North Carolina defensive end Zion DeBose committed to Appalachian State this summer but has continued to be recruited by other schools. On Wednesday the University of Missouri extended DeBose his first offer from a Southeastern Conference school.
“It was a pretty good surprise,” DeBose said. “I was surprised when Coach (A.J.) Ofodile hit me up last week and said they were real interested and they had to sit down and watch my film and we could go from there. Today he hit me up again and said they pulled the plug and gave me the offer. I was excited. My first SEC offer. Yeah, I was pretty excited.”
DeBose, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive end, committed to Appalachian State in July over offers from Charlotte, Duke and East Carolina but will take a look at other schools to make sure he makes the right choice.
“I’m committed to App but I’m just keeping my ears and eyes and options open,” he said. “A better opportunity may come. You only go through this recruiting process once and I want to make sure everything is the right choice. If I feel that App is home or if it’s not, I want to make sure I’m doing everything right so I don’t look back on it and make no mistakes or anything like that.”
What does the offer from Missouri mean?
“It means a lot knowing that they have multiple, multiple people in the league from their defensive line,” DeBose said. “It just shows they know what they’re doing. It just shows how passionate their coaches are about what they do. It being SEC, once of the biggest conferences that draws the most attention and where most of the people go to the league from, it means a lot. It makes me feel like after college I may have a shot at the pros. It excites me even more and I’m just ready to look forward to what the future holds because I may just be one of the ones that have that shot.”
One of the next steps in the recruiting process for DeBose, he said, will be sitting down with his parents and looking at all of the schools he has offers from or could offer and figuring out the five schools to take official visits to.
“Me and my parents are planning on sitting down real, real soon and just look at the schools I have potential offers from and who has a chance or is steered my direction of what I want to do in life or will I get potential playing time the soonest,” he said. “We’re going to sit down and actually pick schools pretty school. Every school has a shot right now. Everybody’s even until I sit down and choose what official visits I’ll make.”
“They said they are going to come down here to a game and see how I play,” he said. “They’ve seen my HUDLs and my films and stuff and they said they like what they see, they’re just waiting on their head coach to make that call. But I’m pretty sure it will come soon, sooner or later.”
Of course, the offers from Missouri on Wednesday will likely lead to more options opening up for the North Carolina high school standout.
“There are coaches already on that,” DeBose said. “As soon as they saw it there are coaches on that now. I’ve talked to like two more different schools. I’m pretty sure recruitment will pick up even more.”
DeBose was asked the three-star prospect to describe his game, what he does best and what he considers his weaknesses and what he’s working to get better at.
“As a defensive end, first of all I came in very, very undersized. I came in freshman year only about 6-1, 190,” he said. “But my advantage and my upper hand was my get-off, was my speed. From freshman year to now I tried to keep that speed but I also tried to work on where my weaknesses were at, which was the running game and technique. Sophomore year my only job was to go get the quarterback, go get the quarterback, go get the quarterback.
“Junior year my coach was like, people have film on you, you have offers and you have to switch it up. So that whole summer I tried to keep my get-off, but I worked more on my run game and I had to get strength. I’ve never been in the weight room that much, my junior year, and I just had to get stronger. This year I take sophomore year pass rush and junior year run game and put it all together and just ball out. If I had to say my weakness, it would have to be, I still feel like my size. I worked hard and at the beginning of the summer I made it to 230 (pounds), but I still want to me stronger, I still want to be faster. My weakness would probably have to be the running game and strength, even though I have gotten way stronger than junior year I still feel like me being stronger will help and benefit me more.”
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