Dante Abono, a 6-foot-6 and 235-pound defensive end out of Alhambra (Calif.), slid under the radar of most recruiting analysts, but some West Coast schools found out about him on the summer camps circuit. He showed his talents at several Pac-12 camps and San Jose State defensive line coach James Jones heard about the potential recruit.
“Over the summer is when I got into the recruiting process,” Abono said. “I went to some camps to get my name out there. (San Jose State defensive line) Coach Jones, he heard about me and he was talking to me. I got some attention at the Stanford camp, I had to make a presence. I played both sides and I had nothing to lose. I did well and then started getting talked to by schools.”
Hawaii was the first school to offer Abono. He gained interest from California, Nevada and Washington State and later received an offer from UC Davis. When San Jose State offered around the end of the football season, it didn’t take long for him to make his decision.
“During the middle of the year, schools started to die down a little bit,” Abono said. “Two days before our (last) game coach Jones called me and told me to that coach Caragher needed to talk to me. I called him and he offered me a full ride scholarship. I played that game and the next day I called up Caragher and I committed”
Abono took his official visit on Dec. 11. He was hosted by freshman offensive lineman Dominic Fredrickson.
“I had went to the game versus Fresno State,” Abono said. “I really liked the environment and the stadium, there were a lot of students there. It felt like a football environment. I wanted to take an official visit. Then I saw the campus and how secluded it is from everything, it’s like it’s own little world. I was astonished, I loved it. It’s so family oriented and stuff too, talking with all the players. When I got there, I knew it was the place for me.”
In high school, Abono played both offensive and defensive line. With his build, defensive end was the most viable path to the next level. He played at every defensive line position in high school, attacking every gap - something he hopes to do once he puts on more weight.
“When I was younger, offensive line was my thing,” Abono said. “But when I got into high school, I started getting taller. I’m now 6-foot-6, pushing 6-foot-7. I haven’t really filled out much and now I’m long-limbed and really athletic. So that’s how I’m making my mark. I finished with 13 sacks on the season and I had a heck of a time on defense.
“At my high school, I played everywhere on the line. Coach Jones told me when I get older and I fill out, I might be able to do something like that. That made me happy because I enjoyed doing that in high school. Being able to play anywhere on the line is what I want to do.”
It was reported by footballscoop.com that defensive line coach James Jones is not going to be retained by San Jose State this year. Jones played a big role in Abono’s commitment, but likes SJSU for it’s entire program.
“San Jose is just a great place,” Abono said. “Coach Jones was one of the first people to recruit me and watched me excel in high school. He’s been there all the way and San Jose State has been there watching me. They offered me and I just have to thank San Jose State for being with me the whole time and I’m looking forward to spending the next four years there.”
Abono plans to major in business management at San Jose State.