First, Demko, a rangy defensive end with a technician's approach to the game, took a trip which included stops at West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. Following his appearance at WVU's one day camp, he felt a strong attraction to the Mountaineer program, but he didn't pull the trigger as soon as he received an offer from defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich. Instead, he discussed it with both family and with his past and current high school head coaches before making the call.
"It was all about West Virginia [on my trip]," he said as he explained his June trip. "It just felt right, and with Coach Kirelawich there, who has local ties here, it just gave it more of an at home type of feel. West Virginia had sent me some letters in April, but that was my first visit to the campus. Coach Kirelawich had been on an in-school visit earlier, and then when I went down to the camp on the 21st, he must have liked what he saw. A few days later, he got in contact with my coach with an offer, and I took about a week to decide."
"I talked to both of my coaches about committing," Demko added. "They told me that deciding early would be a great release of stress, that I wouldn't have anything over my head, and that I could go out and play my hardest and concentrate on football and academics. I had hoped to make a decision early, and it worked out when West Virginia made the offer."
Demko impressed the Mountaineer staff with several different fundamental techniques that aren't always part of the repertoire of a high school player. Those items, coupled with a quick first step and a long frame and big wingspan, led to the early offer.
"I felt like I performed well in the camp, but you don't want to set your expectations so high that you'd be disappointed if you didn't get an offer," he said of his thoughts on the recruiting process. Coach Kirelawich mentioned that he liked the way I moved, that my hip flexibility and my power angles were really good, and that my stance was good too."
While those items might sound a bit mundane, they are often the focus of the first days of fall camp for newcomers, who have to be taught many of the fundamentals that Kirelawich emphasizes. The fact that he already has at least some of them in place bodes well for the budding defensive end.
"I absolutely think that I have been coached well in high school," Demko said of his grounding in the basics. "My head coach the past few years has been Mike Brennan, who was an offensive lineman at Temple. My defensive coordinator, Bob Chesney, will be my head coach next year, and both of them worked with me a lot to get me where I am today. They have done a great job in teaching me."
Like any defender, Demko lights up when talking about getting an unrestricted shot at the quarterback. A good edge rusher with the tools to create great leverage, he figures to slot into a defensive end spot in college.
"I know West Virginia runs a 3-3 stack, with one tackle and one end, and I think end is where I'd be looked at first. I like hitting people and rushing the quarterback – getting outside the tackle and getting to the QB is great. I have good quickness, but I'm trying to improve on it even more, along with strength and size. With that, you gain speed – there's a direct correlation there."
Demko is also turning his attention to shaping a rebuilding Mt. Carmel roster, which will have a number of underclassmen filling key roles this year.
"We have a lot of younger guys coming up, and inexperience will be a factor," he admitted. "But they are working hard, and they are dedicated. I know I need to be a leader, but I am not a guy that throws my weight around or tries to be officious. I just want to gain their respect and be a leader this year."
Demko had offers from Akron and Richmond, and interest from Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Connecticut and Temple, among others. Had he continued the recruiting process, he likely would have gathered more offers, but he indicated he didn't see the need to do that.
"I wouldn't have gotten any better offer than West Virginia," he said of the school that he felt an immediate bond with. "And I'm done with visits. I am 100% a Mountaineer."