Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kansas football commitment Joe Dineen: ‘KU was where I belonged’

Free State's Joe Dineen finds some open space as he runs the ball against Leavenworth during their game Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 at Leavenworth.

Free State's Joe Dineen finds some open space as he runs the ball against Leavenworth during their game Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 at Leavenworth.


A little more than eight hours after making official his oral commitment to the Kansas University football program late Wednesday night, Free State High senior-to-be Joe Dineen tapped the alarm clock, pulled himself out of bed and headed off to summer weights in preparation for his final season of high school football.

So much for any extended celebration about his big decision.

Dineen, a 6-foot-2, 197-pound do-it-all athlete who projects as a safety at KU, informed Kansas coach Charlie Weis of his decision around 10 p.m. Wednesday night. After enjoying a few smiles and laughs with his future head coach, he did what he would do every night — grabbed a quick shower and headed to bed so he'd be ready for the early-morning wake-up call at 6:15. One problem.

“I couldn't really sleep too much (Wednesday) night,” Dineen said. “I was pretty excited.”

Dineen's commitment — KU's third in the Class of 2014 — is the culmination of a lifelong path that led him to join the Jayhawks. Although the Free State standout entertained offers and interest from other programs and did his due diligence to ensure he made an informed decision, he admits that the school he grew up watching and rooting for rarely left his mind.

“I kind of knew deep down that KU was where I belonged,” Dineen admitted Thursday. “It's kind of fun going through the recruiting process and all that, but I truly believe that KU has one of the best, if not the best, coaching staffs in the country. No matter what, I think Coach Weis is going to turn this program around and I want to be a part of it. Especially being a hometown kid and having seen all the ups and downs, I want to do my part to help bring a winning team to KU.”

Dineen, who has played all over the field during his career at Free State and projects as the Firebirds' starting quarterback for 2013, said the relationships he built with Weis and linebackers coach Clint Bowen played a big role in him choosing Kansas. Bowen, like Dineen, grew up in Lawrence and later played at KU, and the Jayhawks' newest commitment said their similar paths also influenced his decision.

“I've actually heard a lot of people say I remind them of Coach Bowen,” Dineen said. “And that's kind of cool. We kind of related on a level that was more than just, 'I want you to play football,' it was also, 'I've been in your shoes.'”

Although Dineen entertained the idea of going away for college and appreciated the fact that his parents never tried to pressure him to stay close to home, his love of Lawrence and his support system made it hard to envision himself playing anywhere else.

“I want my family and my friends to be able to watch me play and I want to be able to watch my younger brothers play, too,” he said. “Coach Weis said something to me that really stuck with me during one of my visits. He said, 'You can be home and enjoy all the benefits of going to school in the town you grew up in, but you can also isolate yourself and do your own thing.' So it's kind of the best of both worlds.”

The timing of his commitment may have been the best part for Dineen, who said he chose now to make his decision for one reason.

“I kind of wanted to enjoy this summer,” he said. “I didn't want my last summer of high school be real stressful and I also wanted to be able to focus on my high school team and our season.”

Dineen, who is rated as a three-star athlete by, joins Gardner-Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench and East St. Louis, Ill., linebacker Kyron Watson as the early commitments in KU's 2014 recruiting class.


Bobby Burch 9 years, 3 months ago

Welcome, Joe! Glad to have a local talent suiting up for the 'Hawks.

Someone help me here ... When's the last time KU had a Lawrence product play meaningful minutes?

Matt Tait 9 years, 3 months ago

Probably Ryan Murphy, a cornerback from Free State, 3 or 4 years ago, but I'd say it depends on what you consider meaningful. Ryan started a few games and played plenty, but he never became a key part of the defense.

Jayhawk2016 9 years, 3 months ago

I'd go with Brandon McAnderson as the last to play meaningful minutes. Underrated starter on the 2007 Orange Bowl team, as a tandem with Jake Sharp. I might be missing someone though.

Bobby Burch 9 years, 3 months ago

Good call. Loved watching McAnderson plow over defenders.

kujayhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

There have been a lot of Lawrence kids play more than meaningful minutes for KU. As long as he stays healthy, Joe will play a lot. KU got a good one.

Kris Weidling 9 years, 3 months ago

@Matt: should mention rich family Jayhawk pedigree....very impressive.

kufaninmo 9 years, 3 months ago

6'2 and 197 lbs in high school!! man, this kid is a beast! awesome.

Bville Hawk 9 years, 3 months ago

ahperse, you just gotta keep stirring the pot, don't you?

Displayhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Aquib Talib (sp?) and Charles Gordon were both 2-stars coming out of high school, so that don't mean squat!

Sae Thirtysix 9 years, 3 months ago

That is a homer - cause ahpShamu just said, "Dho"

LAJayhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Yep, ain't nobody got time!

Except Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Nebraska, Stanford, KState, Arkansas, Iowa St, Indiana, Rice and Harvard who all showed serious interest.

But other than that, no one!

kellerman411 9 years, 3 months ago

ahperse is my favorite poster on ku sports.

BringBackMark 9 years, 3 months ago

Over the last four years, if KU would've recruited only LHS and FSHS, the record couldn't be any worse. In fact, getting a few kids in here with desire and passion, might prove to be just what we need. Screw the stars. All that means is how hard Texas is recruiting a kid.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 3 months ago

Chris Martin may have time for that...He may have nothing but time!

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

Wasn't it ne of KSU's HS kids who just got busted?

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 3 months ago

Love to see Kansas kids stay home. I kinda think he has the look of a linebacker. I bet he likes to hit.

Kman_blue 9 years, 3 months ago

You'd be correct. He loves to hit.

And to quote his current HS coach in the article the photo at the top of this one was originally posted on, "(Bob) Lisher (Free State football coach) said Dineen is a “big-time” hitter"

Here's the original article on Dineen from last fall.

I also agree I think he looks like a potentially very good LB. KU has had some good luck with turning HS QB's into really good college LB's, like Nick Reid.

kellerman411 9 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully this kid is another Ben Heeney.

Micky Baker 9 years, 3 months ago

I watched some highlights of this kid. As a sophomore, he ran a 4.54 forty, and he played running back, safety, and QB. He made some accurate throws deep down the field and he demonstrated some quick decision making on both sides of the ball. On defense, he is a bruiser, he has good size, and he is strong. I'd be interested to learning a bit more about him this upcoming season, but with him playing at Free State, those of you in Lawrence will have a chance to see him play in person this fall.

Some of the plays he made running the ball were impressive, and he didn't necessarily have a lot of space. He just beat people with speed, agility, and physicality. On defense, which he is listed as at Rivals as a DB, he will be the kind of guy that can break up passes over the middle and provide support in pursuit in both the run and passing defense. He used good pursuit angles in the videos that I watched. He's most likely nearing a 4.45 or even faster speed by now which is real good for a safety. He has the size to be a safety and with that kind of speed, he can provide over the top support against some of the faster receivers in the league.

To put it simply, you don't want to meet him if he's angry in a dark alley. He'll kick your butt easily.

CrystalJones 9 years, 3 months ago

With Charlie & Co. now on the recruiting trail, KSU football is officially toast.

Terry N Tom Denner 9 years, 3 months ago

Can't wait to watch you raise hell in the back flied with the QB and snagging an INT from a receiver. Welcome aboard Joe to the KU family. Rock Chalk Jay Hawks !!!

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