football Edit

Who is George Eshareturi?

When Iowa fans learned that 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman George Eshareturi of Mt. St. Michael of New York City committed to Iowa, one word may have come to mind more than any other: Who?

As in, 'Who is George Eshareturi?'


Granted, he was not in any national recruiting database and the Catholic High School Football League of New York City is not exactly as familiar to Iowa fans as say, the Central Iowa Metro League.

But in this day and age of college football where teams are limited to just 85 scholarship players on the roster at one time, there are fewer and fewer 'reaches' in the recruiting game, especially in early December and when your team is ranked #3 in the nation coming off of an 11-1 season, including it's first ever 8-0 finish in Big Ten play Iowa.

Iowa saw something in Eshareturi that they liked, enough to offer him a full ride, pay for him to come on an official visit to Iowa (D1 schools are limited to 55 official visitors per year) and ultimately accept his verbal commitment.

"George is about 6-foot-3, 290-pounds and I think the thing that makes him stand out is his athleticism," said Mario Valentini, Mt. St. Michael head football coach and athletic director.

"He is a big, strong kid who runs very well from sideline to sideline. I think that is one of the reasons that Iowa really liked him because when you get a big kid like that, he is not just someone who sits there taking up space; he moves really well."

"His athleticism really stands out and that jumps out at you when you watch film."

Sometime between Iowa's comeback win against Purdue and their manhandling of Michigan is when the Hawkeye coaching staff contacted Eshareturi.

"Iowa started recruiting him mid-season. I received a call from them at that point, asking about him and they kind of stayed on him all the way through and were very impressed with him." Valentini said. "I think he is going to be a good find for them."

Just how did Iowa find out about Eshareturi when no other high major Division I schools were even aware of him?

"Strangely enough, I guess one of the local Division III college coaches saw him play and knew one of Iowa's assistant coaches and alerted them to him and from there they saw some film and they got the ball rolling." Valentini said.

Iowa watched some film on Eshareturi and that was enough to more than pique their interest and then a few months later, he is a Hawkeyes.

This begs another question (or four); how did Eshareturi go unnoticed by some Eastern teams and what type of league does Mt. St. Michael play in?

"Our league is a very competitive league," Valentini said. "There are 21 schools in the league and we run from New York to Staten Island to Westchester County. The league has put out a number of players who have played all over the place."

"St Anthony's has sent a kid to Wisconsin a few years ago and there was a kid from our league that went to Penn State last year. We have had kids go on to some pretty good schools."

The CHSFL even has some Big Ten coaching connections.

"The head coach at Indiana (Gerry DiNardo) played in our league years ago, at St Francis Prep. A kid from Staten Island went to Indiana last year. There is some pretty good talent here."

So then, we wondered, is there just a lack of exposure?

"I think New York City, in general, is overlooked because people feel we are a basketball area." Valentini said. "But I think there are a lot of kids in this area who are players."

"One of the things that we lack here are kids playing Pop Warner football. There isn't a whole lot of that, especially in the inner city. We have kids who are athletic, so it's just a matter of getting them up to speed."

"If you go outside of New York, there are high schools that play 14 or 15 games schedules but we don't have that in New York, we have some restrictions. It makes it a little more difficult for our kids to get recruited sometimes."

"So as far as being overlooked or under-publicized, I don't think it's that as much as finding the kids who would fit with different programs."

Given what Valentini told us, we asked him whether or not he felt that in a few years, some schools in the Northeast may be regretting that they didn't spend more time finding a George Eshareturi?

"It's very possible. I am surprised that some of the Big East schools haven't jumped in on him, but maybe a part of that is my doing, because I am real conservative." Valentini said. "I don't like to push a kid to a level that he can't play at, so I kind of wait and see sometimes just where a kid is at."

"In some areas, you see all of these kids on the Top 100 lists in all of the scouting services, I am leery of doing that at times, because I want to make sure that a kid that I coach will be a fit for the level that he wants to play at."

"But George came into camp in great shape this year and he got better and better each week, so about mid way through the season I was convinced that he could play at a high level. He really committed himself this off-season in the weight room and running, and he is focused in on football."

Valentini's comments regarding a coaches role in 'publicizing' his players has always been a factor in recruiting, especially in areas that are not necessarily recruiting hotbeds.

A high school coach can have a huge impact as to whether or not his players get the type of boost they need to get noticed.

But in the end, it all worked out well for Eshareturi, but he still had to take his visit to Iowa to sort a few things out.

"I would say that before he took his trip to Iowa City he was trying to figure out 'What the heck is Iowa? Where in the hell are they?'" Valentini joked. "But I think coming back, he was very impressed with the support that the people in Iowa give to football and all of their athletics"

"He was impressed with the people of Iowa, the coaches and the kids that he met with. He came back having really enjoyed his visit and it obviously went well, because he was ready to commit right away when he got home."

Eshareturi was recently awarded the Innagural Vincent O'Connor Award as the CHSFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player and was recognized as an All-State performer. Iowa is making a recruiting emphasis of defensive line this year and that is where Eshareturi may end up, but not necessarily, says Valentini.

"I think they are going to look at him as a defensive tackle right away because of his athleticism and his being able to run so well," Valentini said. "But I think he could play on the offensive line as well."

So that is how little known George Eshareturi found his way to one of the hottest football programs in all of college football.