Nick Dimitris is still getting used to the intricacies of playing defensive end. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound three-star prospect has been playing football for less than a year.
“I was just big for nothing. I was just a big soft dude. That’s it,” the junior from Baldwin Park Sierra Vista High said. “I just didn’t like contact at first. My coach persuaded me to play football, and now, that’s what I do.”
Dimitris has grown to love contact and has started to make a name for himself. He was selected most valuable player among defensive linemen at the Rivals regional camp last weekend after showcasing a combination of speed and lateral movement during one-on-one pass rush drills against offensive linemen. It was a stark contrast from where he began last year.
“My growth has been major because first, I didn’t really know what to do. I didn’t know my stance or nothing,” Dimitris said. “I didn’t know anything about football like that. I didn’t know how to do a three-point [stance], a two-point [stance] or nothing, so it’s pretty cool. My coaches really developed me and made me who I am right now and it’s pretty good.”
He had the play of the Rivals camp, according to recruiting analyst Woody Wommack. Dimitris gave the impression he may go inside on a pass rush against St. John Bosco’s Earnest Greene, who was selected offensive line MVP. But Dimitris quickly dipped his inside shoulder and sped around Greene before getting into the backfield, earning a rare untouched rep victory.
“He’s an athletic kid who can get to the edge against elite offensive tackles. He has great speed and he’s excellent off the line,” Rivals national analyst Adam Gorney said. “He still needs an inside move to counter offensive tackles, who will learn quickly he likes going outside most of the time.”
That progression is still to come, but Dimitris’ raw talent has caught the eye of several people this offseason. More than a dozen schools have extended a scholarship offer despite Dimitris having only played eight games and recording just 2 1/2 sacks, according to MaxPreps. He has offers from five Pac-12 schools along with five in the SEC.
“It was shocking cause it’s my first year really playing. It was a blessing,” Dimitris said of the recruiting interest this spring. “I remember when William & Mary and coach Brennan Marion offered me [first] and said I got what he wanted. And I’m still thankful to him for just giving me an offer. It doesn’t matter if it was a D2 or it was a D1, it’s a college offer. It’s a scholarship. Education’s first.”
The next step in Dimitris’ development is to add strength and mass in the weight room. He’s learning how to read offensive linemen and take full advantage of his own abilities. He’s needs to refine his technique as he discovers all the defensive line nuances and tricks of the trade, but adding strength to be able to bully offensive linemen will make him a more dynamic weapon coming off the edge.
Sierra Vista assistant head coach Matt Villasenor has already seen Dimitris improve by leaps and bounds since taking to the sport, but thinks Dimitris is only scratching the surface.
“He has dedicated himself to the game. Has grown as a young man,” Villasenor said. “He wants to be the best and works towards it daily. His ability is through the roof. He’s a special talent and doesn’t even know what kind of future he can have with football yet.”