Dieffenbach Gains Interest; Pitt Still Leads

There was a time when Fox Chapel, Pa. offensive lineman Miles Dieffenbach had just one scholarship offer, from his hometown Pitt Panthers, and appeared to be a lock to commit to them.

Some eight months into the 2010 recruiting season now, and Miles Dieffenbach is still a heavy lean to Pittsburgh -- where his father is the school's tennis coach -- but he also has an offer from Syracuse and more could be on the way after recent combine and camp performances.

Dieffenbach won MVP honors in the offensive line group at a recruiting event this past weekend with numerous top-level prospects in attendance.

"The schools that I'm interested in and ones that are interested in me are Pitt, Syracuse, Boston College, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Penn State,'' Dieffenbach said. "So, I have a lot to choose from. (And) it's such a big decision, so it's not something that I want to rush.

"(But) I've done my homework so far. I've been on visits to Penn State, Notre Dame, Boston College, Syracuse and Pitt. Obviously, I've been to Pitt a lot in the past year. So, I've been around, and I like what I see. I would like to get my decision done before the season and be done with it.''

At nearly 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, Dieffenbach isn't the typical size for a tennis player, but his experience with a racket has honed his footwork and agility. Intense strength and conditioning work has made Dieffenbach strong enough to bench press 310 pounds and squat 400.

"The schools all like my size, of course, and that I have good grades,'' Dieffenbach said. "They also like the highlight tapes I put together, but maybe I'll get more (offers) after they see my senior film. We'll see what happens after the spring and summer camps. I want to improve my overall strength and be more powerful when I hit. I want to improve my technique.

"I was a center early in my career and got out to block for screens and plays like that, but as a tackle this past season I really didn't have to run as much. So, that's been an issue for some schools, my athleticism, but I think I can run pretty well. I probably won't be a tackle in college.

"I'll play inside, either guard or center,'' Dieffenbach added, "but I won't be on the outside. I'll play wherever they want, just for the chance to play, and I can play either position. I was a center as a freshman and sophomore, so I just changed to tackle this past year. Some think that I'm a little too tall to play center, but I think I'm the perfect size.''

Dieffenbach's performances in the recent combines and camps proves that he thrives as the competition increases.

"It's good just to be around the best players in the area, and that's not just the WPIAL,'' Dieffenbach said. "Also some from Ohio West Virginia and Maryland, so it's pretty cool. There's some serious competition, and that's really what it's going to be like at the next level. The competition will always be there.

"The testing isn't a lot of fun, but the one-on-ones are a pretty good time. It's a chance to see how well I fit in with some of the best players in the area. It's a way to compare myself to them, but also improve my previous performances. So, that's the way I approach these combines and what I try to do.''

Dieffenbach attended nearly every Pitt football home game last fall, and he was at a few men's basketball games this past season as well. He also has been to Syracuse, Boston College, Notre Dame, Penn State and Virginia, but the Panthers are still in the lead.

"Pitt's No. 1 right now, but I still would like to see other campuses and see what the schools have to offer,'' Dieffenbach said. "It doesn't hurt to check them out, as many as possible, but Pitt ranks way up there in every area, academics and athletics, and it's been a second home to be all my life.

"(But) this is a big decision, and it's one that will affect the rest of my life. So, I want to make sure it's the right one. I can't make a mistake with this decision. And it's my decision. My dad wants me to stay at home, but my mom wouldn't mind if I went away to school. That's just like my sister for tennis.''

Dieffenbach's sister went to George Mason to play tennis, but Miles is going to go to the school that's best for him. And if it's Pitt, offensive line coach Tony Wise likely will be a big reason.

"He's an excellent coach, and it would be great to learn from him,'' Dieffenbach said. "He was the O-line coach when the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl, so he's a great coach and a great guy. He knows what he's talking about.

"I like him a lot. I'll probably take maybe five visits, hopefully to one-day camps in June. I'll show them what I can do, and we'll see what happens, but I want to make a decision before by senior season. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that.''

By then, Dieffenbach likely will have to choose from more scholarship offers.

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