Big Task Awaits DiLuigi

BYU coaches will give J.J. DiLuigi two position choices when he arrives in Provo. He can compete for a spot among the strongest group of running backs in the Mountain West Conference, or he can move out to the H-receiver position where the depth chart is a little shorter. Wherever he plays, he realizes that he will have a great responsibility to carry on what the graduating seniors started.

J.J. DiLuigi recognizes that both he and his fellow BYU commits have their work cut out for them as they try to build upon what the 2006 Cougar team accomplished.

"After watching the BYU game against Oregon, the only thing that went through my mind is we have a lot of work to do and a lot of big shoes to fill," DiLuigi said.

Currently owning the nation's third longest winning streak behind Ohio State and Boise State, BYU has the schedule make noise on the BCS stage games against UCLA, Arizona, and Tulsa plus a tough Mountain West schedule.

"The [Las Vegas Bowl] game was amazing," said DiLuigi. "That totally put us in the running for a BCS bowl next year. If we can have a great season and beat the Pac-10 schools next year, I think we can do it. Beating Oregon was a big one for us."

The last two times Oregon played a Mountain West Conference team, the Ducks came away a loser. Three years before their 38-8 defeat at the hands of the Cougars, the 19th ranked Ducks lost to Utah 19-13 during the 2003 season.

"It clearly shows that BYU and the Mountain West Conference can hang with some schools in the Pac-10," said DiLuigi. "I think it's just a mindset where everyone thinks we can't, and they haven't gotten out of that mind set. I think if teams like BYU keep on beating teams from the Pac-10 in bowl games and stuff, soon they will have to realize how good the Mountain West Conference really is."

While BYU was putting on a football clinic in Vegas, DiLuigi was attending his high school football team's banquet. Although he missed the live broadcast, DiLuigi and his father caught a rebroadcast later that night.

"I did get to see it after my football banquet," said DiLuigi. "There was a midnight showing and we watched it because we got home really late from our banquet. My mom was on the banquet committee so we had to clean up afterwards. Me and my dad got home at midnight and it was just starting."

DiLuigi was not surprised by the outcome when he watched the game, not only because he expected BYU to win, but because friends text messaged him the score throughout his banquet.

"I heard of the scores from text messages during my banquet from my friend Troy," said DiLuigi. "I just wanted to see it for myself and it was just unreal for me. It was just crazy to see what BYU did in that game."

During his high school banquet, DiLuigi learned that he had received some honors for his performance during the football season.

"Our coach talked about all the players and then we all went on our way," said DiLuigi. "I got first team Daily News and co-offensive player of the year for CIF southern section. I was also Foothill League Player of the Year."

Despite winning the vote in online poll, DiLuigi lost the bid for Mr. Football as the state's top individual performer. However, DiLuigi joined Moorpark running backs Darrell Scott and Oaks Christian of Westlake Village's Marc Tyler as one of the five Californians chosen as the 101 players in the country on PrepNation's All-American football team.

"I'm just excited that I'm going to an awesome team and into an awesome program," DiLuigi said. "We have some big shoes to fill."

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