While the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is foreign ground to the entire Virginia Tech team outside of coach Frank Beamer and to virtually the entire Michigan squad, one Wolverine will feel at home at the Allstate Sugar Bowl next Tuesday night.
Drew Dileo returns to the scene of a stadium where he experienced the thrill of victory and the pain of defeat as a prep star at Parkview Baptist High School where he made a tremendous impact and left a lasting impression.
Dileo put up impressive numbers and set school records as a receiver Parkview Baptist. He caught 73 passes for 1,193 yards and was the only player in the school's history to top 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He also played special teams and returned seven touchdowns total on either punt return or kickoffs.
As a sophomore at Parkview Baptist, Dileo was part of a state championship team as the Eagles edged Weatlake 19-18 for the 3A state championship in the Superdome. Dileo was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
In 2009, Dileo was a primary reason that the Eagles returned to the 3A state championship game in the 'Dome but the outcome was decidedly different as Notre Dame downed Parkview Baptist 14-7 for the championship.
Parkview Baptist head coach Kenny Guillot thoroughly enjoyed coach Dileo and used him in every manner possible.
"Drew was our Mr. Everything," Guillot said. "He threw the ball, caught it, ran it on a trick play. We used him on corner back. He was the MVP in the state championship game as a sophomore. He was quite a player for us."
Dileo was a track star and played baseball as well, winning two state championships with the Eagles. He gave up the sport to concentrate on football. Based on his success at Michigan, he made a good decision.
At Parkview Baptist, Dileo was not sought after by many football recruiters because of his height (5'10). When Michigan came calling, Dileo was beside himself with joy. It was an easy decision for him to head north.
Dileo was a huge fan of Michigan. In fact, his bedroom was a virtual shrine to the Wolverines, decorated with lots of Maize and Blue. Guillot was surprised at Dileo's enthusiasm for Michigan.
"He got an offer from Michigan and little did I know that he was a big Michigan fan," Guillot said. "Turns out he was always a Michigan fan. That's truly where he wanted to go."
Dileo was recruited by former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriquez, who knew the territory from his days as an assistant coach at Tulane, along with running backs coach Fred Jackson, who is from Baton Rouge.
As a native of Greenwell Springs, a suburb of Baton Rouge, dileo drew interest from LSU which gave some thought to signing him as a running back where the Tigers had a need, according to Guillot.
"I talked to Coach Miles," Guillot said. "LSU wanted bigger running backs. He did not fit their scheme. Michigan wanted a slot receiver and that's what is playing now."
It turned out to be a perfect fit. Dileo has made a solid contribution in his two years at Michigan. He has 10 receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his two seasons with most coming in 2011. Dileo has also contributed on special teams, returning eight kicks for 173 yards in 2010. Guillot feels the best is yet to come for his former star.
"He's going to be a big player for them," said Guillot. "He caught a touchdown pass this year. He looks like he is doing well and will get more experience next season."
Guillot attended Michigan's practice on Thursday afternoon at Tulane and will go to the game with his wife and ten of his coaches will also attend on Tuesday night. He simply could not resist keeping tabs and following one of his favorite all-time players in his 12 years of coaching at the school. "If I had more like Drew, I may never quit coaching," said Guillot.
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