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Q&A With Shani and Patrick Dillon

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jan 11, 2013.

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    Jul 8, 2005
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    By Stuart

    [h=3]What it’s Like to be Recruited[/h] While*all college football fans*understand the importance of recruiting*as a part of*the overall structure of a successful program, the recruiting process was for a long time a mystery to most of us. We read up on the list of recruits in the newspaper*in February, and trusted – hoped – that the coaching staff knew*what they were doing.
    Now, with the internet, the advent of recruiting websites and YouTube video highlights, we can all*fancy ourselves recruiting experts. We compare stars which have been assigned to recruits, their 40-yard dash times, and their offer sheets.
    But there remains one aspect of the recruiting process which remains mysterious for most of us … What is it like to be a recruit or the parent of a recruit? This series attempts to shed some light on that question.
    If you were with CU at the Game last January, then you may recall a series of interviews with Lance Carl (Class of 1983 – Bill McCartney’s first recruiting class), Erik Norgard (Class of 1985), Clay Norgard (Class of 2012), as well as a Q&A with Erik and Lisa Norgard, on*being the parents of a recruit. *(If you would like to read these interviews, they can be found here).

    This January, we open with Shani and Patrick Dillon, parents of Shane Dillon. Shane was a three-star quarterback recruit out of El Cajon, California, coming to Boulder as part of the CU recruiting Class of 2012 (Rivals bio). Shane was ranked as the No. 13 pro-style quarterback in the nation, and was sought after by a number of BCS conference schools. Shane committed early (the June before his senior year), having yet to see the Buffs play a game under Jon Embree, and was considered one of the top recruits of the 2012 Class. Dillon sat out last year, and is considered by many to be the favorite to start for the Buffs as a red-shirt freshman this fall.

    [h=3]Q&A with Shani and Patrick Dillon[/h] At what age did Shane exhibit talents which made you believe that he had a future as a FBS college football player? Was Shane always heading towards being a quarterback, or were there other positions at which he excelled?
    Shane has always been super competitive and SOOO into sports. At 23 months old, he chased his older cousins around with a hockey stick because he had to hit that puck and HAD to win! We still remember my uncle (whose son was drafted into the MLB out of high school) say, “Your son is going to be a force to reckon with.”
    At one point he was on 4 different sports teams at one time, because he never wanted to tell any team no. We were going crazy driving him from one game to another on the weekends. He would change in the car, and it never seemed to bother him – although we told him it was too much!
    We noticed when Shane was young that he was very athletic for his tall frame. He was super agile and super smart, which seemed to give him an edge. As parents, we have discussed on multiple occasions that it is so much more than Shane being athletic that leads everyone to think he can do whatever he sets his mind to. He has always been able to perform above his physical abilities, and we attribute it to his general mindset about life. Shane is an eternal optimist. He literally knows that he is the best and has the ability to see himself being successful.
    We felt that he would always be a Quarterback – even though he grew up playing soccer, baseball and basketball, we just felt it. He did play flag football two or three times and was the quarterback, but he also played pop warner in 8th grade (as a receiver). He was discouraged in his freshman year of HS when they tried to make him a receiver again, but he did not give up. His Quarterback coach, George Whitfield, truly believed in him. There was a day when he almost stopped playing football in order to dedicate himself full- time to basketball; but, George got him on the phone with some big time coaches to help him to see the bigger picture. He was a great receiver in high school, but when he filled out that tall, lanky frame, he would have all of the tools he needed to make it as quarterback.
    Thankfully, Shane stuck with it!
    In February, 2011, Shane told BuckeyeGrove.com that Ohio State was definitely in the mix for his verbal commitment, along with schools like Miami, Washington, Florida State, Arizona and USC. How many different schools did you hear from? Which schools showed the most interest? Did Shane have a favorite school growing up?
    Shane’s favorite school growing up was Miami. Patrick is a Hurricanes fan, and that rubbed off on Shane. He received letters from almost every school you could think of, but it was the schools that CALLED and came out to see him that helped him to know who was truly interested. Other than CU of course, he had Alabama out to Christian, as well as Northwestern, Cincy, SDSU, Harvard (to play basketball and football), USD (to play basketball) Miami, Tennessee, Arizona, Vandy, USC, Washington, Florida State and Oregon…He was pulled out of class a couple times a week for quite a while! But, he loved it; and, when Bama came it was pretty huge because they had never been out to our school before.
    Cincinnati was actually his very first offer, which was the summer before his junior year (Shane took 2 Rock Tours with Coach George). He has a special place in his heart for Cincinnati because they showed him a lot of love. They probably came out to Christian High six times, AND they were interested in his brother Jason as well, which was huge for Shane and Jason. *Mike Bajakian did a great job recruiting the boys, but ultimately Shane didn’t want to go that far. Despite how he felt about Cincinnati, Ohio State was his front runner for a long time. Jim Tressel watched him play, talked to him and then told him he wanted him to be a Buckeye. He walked Shane and Patrick around the school and facilities, and THAT was an AMAZING Day for Shane. He called me almost crying after receiving an offer from Cincy and then the next day an offer from Ohio State. Shortly thereafter, Ohio State had all of their troubles and things changed in Shane’s mind. He didn’t seem as interested anymore.
    Did you have any contact with Dan Hawkins’ staff before they were let go? When did you first hear from Jon Embree’s staff? Was Rip Scherer Shane’s primary contact, or did you hear from other coaches as well?
    We never had any contact with Dan or his staff. Shane was contacted by many of the CU coaches – they did the best job recruiting him of any school – AND that is why he chose CU. Rip, Jon, and JD all had dinner at our house, and stayed for quite a while. Rip has been to our house three or four times, and they are a classy group of men who we will really miss. We enjoyed having them here so much. We have a group of 7 people that have Down’s syndrome who live in our home (they have lived with us for 17 years) and they were amazing with our “crew.” They came to our home, hung out, took a genuine interest in ALL of our children, listened to our older daughter sing, and JD even colored with our 5 year old!!* It was over after that J But, seriously, Rip met Shane first and then called quite a bit. Then when Shane went out to CU to see the campus (he was in Denver with his AAU basketball team) Jon offered him. Shane also received handwritten letters (not notes – long letters) from Jon, EB, Rip, JD, BK, and Darian Hagan. One of the notes from Embo was in the shape of a jersey and had the number 7 on the front. Shane was thoroughly impressed and so were we.
    There is an old axiom in college football that you don’t recruit the player, you recruit the Mom.* Was that your experience with the University of Colorado? With other schools?
    CU took a genuine interest in me and what I thought about Shane going there. There were other schools and coaches who had met Patrick when he took Shane on trips, but CU wanted to talk to me as well– and that was huge for our family. The official visit involved coaches wives and it was a great opportunity to see a lot of the CU coaches interact with players and their own families. Other schools may have done more of that down the road, but Shane was committed early and we didn’t ever worry or wonder about any of that.
    Did you pay much attention to national recruiting service rankings? Did Shane being named an Elite 11 quarterback make any difference in the recruiting process? Do you believe all of the interest in recruiting these days (i.e., the internet recruiting sites) help or hinder the recruiting process?*
    We did pay attention to all of that – but would recommend to parents NOT to do that! The beauty of it all was is that Shane didn’t really pay attention to it at all. We always felt that because Shane was so tall and thin that he didn’t receive some of the accolades that he should have early on, but Shane would always tell us that didn’t matter. There are a lot of great players out there who are not ranked, so we really feel that coaches need to be experts in evaluating talent. They should be able to take a kid from a small school and compare him to a kid from a big school, or a kid who plays on a bad team in a tough league to a kid who plays on a good team in a weak league. They should be able to look at these kids and know who is actually better. If you can’t do that you shouldn’t be evaluating kids. Some of the players who have no stars (or even 1 or 2) might be just as good or better than some of the 4 or 5 stars kids out there. Sometimes it is just luck or who you know when you get these “rankings,” and it doesn’t mean anything in the end.* Some of these guys have their favorites and they are going to push for those kids. So, don’t believe all that you read. Not all of these guys are experts! We also saw when Shane competed in Elite 11 and was successful, but stayed true to his commitment to CU, that some services dropped his stars. What was that all about? Oh well J
    Despite all of the rankings, internet recruiting sites, etc… Elite 11 was the real deal! It was an absolutely incredible experience for Shane and our family. He was one of the later guys chosen and we were not even going to let him go! We felt that it might be political and that all of these 5* kids would get all the reps or attention and it wouldn’t be fair. Shane was going to go to Vegas instead for the last open D1 recruiting period for basketball (July before his Senior Year) but we were convinced otherwise by Rip. He said it is like a fraternity, and he should experience it. He said that it didn’t matter to CU if Shane was in the top 11 or not, it was a competitive experience that would help CU in recruiting AND help Shane to see how he stacked up against those kids.
    Shane definitely stacked up! We were so proud of him! He started to see, slowly throughout that week, that he was as good as or better than all of those kids. It was a big confidence boost for him and all of us. He always knew he was good, but he seemed to get better and better as the days went by. He never gave up. I think it was the most pressure he has ever been under, and it showed him that he could handle anything. We were also thrilled to meet Trent Dilfer. He and Shane clicked and I think Trent saw that Shane has a lot of potential. Trent is phenomenal with the kids. When CU coaches called to ask Shane and us if they took Connor Wood in as a transfer if Shane would decommit, I was a little upset.* Shane replied, “Coach, you can bring in whoever you want. It doesn’t matter to me. I will prove to you that I should be the QB no matter who is there.” I couldn’t believe he said that- I think the Elite 11 experience contributed to his confidence going forward.
    Despite holding offers from a multitude of other schools, Shane became one of the first recruits of the 2012 recruiting class, committing in May, 2011. Were there any second thoughts about committing so early? Did you encourage Shane to take a look around, perhaps visit other schools, or talk with other coaches?
    Honestly, there were second thoughts. I think any teenager under that kind of pressure will second guess themselves. Shane was getting tired of the recruiting process really early. His cell phone rang all night almost every night with coaches and reporters calling. He would have to stop homework, or dinner, or whatever, to answer and talk about himself and ask them questions as well. Even though he is very personable and was excited to have the opportunities he was getting, it was hard for him. I think it would be hard for any 16 or 17 year old. We have always believed that God has a plan for everyone, and we know that He is in control, but the whole process was very stressful. You just have to have faith that everything will work out – and it always does.
    Shane committed before the Buffs had played a down under Jon Embree. Were there any moments, during the 3-10 season in 2011 in which there were occasions in which the Buffs were out-manned, that you had second thoughts about the commitment?
    We have always felt in our hearts that the Buffs were going to turn things around – and we still do. There is something so special about that campus and Folsom Field, and we still feel that times are going to change! Shane went there to turn that program around, and he is still set on doing that. We can’t wait to see it happen!
    Did other schools continue to contact you after Shane’s commitment? Which schools? Did they attempt to undermine Colorado, using either the string of consecutive losing seasons, or the 3-10 record, as leverage to try and change Shane’s commitment?
    A few people talked about CU losing and continuing to lose, but most of the coaches were really nice and told Shane that they understood. They told him they wanted him to change his mind, but they understood. Tennessee and Florida State continued to talk to him quite a bit, and Northwestern, Miami and Cincy came out again even late into the process, but Shane never led them on. He was steadfast in his commitment and we were proud of him for that.
    Were there other players from Shane’s school being recruited by Colorado? By any other BCS conference schools? Did they have any success/horror stories about their recruitment?
    Jason Gaines, who has lived with us for 3 years and we consider to be another one of our own children, was recruited by CU and a few others. Jason will still be going to CU after he is done at his JC. When Coach Mac met with Shane last week he seemed to already know all about Jason, and that was exciting for Shane. Jason is 6’4” 210 pounds and was probably to best receiver in San Diego County last year. He was a basketball player his entire life, and Shane convinced him to play football his junior year. He was a natural and has amazing potential to be great. Tyrone Sauls was a LB/FB that was recruited by Oregon and Air Force. He decided on the Air Force Academy because they wanted him to play FB and they had his Major.
    This past season, three different quarterbacks started games for the Buffs, but none excelled. There is already great excitement about Shane being the starting quarterback next fall as a red-shirt freshman. Does the quarterback situation at Colorado worry or excite you?
    BOTH! The previous staff let him know that the job was his to lose and in spring he would get most, if not all, of the snaps, and now he will start over again. *But that’s ok! He will get out there and give it his all. We have already been talking about the first game in August. It will be so exciting and nerve racking that our entire family will want to throw up ha-ha! It is harder on the parents than the athletes – you just want to see your children be successful and happy. There will be ups and downs, there always are, especially for a quarterback. The beauty of it is, Shane will roll with the punches; He rarely cares what people think or gets to upset by differing media opinions. We try to follow his lead on that. We will be there at every game to cheer him and the rest of the BUFFS on!
    Do you have any advice for parents of future potential recruits as to how to deal with the process?
    1. *We would say that you just have to take it a day*at a time. Quarterback is a tough one, because a lot of the kids commit*early, but try to enjoy it.
    2. We would recommend that you start early.
    3.* Sit down with your child and find out how they*feel about certain areas of the country. Do they want to go away or stay a*little closer to home?
    4.* Then make a list of places your child could see*him or herself going to. *Start with a few dream schools and then go from there. Keep a couple safety schools at the bottom.
    5.*Then look at your child’s position and style of*play. For instance, if you are a qb there will be some schools that just wouldn’t*want your child, and others who would be targeting him.
    6.* Start going to some camps. The Rock Tour exposed*Shane to about 23 different schools over two summers. Having those coaches*see him and talk to him in person was the clincher. Take your child to the*camps that coaches put on at their schools. It is the best way for them to*see your child.
    7.* Make sure that your child loves the school – with*or without sports. You want them to be happy and things can change with*coaches. They need to want to go that school regardless – whether for an academic*program or something else. It may not be their first choice, but they have to see themselves living there or it just won’t work.
    8.* Go with your gut. You will meet so many people,*but there will be a few that you know truly care about your child. When Jon got fired, he texted me that he was sorry that he never got to coach **** Shane on the field. Rip was the first to call and say how sorry he was and*that he will always be there for Shane and for us and we know he meant*every word.

    My personal thanks to Shani and Patrick Dillon for taking the time to give us some insights into the world of college football recruiting.
    Up next week: A Q&A with Monica Thomas and Kenneth Grover, parents of grayshirt freshman wide receiver Jeffrey Thomas.

    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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