Cougars Looking Into New York Running Back

The Cougars of BYU are in the hunt for a top running back out of New York that rushed for 3,297 yards and scored 33 touchdowns during his high school career. According to him, coaching staff is close to offering him.

Somer High School running back Matt Deiana of Lincolndale, New York has played on the varsity football team since he was in the eighth grade and thus played at the varsity level for five years. He was a team captain for three of those years.

Deiana is a quick between-the-tackles type of runner that can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He also claims some impressive speed and strength marks.

"I'm 5'8", 190 pounds and I run the 40 in 4.43 and run the shuttle in 4.06," Deiana said. "My vertical is 32 inches and my max on the bench press is 405 pounds. I'm rep 545 for three sets of ten."

It has even been reported that Deiana can already squat 600 pounds.

"I love to work out and that's one of my favorite things to do," he said. "That's my main thing is athletic training."

As a senior, Deiana carried the ball 120 times for 1,227 yards and had a two-point conversion, and he had seven catches for 130 yards. He also had 51 tackles, seven sacks and a safety while playing outside linebacker and safety. In addition, he had five kickoffs for 193 yards and a touchdown in nine games.

"This year I was all-state, all-section, all-league, all-county, North County News Player of the Year and I was named to the Journal News First-Team Defense," Deiana said. "I also played in the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl game."

Right now Deiana has signed himself up for prep school following his senior year.

"I'm going to Blair Academy in New Jersey," Deiana said. "I have some offers but they weren't something I was comfortable with and I don't want to make a quick decision, so I'm going to go to Blair for a semester and then decide where I want to go in the spring so I can be at a school for the next spring practice."

Generally, high school football players attend a prep school to help prepare for and pass the ACT or SAT for Division I college entrance. Deiana's college entrance scores are fine for most Division I colleges, but would need to be raised a bit higher for the more academically stringent universities currently recruiting him.

"I'm doing pretty good and my GPA is around a 2.9, but my ACT was a 26 and SAT was a 1160," Deiana said. "I had some colleges like Colgate, Princeton, and Army that offered me a scholarship [that] wanted me to bring that up, so going to a prep school should help me with that."

There are a lot of colleges at varying levels recruiting Deiana. They include Delaware, Villanova, Temple, Syracuse, Princeton, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Colgate, Army, Sacred Heart, Penn State, Wagner, Marist, Rutgers, BYU, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Currently his offers are from Colgate, Sacred Heart and Army.

"Right now the schools that I'm talking to the most are Buffalo, Rutgers, UConn, Wisconsin, BYU and Penn State," said Deiana. "I was the next running back on Wisconsin's list to be offered but they offered someone else and he committed. If I don't go to a high Division I school I would rather go to a lower college but with high academic standards."

As for BYU, the Cougar coaching is apparently pretty interested in Deiana.

"BYU called my coach about a month and a half ago and told him that they were actually looking to offer me," Deiana said, who is being recruited primarily by Coach Higgins. "They told him that they were going to look over their recruits for the 2011 class and get an idea of what they want. They told him that they would call him back in April and that there is a high chance they would offer me and want me to commit before the end of the summer so they could help get me squared away before next spring. They're recruiting me pretty heavily and said they would let me know if they were going to offer me and said they would call my coach in April to let me know. So that will probably be in about three weeks or so."

Obviously, Utah is quite a distance from Deiana's home in New York.

"I would prefer to stay close over going far away, but I don't have a problem going far away if there was an opportunity for me," Deiana said. "I didn't really look into BYU all that much until they called my coach and started recruiting me, but after looking into the college and the program they have out there I became very interested in BYU and excited about it. They beat Oklahoma last year.

"I'm always looking online and looking for tips on the schools that are recruiting me. I'm always checking out the places that I feel I would fit best and try to focus on those schools. It's a lot harder than everyone thinks."

BYU's honor code and strict social standards are not an issue with Deiana, who isn't LDS.

"Yeah, that's a huge attraction to me because when you're done playing football you want to do something after that will be with you for the rest of your life," Deiana said. "I just know it would be a great opportunity for me and I know they have a very strict code of conduct and obligations that you have to live by, but that doesn't bother me in the least bit. I don't like to go out that much so being at a place that focuses on football and school would be a big plus for me. I go to church most every Sunday and I like religion a good amount."

As for now, Deiana would like to come see the BYU campus and football program firsthand.

"I'm going to try and see if I can make out there over spring camp so I can see how they do things out there. I would like to see what kind of players they have and how intense they practice and the system they have and things like that. I haven't finalized anything but I'm planning on checking it out and some other schools that are showing interest in me over the summer."

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