We told you earlier this week that things were heating up with Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian School offensive lineman Joe Dembesky. A senior somewhat obscured by one of the most talent-laden high school teams of 2007 prospects in the nation, the 6'5" left tackle was headed to Harvard over Division I scholarship offers from UNLV and Wyoming, according to Oaks Christian head coach Bill Redell. The coach's caveat, however, was that Stanford could still change his senior tackle's destiny with a scholarship offer - which could possibly hit any day.
That day came. And so did another.
Dembesky tells The Bootleg that he has added a pair of scholarship offers in the past week. Stanford and Northwestern have joined his sweepstakes.
"It really started for me in May or June, when I got my first offer from Wyoming," the recruit recounts. "Since then I added offers from UC-Davis, UNLV and Utah State. Northwestern and Stanford just came most recently. Stanford's offer is contingent upon my application being accepted by the school. I have most of it in. There are four essays, and I have three done. I'm on the last one right now."
The Oaks Christian student-athlete reports a 3.75 GPA and a 1940 on the new SAT - a 1310 on the old scale after subtracting the new essay component.
Prior to these brand new scholarship offers from the Cardinal and Wildcats, Dembesky was honed in on the Ivy League. Convinced that he should not marginalize his educational aspirations for an athletic environment, he scheduled official visits only to Harvard (12/2), Princeton (1/6) and Yale (1/13), though the trip to the Bulldogs' campus was cancelled.
"I had too many cross-country trips and decided I need to stay home and catch up on schoolwork," Dembesky explains.
With the Cardinal coming forth with a scholarship, the 6'5" lineman is officially visiting The Farm this weekend. Though the offer is new, the relationship and fondness between the recruit and Stanford have been building for more than half a year.
"It was constant contact with them the whole time. I talked with Coach [Tom] Freeman every week, with phone calls and emails," Dembesky notes. "Stanford would be my number one choice if I'm admitted, easily, because they are close to home, I like Pac-10 football better than Big 10 football, the weather is better, and the relationship I have with the Stanford coaches."
This will not be the first time for Dembesky to tour the Cardinal campus. He attended the overnight Stanford football camp in late June last year and was an unofficial visitor for that famed near-upset of USC in 2004.
"Hopefully the application will clear things up and that gets done," he says. "If not, then maybe I will go east to Northwestern or somewhere next week. But I would like to wrap it up."
6'5" is not a lock for any lineman to play tackle at the Pac-10 level, and Dembesky admits that it is not clear where he would play on the line. He does know his strengths, however, and why the Cardinal came to him with a scholarship.
"I could be a shorter tackle, by college standards, or a bigger guard. I think my skills might argue for me to play outside because of my athleticism and pass blocking," he opines. "I've been told that I play the offensive line like a defensive lineman, which I take as a compliment. I'm aggressive and fast, and I play with a mean streak on the field. I get up the field and hit people, instead of just rocking back and letting things happen to me."
The potent Oaks Christian offense this past fall was highlighted by two of the very best juniors in the nation: quarterback Jimmy Clausen and running back Marc Tyler. Dembesky's spotlight was dim as a lineman but understands the role he played in his teammates' success.
"We run a spread offense, so I have to pass protect a lot," he offers. "In run blocking I was critical because we run a single back, which means we pull the tackle out to be the lead blocker. We have a very athletic offensive line, and that showed this year with Marc Tyler averaging 14 yards per carry."
Oaks Christian won their third straight CIF section championship this year and own a 31-game winning streak. Stanford is on a SoCal streak of their own, nabbing three verbal commitments from the region in the past week. Dembesky's unbridled enthusiasm and comments on the Cardinal point toward a fourth January pledge from the Los Angeles area, barring a surprise this weekend or with his admissions application. We will check back with him next week for his latest as the clock ticks toward Signing Day and his college decision. Stay tuned.
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