Van Der Wal Enjoys Junior Day

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian tight end/defensive end Dillon Van Der Wal was one of the guests at UCLA's Junior Day last week and he talks about his time in Westwood and more about his recruitment...

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian tight end/defensive end Dillon Van Der Wal was a big part of the Lions success, on both sides of the ball, in 2009.

Already owning two scholarship offers, the 6-7, 245-pound Van Der Wal is confident that more offers will come his way this spring.

"I got offered by Baylor and Minnesota and they're both looking at me as a tight end," said Van Der Wal. "I've talked to the coaches, and they said they'd evaluate me more this year and see which position they'd want me to do in college. But that was big, getting those first two offers in. It was awesome."

Van Der Wal said he was surprised but thrilled to get national offers to kick start his recruitment.

"I wanted to branch out a little bit and look outside of California, and getting those from the Big 12 and Big Ten was awesome, just to see some other possibilities. My video got out, outside of the Pac-10 and they liked it," said Van Der Wal.

Closer to home, Van Der Wal is hearing from several schools, including numerous Pac-10 schools.

"I've heard from UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, Oregon and started to talk with USC a little bit," said Van Der Wal. "And then Oklahoma and Texas, some of the schools out that way."

Van Der Wal had two teammates sign with Washington and two more sign with UCLA, and he thinks the Huskies and Bruins could be next to offer.

"Maybe UCLA, maybe Washington and then maybe Oregon are next," said Van Der Wal. "Washington, when we went up there for the Skyline game, I took an (unofficial) visit and saw them play USC, and spent the whole day with Nick (Montana), and walking around the campus, and seeing how they responded to him. The coaches are really nice too."

Last week, Van Der Wal visited UCLA unofficially for their Junior Day.

"I really liked it, it went really well, and the coaches are really nice there too," said Van Der Wal. "It was awesome there. Coach (Rick) Neuheisel is a real fun coach and he came over and talked to me for like a half an hour, just sat down with me, and talked about what I wanted to do. I really liked UCLA."

Van Der Wal said that Arizona State was his childhood favorite, and the Sun Devils signed his predecessor at tight end, Christopher Coyle, last February.

"I grew up watching ASU, that's where my dad went," said Van Der Wal. "I grew up watching Terrell Suggs and Todd Heap when they played. We used to go down there and watch the Arizona Cardinals too because that was my brother's favorite team and we'd make a weekend out of it. I've already started talking to their tight ends coach and their defensive line coach and Coach (Dennis) Erickson is a great guy. And I know Chris is out there too."

Van Der Wal said most programs are recruiting him as an athlete, with a position to be determined later.

"At this point, I'm being recruited as an athlete, and then they'll have to determine what position they want me to play next year, if they want me to go to defensive end or tight end," said Van Der Wal. "I like tight end, you get a lot of passes. Defensive end is fun, because of all of the hitting and the contact, but I like offense and you get more of the glory there."

Van Der Wal said his time frame to decide has him announcing prior to fall.

"I want to decide before my season starts, and have it done with," said Van Der Wal. "I want to take some visits, but I'll take them over the summer as unofficial. I kind of want to have the whole process done before my senior season starts."

Van Der Wal also plays basketball and plays AAU ball during the summer, and has had some interest from colleges for the hardwood.

"Basketball is real big for me," said Van Der Wal. "Both schools who've offered me so far have said I could do basketball and UCLA said the same thing. They haven't had it done there in quite a while (Marcedes Lewis was the last during the 2002-03 season) but they're open to it and I'd love to play basketball there as well."

Academically, Van Der Wal is in solid shape, with a 3.4 GPA and a 26 on the ACT.

This weekend, he'll be at the Badger/New Level 7on7 Camp in Las Vegas and the Los Angeles Nike Camp.

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