Thursday, December 5, 2013

Firebirds’ Dineen named state’s top football player

Free State senior quarterback Joe Dineen (12) sheds Shawnee Mission Northwest's Donte Colum (2) as he heads to the end zone for a touchdown during their football game Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at Free State.

Free State senior quarterback Joe Dineen (12) sheds Shawnee Mission Northwest's Donte Colum (2) as he heads to the end zone for a touchdown during their football game Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at Free State.


Joe Dineen had his phone on during his fourth-hour class Thursday at Free State High when a buddy sent him a surprising text message.

“Congrats,” it said.

“For what?” Dineen replied.

It turned out his pal, Brett Van Blaricum, had seen the news online before it got to Dineen. The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, named Dineen the 2013-14 Gatorade Kansas Football Player of the Year.

“At first, I didn’t believe it,” said Dineen, a Free State senior. “Maybe they’re just showing the nominations or something.”

So he texted his mom, Jodi, for confirmation. In the meantime, he had to try to put the award in the back of his mind so he could take a government test. When he finished, he found out his friend wasn’t kidding.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Dineen said, “and there was a ton of people in the state that were worthy of it. I just couldn’t believe it.”

The Firebirds quarterback and free safety is the first FSHS football player to earn the award, which distinguishes him as the state’s top player and, according to a press release, recognizes him not only for outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior passed for 1,702 yards and 20 touchdowns, completing 118 of his 222 attempts, and helped guide the Firebirds (9-2) to the Class 6A state quarterfinals this past fall. Dineen also rushed for 798 yards and 12 touchdowns on 136 carries. The Sunflower League’s Andre Maloney Award recipient, Dineen recorded 73 total tackles, five for a loss, recovered two fumbles and collected one interception on defense.

Committed to play for his hometown college football program at Kansas University, Dineen is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month. Past state award-winners, include Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999- 00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).

Dineen is the second Free State athlete to win the Gatorade award in 2013, joining fellow senior Alexa Harmon-Thomas, whose track prowess nabbed her the honor this past spring.


Mike Putzier 8 years ago

Welcome Joe! Looking forward to the continued improvement of our football team and I know you will be a GREAT addition!

Phil Leister 8 years ago

What position will he end up playing at KU? I could only find "athlete" listed for him.

Brandon Mahon 8 years ago

He is a solid talent, and solid grab. He was looked at by alot of other big schools. Glad we were able to stay in state and grab him

Ian Ballinger 8 years ago

So far I feel nothing but confidence for next year.

Chris Bailey 8 years ago

Says the Brony with the my little pony icon.

Ian Ballinger 8 years ago

I've been here for over two years, where have you been? What does that even have to do with what we're talking about?

Lance Meier 8 years ago

The recruits sound nice, gotta git em on campus and git going... To bad Grunny's going home, but now's not the time to git down... U have to go back to Terry Allen's time in Lawrence, this hire after Mason was "HORRIBLE" and will haunt KU football for along time.... When Mangino was hired, KU had some success, then his last year and a half was a "DISASTER", even more cause OL' Lew disliked him, too BAD... That's such petty CRAP. U know what that is, it's people being people, it showed Lew's true colors/character Lew had, which was "0". KU FB was set back (Allen HC for 3-4-5) years, that puts KU back nearly 10 years, alone. Then Magino's last 1 1/2 he did nothing, then the BRILLIANT hire, GILL... Another 2 years of NOTHING, KU FB goes backwards AGAIN... HOW MANY TIMES CAN A PROGRAM GO BACKWARDS BEFORE THE FRICKIN "BOTTOM" FALLS OUT!!! Charlie has all kinds of problems to deal with, he has/had brought in many kids good/bad, but he's brought in tons of kids, he's trying to TURN this thing around... TIME, is what he needs... I hate the loses as much as anyone, KU CAN be successful at FB, just have to turn around NEARLY 10 YEARS of HORRIBLE leadership in the HC's office. 10 years is 15-20years in actuality, U build 1 recruit class at a time... I can not wait for KU FOOTBALL to be successful again...Coach Weis keep up the Great work!!!

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