DiLuigi on Hand to Witness Practice

Thursday, top BYU tailback recruit J.J. DiLuigi and his father John DiLuigi were in attendance to soak up the atmosphere and watch the Cougars of BYU practice on a beautiful spring day in Provo, Utah.

He single-handedly put his high school football team on his shoulders and carried them to victory over the nation's number-one ranked high school in the country in De La Salle. J.J. DiLuigi and the Cowboys of Canyon High School became the winners of the first California state high school championship bowl game, where DiLuigi ran for around 143 yards.

Like a kid on Christmas morning, this Italian stallion was among his future Cougar teammates, and even though he wasn't suited up he was watching, learning and enjoying the occasion with bridled enthusiasm.

"I'm really impressed with the brotherhood of all the players out here," said DiLuigi. "They're all really tight and look out for each other out here.

"Watching this practice was just amazing. Everyone was moving from here to there like clockwork. It's a lot different than in high school. This was really exciting and fun for me. I already felt the excitement by being out here and I already want to be out here. I'm ready to come and play and put on the pads with these guys."

Walking among and with his future teammates, DiLuigi often stood on the side to watch some of the drills the coaches placed their charges under. With a smile on his face, DiLuigi watched a drill that involved the running backs facing the linebackers in one on one competition.

"I just liked seeing the linebackers and the running backs going at it," said DiLuigi. "That was the best part and was a lot of fun to watch. The overall offense is really good and it works. They have a system of being able to run the ball or pass the ball effectively. The coaches get the running backs involved in both aspects of that part of the game. When you look at these linemen, they all look great. They're all big and can move and there weren't any sacks or any loses from the running plays, which is really good because I know our defense busts their butts out here. Coach Mendenhall has these guys going and is working them out here. This defense is not filled with a bunch of slackers."

When you have the talent on the scale that DiLuigi possesses, the option of playing different positions on the offense becomes a real one. There was question of whether DiLuigi would play the "H" receiver position or tailback, or possibly both.

"I plan on coming in here and playing running back," said DiLuigi. "That's why I've also been watching the offensive line. You gotta get close with those guys, and they'll be the ones that help me to become successful at running the ball. They'll be the ones blocking and opening up the wholes and much of the success of the running backs will be because of those guys up front."

There is still a chance that the offensive coaches will move DiLuigi around from the tailback position out into the slot receiver position, but his primary spot that he will compete for will be at tailback.

"It will just be like any other situation where I will have to come out here and compete," said DiLuigi. "Right now I'm training really hard because I know that I'll have to do that. I hope that when I get here I can establish some kind of a role and be a part of this team. I want to run the ball and help this team become successful next year as much as I can."

DiLuigi probably could have graduated from high school early, much like Ryan Kessman and McKay Jacobson, but he decided to stay and finish out his entire senior season.

"I still have my 4.1 GPA, which is why I'm here," said DiLuigi, chuckling. "I'm allowed to miss a few days of school because of that. This is just awesome to be out here with this team and to be able to watch these guys practice, knowing that in a couple of months I'm going to be out here with them."

To prepare himself to be ready to jump right in and compete at a higher level, DiLuigi is on a rigid training and diet schedule.

"I've got workouts going five days a week," said DiLuigi. "I'm doing track and I'm working on my speed and my conditioning, but then I'm also working with a speed trainer. I also have a nutritionist who has me on a special diet that helps me cut down on the fat but add lean muscle. We're trying to get me up to 195 pounds."

Getting himself ready to play at the Division I level is something DiLuigi is taking very seriously, and after watching these big boys run their drills and scrimmage he feels he'll be ready.

"Oh yeah, I'm ready," DiLuigi said. "I think I can come out here and compete with them. It's just that I'm still in high school and gotta wait a few more months, and then I can come out here and officially join the team."

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