Michigan Lineman Focusing on CMU

Offensive guard John Stipek anchors one of the finest prep offensive lines in the state of Michigan at Macomb Dakota High School. He currrently holds scholarship offers from two Mid-American Conference schools, including Central Michigan University.

Macomb (Mich.) Dakota High School football head coach Mike Gianone has been around the game of football long enough to recognize a special player when he sees one.

Gianone feels Dakota offensive lineman John Stipek is one of those special players.

"John is an excellent player," Gianone said. "He has great speed, great feet and hands, and a motor that never stops. John is still growing too."

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Stipek is a three-year varsity starter and two-year team captain for the 6-1 Cougars. He has been clocked at 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash and can bench press more than 300 pounds.

Those credentials would seem to make Stipek an ideal offensive line candidate for Central Michigan's spread offense. The Chippewas, along with the University of Toledo, have both offered Stipek a scholarship. Gianone said Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Michigan State are also interested in his star player.

"I'm looking toward CMU," Stipek said. "I'm very interested in Central Michigan for football and academics."

Stipek's position coach at Dakota is former CMU All-MAC offensive lineman Art Droski. Gianone said both he and Droski feel that Stipek would be an ideal lineman in CMU's spread offense.

"We (Dakota coaching staff) all think John has the ability to play in that type of offense," Gianone said. "He has the strength and power to block bigger guys and he can run, which is a plus.

Stipek credits Droski with his development as a Division I-A college prospect.

"Coach Droski is the reason I'm where I'm at right now," Stipek said. "He taught me run-blocking, how to pull and he helped me improve my stance. Coach Droski was an All-MAC offensive lineman and he knows what he's doing. He's the real deal."

Stipek is part of an offensive line at Dakota that he feels is the finest in the state. The unit averages 260 pounds per man and all five players can bench press more than 300 pounds.

"I couldn't have a better group of guys to play alongside on the offensive line," Stipek said. "How well we perform as a unit I think will determine how far Dakota can go in the playoffs."

The Cougars only loss this season was to Macomb Area Conference Red Division rival Sterling Heights Stevenson, 30-13. Dakota bounced back with a big win two weeks ago against MAC Red rival Chippewa Valley, 21-17.

With his senior season winding down, Stipek said he would like to make a decision soon on where he will play his college football.

"I want to make a decision by the end of the season," Stipek said. "I'm going to schedule an official visit to CMU for the first or second weekend of December."

According to Stipek, CMU has much of what he's looking for, including a great offensive line coach in Jeff Quinn, who's been recruiting Stipek since his sophomore year.

"For the past two years I've been up to CMU three or four times," said Stipek, who's being recruited to play guard for the Chippewas. "I really think coach Quinn has things going in the right direction with the offensive line.

"Mount Pleasant is a great college town and Central seems to have more energy than Toledo," Stipek added. "My parents like CMU a lot. My mom went to school there."

Gianone said Droski would love to see Stipek follow in his footsteps and play for the Chippewas.

"Coach Droski feels John should go to CMU," Gianone laughed.

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