The Cherry Creek Bruins, in one of the great games in recent Colorado high school football history, defeated defending state champ Valor Christian 25-24. The game and the season for Cherry Creek was filled with big plays from the likes of Milo Hall and Joe Parker, but a key to the championship was a strong defense highlighted by underclassmen David Imola (2016) Santino Marchiol (2017) and Jon Van Diest (2017).
Imola, a defensive tackle, holds an offer from Colorado State and is garnering significant mid-major attention. Marchiol, an insider backer, is also on the radar of multiple DI programs. Defensive end Van Diest is another piece of this imposing front seven. A starter since his freshman year, Van Diest registered 11 sacks this season and already has over 20 sacks in his career. At a recent combine, the 6-1 234 pound Van Diest put on a show running a 4.72 electronic forty and posting a 32.5 vert. In the weight room Van Diest has PRs of 525 in the squat and 300 on the bench.
Beyond the measurables, Van Diest’s on field production stems from a tenacious motor and skill set beyond his years. For a young player, Van Diest plays with great leverage, has multiple pass rush moves and is great with his hands. Most impressive, Van Diest holds the edge against the run and is disciplined when the play goes opposite of his side. Review of his game shows a player that is coached up and takes coaching well. At Cherry Creek, in both an odd and even front, Van Diest plays with his hand on the ground. At the next level, Van Diest will have to learn to play from a two point stance and he will also need to work on coverage.
Van Diest’s game is not going unnoticed and he is getting looks from Colorado, Colorado State and Missouri. Van Diest has taken a visit to Colorado State and last week he was on hand for Colorado’s scrimmage. Regarding the Buffs Van Diest stated, “Things went pretty well. The junior and spring game was fun and getting to see the plans for the new facility was awesome! It was good to meet the staff and get a feel for the campus, which is beautiful.”
With two years left in his high school career there is no doubt Van Diest will continue to post impressive individual numbers. More importantly to him, Van Diest wants to keep Cherry Creek at the top of Colorado high school football. Playing hard and getting wins will no doubt bring multiple offers to this impressive 2017 defender.