Jordan Diamond, a 6'7" 280 pound tackle from perennial Chicago Public League contender Simeon Vocational High School, is already attracting attention, not only for his well-assembled frame but also for his abundant potential. Diamond attributes his success mostly to his attitude about the game.
"I'm competitive. I like to compete. I want to be known as one of the best, and I want to compete against the best. I'm aggressive. I like to get the running back some yards and make sure our quarterback stays on his feet since I play left tackle."
At his size, it is easy to make the assumption that Diamond is just another large, sluggish lineman. But he claims that what most people would perceive to be his weakness is actually a strength for him.
"Probably my speed, I'm really agile. I've been doing a lot of pulling and trapping this year so far, and college coaches haven't seen that yet."
Diamond is a hard worker and isn't one to let up when it comes to improving himself. He's determined to raise his game to another level over the next couple years and knows what he needs to do to get there.
"Really I need to get faster, and my footwork is key. Other than that I'm always working on strength and working on the mental aspect of the game."
His numbers for weight lifting indicate he has been working hard on strength.
"Right now I'm at 360 on bench, and I squat 380 or close to 400."
Aside from holding himself accountable, Diamond and teammates like Chris Bryant hold each other accountable.
"We emphasize teamwork all the time. We're like a family. We're trying to do something that's never been done, and we need to work together for that to happen so we can meet our goal to go undefeated."
In recent years, Simeon has produced some quality linemen. In 2010 it was Fabbians Ebelle, in 2011 it is the highly recruited Bryant, and in 2012 Diamond looks to be the next Simeon lineman to make a splash with the 2009 city champions.
"I gotta keep working hard, going to some of these camps. Just trying to get a little recognition but stay low key and not grab a bunch of attention."
Hard work, determination, and humility have made Diamond a real "gem" in the 2012 class, and many colleges are already seeking his services. Some of the early programs after him are Arizona, Michigan, MSU, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northern Illinois.
His early verbal offers include Illinois, Arizona, and Eastern Michigan. Though it is still early, Diamond does say that three programs stand out to him early on.
"I haven't really visited all of them yet. Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois are at the top right now."
Those schools seem logical according to what he looks for in a college.
"Staying close to home is very important to me because I'm a big family guy. I need to get my education and be able to get to the next level as well. Placement into the league factors in a bit."
Having already made a trip or two to Champaign to visit Illinois, first on the Junior day in April, Diamond is familiar with the Illini. While there he felt that same family feel that many players commend when they visit.
"I have a comfort zone at Illinois. I have a feeling like Illinois could be the place. Coach (Joe) Gilbert is a fun guy to be around. I want to go to a college that feels like a second home, and I feel like that could be the place for me."
Diamond still plans to get around to see other schools that have expressed interest in him.
"I still need to see a few of the places I haven't gotten to yet. I want to get down to Miami. I want to get back to Illinois again. Ohio State, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are on the list too."
It's still early, but Diamond plans to follow the same process as Ebelle and Bryant when it comes to making a college decision.
"I think I'm going to take as much time as I can and really take in the recruiting process and enjoy the ride and make a decision I won't regret."