Dias A Great Player, Leader for Hackensack

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Below is an excerpt from the 10/18/02 Sabremail.

Much has been made of the caliber of individuals Al Groh and company have been bringing to the Virginia program since he took over two years ago. Not only are most of the recruits excellent players, but they are excellent people as well. Well, things are no different this recruiting season, and one of UVa’s top targets exemplifies excellence both personally and athletically. His name is Jermaine Dias , and he is a dominating 6’2”, 220-pound linebacker/defensive end prospect from Hackensack, NJ.

Dias has been impressive since first stepping onto Hackensack High School grounds as a freshman four years ago. His exceptional talent enabled him to play immediately as a freshman – a feat not often accomplished at a school with such a prestigious football reputation. He played great early on and has played great ever since.

“Simply put, he makes plays,” said Hackensack Head Coach Ralph Dass. “He has made plays since his freshman year. He is a four-year starter for us, which is tough considering the teams we have (Hackensack has won the state championship seven out of the last 10 years). Jermaine does things that are beyond coaching. He has magic hands and magic feet.

“For us, he plays defensive end, but he chases things down on the other side of the field. He runs down screens. He can just cover the whole field. He has a nose for the ball.”

Dias’ talent has given him a reputation as one of New Jersey’s best players. Before his senior season, Dias has earned accolades from many different recruiting publications. He is rated one of the top 100 players in the country by Tom Lemming, a Superprep All-American, and the number 10 outside linebacker prospect by Rivals.com. He has drawn the attention of virtually every top college in the country.

Despite the well deserved accolades, Dias has been careful not get too caught up in the spotlight.

“Jermaine is a great kid,” said Dass. “He doesn’t get caught up in the hype. As he says, ‘football is football… there is only so much to it.’ He just doesn’t get caught up in the glamour of recruiting. We took him down to the Florida State – Maryland game, and he didn’t get caught up in the fan fare. He just absorbed it all in.”

In addition to becoming one of the stars of Hackensack, he has also assumed a major leadership role with the younger players. Ever since his freshman season, Dias has been an outgoing, go-get-’em type of a person. Sounds like things haven’t changed much since then.

“After his eighth grade year, he came up to us and said he wanted to try out for varsity,” said Dass. “Since he was coming out so early, he had to get his own physical and everything. The first game, he didn’t start but he played. He has started every game since.”

Now, “he helps all the young kids. Earlier this year, we let him be the defensive coordinator for the JV team. He likes teaching the young kids things.”

So which schools will be lucky enough to land Dias? He has a pretty good sense of what he wants, and has narrowed his list of schools to Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Boston College. Dias will officially visit Maryland on December 13 and Boston College on December 6 and will schedule visits to UNC and UVa in the near future. The outstanding prospect will take his time and carefully weigh all options before deciding.

“He and his mom are handling everything great,” said Dass. “They are thorough in checking out every school to see what is right for him. They will make the right decision for him. He will probably wait until signing day [to decide], though he may not take all of his visits. “

Earlier in his recruitment, rumors were flying about a possible verbal commitment. First it was to Rutgers, then UVa. Those rumors proved untrue, however they haven’t bothered Jermaine in the slightest.

”No, he has a good head,” said Dass. “He knows they are just rumors. He has the couple of schools that he likes and that’s it.”

Dias has fully qualified for freshmen eligibility. He is one of Virginia’s top targets, as coach Groh would like nothing more than to see Jermaine lined up next to Kai Parham, Ahmad Brooks, and Darryl Blackstock over the next 3-4 years.

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