archbishop Wood and Father Judge.

“This season should be a lot of fun,” Sacca said. “I know where I am going and I can enjoy my senior year.”

Joseph Santoliquito is a hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito [].

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