WARREN, Mich. (Dec. 19, 2018) – Wednesday was the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period for prospective student-athletes who hope to play college football during the 2019-20 academic year.
Three such students at De La Salle Collegiate took advantage of the first day, signing binding contracts – known as national letters of intent – with Division I schools.
Defensive back Joshua DeBerry, linebacker Jacob Dobbs and offensive lineman Danny Motowski attended a special signing ceremony held in De La Salle’s media center. With family and friends in attendance, DeBerry, Dobbs and Motowski signed with Boston College, Holy Cross and Central Michigan, respectively.
Last month, the senior trio was among 27 Pilots who guided the varsity football to a second consecutive Division 2 state championship at Detroit’s Ford Field.
Wednesday was a much anticipated event for all three young men.
“It’s finally a weight off my shoulders,” Dobbs said. “Since the time I walked off their campus in June I knew I wanted to go to Holy Cross.”
Dobbs (6-0, 205) led the Pilots’ defense with 101 tackles, including a game-high 16 in De La Salle’s 29-16 win over Muskegon Mona Shores in this year’s finals. Offensively, he had 251 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 13 catches.
Giannone says Dobbs is better than an assistant coach on the field because, “he knows the defense as well as any of the guys on our coaching staff. And he gets other kids to play, which is a good leadership trait. Plus he has some nastiness to him. He’s one of the two strongest guys on our team and he doesn’t back down from anybody.”
Holy Cross is fortunate to have him because of his work ethic and football intelligence.
“He’s really goal driven,” Giannone said. “Whatever he wants to do, whether that’s something in business or if he ends up being a college football coach, he’ll be successful. Once he puts his mind to something he gets it done.”
Motowski (6-2, 288) helped anchor an offensive line that blocked for a ground attack that produced 39 touchdowns and averaged 204 yards rushing per game. He was second on the team with 21 pancake blocks.
It’s that kind of toughness, Giannone says, that will help Motowski at the next level.
“He’s just a grinder,’ the Pilots’ head coach said. “He’s willing to go up against anybody. It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t back down.”
If there were a category for an all-world prep player award, DeBerry would definitely be in the conversation. The 6-1 cornerback was a valuable asset to the Pilots on offense, defense and special teams this season. He led the team in receiving (770 yards, 9 TDs) and kick return yards (263 yards). He also had a team-high five interceptions and 20 pass deflections.
“He’s just a stone-cold athlete,” Giannone said. “He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached. He’s the best because he’s a lockdown corner and nobody can score on him. Offensively, we didn’t use him enough as a junior. Thank God we won the state championship, because if we hadn’t that would have been on me.
“He can play quarterback, he can play running back. We put him in every different spot we could get him in. We had to devise a system just for him so we could get him in different spots.”