As DiLuigi began prepping himself for the next level - playing Division-I football at BYU - he began to push himself even harder through consistent workouts. However, he has been held back due to a freak occurrence, one that is preventing him from being where he wants to be at physically when he reports to BYU in about two weeks.
"I was running when I stepped on a newspaper," said DiLuigi. "I heard something pop and just kept running. As I kept running I felt my foot get worse and worse until I couldn't run and I knew that I had broke it."
Having to spend six weeks on the couch while unable to workout was indeed frustrating for DiLuigi, who through his prep accomplishments has a heap of expectations placed upon him before he even reports to the team.
Throughout his prep playing days, DiLuigi was able to dodge oncoming linebackers and lumbering defensive linemen, and was never seriously hurt throughout his playing career. But, it was a little newspaper that finally got the best of the star running back.
"I can't tell you how frustrating it was," said DiLuigi. "I love to work and know that I need to work even harder to get ready for college football. Not being able to do that because of stepping on a stupid newspaper was very frustrating."
Just over three weeks removed from the injury, DiLuigi is pushing himself as hard as possible to work his way back to where he wants to be physically.
"I'm back to where I was physically, but not where I wanted to be at this time, obviously," said DiLuigi. "I know that I need to be in the best shape possible to contribute right away and I got set back a bit, but during these next few weeks I aim to work as hard as possible, so I can be ready to make an impact right when I get to BYU."
DiLuigi's workouts include a strenuous hour-and-a-half to two hour session every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dubbed "circuit workouts" by DiLuigi, these workouts involve him doing "explosion" work with his godfather, who is training to be a fighter.
"It's really intense," said DiLuigi. "It's the hardest workouts I've ever done and it's constant. There isn't any downtime; it's pretty much one-and-a-half to two hours of straight work. I'm working most to increase my strength and my burst. The workouts combine almost every muscle, so I'm getting in some good work in the little time I have left."
During the other days DiLuigi does cardio-vascular workouts as he preps for the high mountain air in Provo.
"We just run to the hills," said DiLuigi. "We work on sprints, long-distance and everything. I've finally been able to get my speed back. I'm as fast now as I was when I played last year and have the same movement. Now I just need to work on improving it."
Most freshman report to BYU with almost no expectations placed on them immediately to perform. Contributing right away, let alone at a skill position such as receiver or running back, is something only a select few are able to accomplish. Players with these high expectations placed on them belong to an exclusive list that includes such players as Austin Collie, McKay Jacobson, and now, J.J. DiLuigi.
"It's sort of a double-edged sword," said DiLuigi. "On one hand I wouldn't have it any other way. I have high expectations for myself and it makes me work even harder knowing the expectations I have. I had the same expectations all through high school, so it's nothing new."
Contributing right away is definitely what DiLuigi is aiming for as a true freshman, whether it be playing tailback at the slot-receiving position, or returning kicks. DiLuigi just wants to get on the field and help out.
"Coaches are telling me that they'll play me at tailback," said DiLuigi. "But they've also mentioned that they may try me out at HR or a little of both, we'll just have to see. I just want to play. I want to contribute right away and not just on the practice field where a lot of players help out. I want to contribute in games in any way that I can."
DiLuigi is well-aware of what will contribute most to his ability of playing right away.
"It's all about hard work," said DiLuigi. "It's about pushing yourself as hard as possible. I'll be working out and I'll be feeling like I'm done for the day or with the set I'm doing, and I'll just think about what the players currently on the team in Provo are doing, and I'll keep going. I know they're doing as much as they can and I need to keep up, so I can help them out as much as possible when I'm part of the team."
DiLuigi will be arriving in Provo August 1, two days before practices begin. So what will DiLuigi be bringing to the Cougar football team in addition to his superior athletic talents?
"Heart," answered DiLuigi. "I have a lot of heart when I play and when I practice. I love to pump up my teammates on the playing field. I did that all through high school and I'll do the same in college. I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to play at BYU. It's so close now, it's almost here. I just can't wait to get going."