MIKE NIETO: Dumezich will prove his worth

2014-02-06T20:00:00Z 2014-02-07T00:17:08Z MIKE NIETO: Dumezich will prove his worthMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
February 06, 2014 8:00 pm  • 

In an era where a lot of kids expect everything and think all is owed to them, Mount Carmel senior lineman Steve Dumezich is a breath of fresh air.

Not hot air.

Dumezich wants to play Division I football and is good enough. He signed his letter of intent to play for the University of Illinois as a grayshirt.

That means he will redshirt his freshman year, but will earn a scholarship after his freshman year. Dumezich is 11th in his class.

"I plan to go down there and just work hard," Dumezich said. "The redshirt year, that will let me get acclimated to school and to football."

After school Wednesday, he was in the weight room lifting and keeping his eye on the bigger picture.

Dumezich was about to commit to Duke as a preferred walk-on when he said Illinois coach Tim Beckman gave him a call earlier this week. He liked the package. He will join Caravan teammate Matt Domer, The Times Offensive Player of the Year, in Champaign-Urbana, a notion that did not go unnoticed to the Schererville resident.

"I have the chance to play Big Ten football and be close to home," Dumezich said. "I am also looking forward to playing against (fellow Caravan teammates) Enoch (Smith Jr.) and Steve (Richardson)."

Smith will play at Michigan State and Richardson at Minnesota.

"I want to be a part of Illinois coming back," Dumezich said. "They have a really good freshman class and I think the future looks bright."

So does his. He also was recruited by Harvard and wants to major in accounting.

"Illinois is the No. 2 accounting school in the country," he said. "Duke, Harvard and Illinois are all up there academically. Yes, football is important, but so is your education. (Mount Carmel) Coach Frank (Lenti) always says that your education has to last you a lifetime."

Instead of complaining about who was not recruiting him, Dumezich focused on the schools that did show an interest. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Dumezich did not become a Division I prospect overnight and he knows what got him there.

"You just work hard and I am fortunate that I had good coaches at Carmel," Dumezich said. "They push you and teach you not only the game of football. You come out of that program well prepared."

Dumezich had to want it bad enough to put in the extra time. He was one of the reasons Domer and the Caravan offense was instrumental in winning the Class 7A title. Lenti has said many times that Dumezich was a leader who went out and performed his assignments and never complained.

Dumezich knows nothing is owed to him. He has put in the time, but knows what he did in high school will not matter in college ball. He will do what it takes in the weight room, football field and classroom to make himself a success.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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