May 1, 2009

Coach: Dileo among best multi-purpose athletes

Sitting next to Drew Dileo's mother at a Parkview Baptist High School baseball game last week, football coach Kenny Guillot learned a startling fact about his star receiver, one that guaranteed he would wear the winged helmet, if the Wolverines would have him …

"His mother told me that he goes to sleep every night under a Michigan cover on his bed and that he had been a Michigan fan his entire life," Guillot said. "I thought maybe she was kidding me but when I talked to Drew, it was obvious that he has always had this dream of playing of playing for Michigan.

"When Coach [Fred] Jackson came through here and Drew received a written scholarship offer from Coach [Rich] Rodriguez I didn't even need to ask him - I knew he wanted to commit. Normally, you want a young man to take his time but this is the opportunity of a lifetime for this young man and I can't think of a better reason to make this decision now. I bet his room probably will have a lot more Michigan in it just as soon as he can load up on stuff."

The 5-10, 175-pounder slot receiver, who committed to U-M on Thursday, also held offers from Stanford, Tulane and Rice. He is a multi-faceted athlete that holds school records in career punt return touchdowns (six), punt-return average (16.3 yards) and kickoff return average (34.8 yards) while listing fourth in Eagles' history with 3,390 all-purpose yards.

"It's really remarkable watching him return kicks and punts because all within the blink of a second you can see him idle down to make the catch, survey the scene to find his blockers and locate the seam and then take off," Guillot said. "The great ones can all make that first guy miss if they need to, and he certainly can, but you also can't waste time juking every defender on the field and he has a natural instinct for hitting the home run without taking on everyone."

A Class 3A all-state performer in each of the past two seasons, and the MVP of the 2007 state title game - helping Parkview to its second state title since 2000 (2001) - Dileo returns kicks, plays receiver and running back, some quarterback and some cornerback. He is the only Eagle player to have returned a punt and kickoff for a touchdown, scored a receiving touchdown and thrown a touchdown in the same season.

"In our semifinal game two years ago, he made a circus catch for a two-point conversion to get us into overtime," Guillot said. "He was covered, but I told our quarterback no matter what to throw to Drew because he's our playmaker. Anytime we need a big play, we go to him because he delivers every time.

"I hope we have someone on this year's team, a young kid, that can take some of that pressure off but I know that even if we don't, we can go to Drew no matter what the situation and he'll deliver."

Parkview Baptist plays against public-school teams in, arguably, the toughest classification in Louisiana so Dileo's success on the football field should not be diminished. He's also a top student off the field, scoring an ACT in the mid-20s.

"I love this kid, and I'm going to miss him someday," Guillot said. "One of the things you worry about when someone commits this early is whether it will go to his head, but Drew has no ego. He plays second base on the baseball team here and he's just one of the guys."

Dileo sports a 4.5 40-yard dash but could become a tad faster in college working with strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis.

"I told Fred that he's never really worked on his speed because as soon as we start our offseason in January, he's working out with the baseball team and then he misses our spring practices because he's got playoff games," Guillot said. "He doesn't even start training for us until the summer and while he makes some gains, it's very difficult to realize your maximum potential in just a month or two.

"But this kid works and loves to run. I really think as good as he's been for us, he's going to be even better for Michigan."

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