DAVIE, Fla. — NSU University School of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., warmed up a bit earlier than usual Friday in Davie. It was senior night at AutoNation Field, so NSU University had to get its prep in earlier than usual for its biggest regular-season game yet. Josh Sanguinetti decided this meant testing an array of one-handed grabs.
The 4-star athlete is one of the top players in the Class of 2019 because of how smoothly he plays. Even the most dazzling one-handed catches seem almost effortless for the junior. This was the case for the most impressive play of University’s 27-15 win against Champagnat Catholic School of Hialeah, Fla., although it didn’t even count.
Sanguinetti, who primarily plays wide receiver and cornerback, lined up as the lone safety and chased an overthrow in the middle of the field. He tracked backward and stuck his right hand out as the pass dropped over his shoulder. Sanguinetti simply let the ball ease into his right hand for his second interception of the day — until the play was negated by a roughing-the-passer penalty.
“I just saw my opportunity to get it,” Sanguinetti said, “and I got it.”
The Sharks sideline erupted in joy, but not necessarily disbelief. They cried out, tongue in cheek, pleading for Champagnat Catholic to decline the penalty and let Sanguinetti’s latest awe-inspiring play stand as official.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” fellow 4-star athlete Kenny McIntosh said of the pick. “He does it every day in practice. We go back and forth at it, man.”
For the outside observer, though, Sanguinetti doesn’t exactly look the part of the nation’s No. 2 athlete, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound baby-faced athlete isn’t an overwhelming physical presence, nor does he possess track-star speed.
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) October 20, 2017
Instead, he became the No. 20 player in his class because of his attention to detail. He does things like spend pregame warm-ups perfecting his one-handed catches and is more concerned with his technique as a defensive back than he is with making highlight-reel catches as a receiver.
“He’s got the baby face and all, but his work ethic, man,” McIntosh said. “The way he moves his body and stuff like that, he’s got the hips on him and the way he uses it that’s what makes him so good.
“It’s very smooth, man.”
Friday’s win was one of the most important in school history. Sanguinetti was the most impressive player on the field. As a wideout, Sanguinetti caught 2 passes for 45 yards, plus another 2-point conversion catch. In the secondary, he made a handful of tackles, 1 interception that counted and helped University force the Lions into 5 turnovers. He could be a Power 5 prospect on either side of the ball, which is what Miami is offering him the chance to be.
Sanguinetti has a clear top 3 at this point with the Hurricanes, Ohio State and Stanford. While most schools are recruiting Sanguinetti as a corner, Miami and the Cardinal are willing to let him go both ways.
This is Sanguinetti’s instinct. He has a superstar mentality, which he brought to Friday’s game and could take to the next level.
“I just knew I had to come out here and make plays,” Sanguinetti said, “so that’s what I came out and did for my team is make plays.”
Sanguinetti is the top priority for Miami in next year’s recruiting cycle and the Hurricanes are already positioned well. The only game visit Sanguinetti has locked in so far this fall is on Nov. 11, when No. 8 Miami hosts No. 13 Notre Dame at Hard Rock Stadium. The athlete also wants to see the No. 6 Buckeyes and No. 22 Stanford play in person this fall if he can fit them into his schedule.
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) October 21, 2017
Sanguinetti isn’t in any rush to make a decision, but the Hurricanes’ strong start is, of course, making an impression.
And so are the Hurricanes’ efforts on the recruiting trail. Miami has a loaded crop of defensive backs incoming for the Class of 2018. It has a small yet star-studded group of wide receivers. Sanguinetti could fit right in with either, but why not both?
“I like what they’re doing and they’ve got a big 2018 class coming in,” Sanguinetti said, “so they should be good.”