A.J. Dillon has been one of the nation’s most sought after talents since his freshman year of high school. When he first stepped on the field for Lawrence Academy during the 2012-13 season, Division I scouts instantly took notice. Dillon’s lethal combination of size, speed and athleticism caught the eyes of coaches around the country, which led to multiple Division I offers after only two seasons.
Boston College showed particular interest in Dillon early on during his freshman season, and Notre Dame, Florida State, Wisconsin, Virginia and Michigan would soon follow up with offers of their own. These schools admired Dillon’s ability to play as an “all-purpose” back, as well as run the defense as a linebacker. He possessed the skills to run the ball effectively, block when needed, run routes out of the backfield and then line up on the other side of the ball and command the defense.
“I’m going to be an all-purpose back,” he said. “I’m not going to be just a third-down back or linebacker. I’ll be lined up in different situations—carrying the ball, running routes and pass-blocking.”
Dillon’s skills landed him a spot at Nike’s “The Opening” national finals in July. Standing at 6-foot-1, 239 pounds, Dillon clocked a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash and a 4.29 in the shuttle. His athleticism (38.3-inch jump) and strength (40-foot toss) earned him a SPARQ (speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness) rating. It was the second straight year that Dillon received these MVP honors.
While Dillon’s stock continued to rise, schools began to close in with hopes of securing him as a commit. By the end of his junior year, he had 17 official offers from FBS schools, and was one of the top 100 recruits in the country. Alabama, Oregon and Auburn, all expressed great interest in Dillon after his impressive showing at “The Opening.”
As additional offers kept piling up, Dillon knew that he would have to narrow down his offers and schedule his last official visits before making his final decision. One of his last stops was at University of Michigan to meet with head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Dillon knew that Michigan would be great fit for him, but this notion was solidified when he made that last official visit. On March 28, not a week after his visit, he announced his official commitment to The University of Michigan.
“Michigan has the three As—atmosphere, athletics and academics. It’s one of the best public schools in the world. It has one of the most talked-about football programs because of what [head coach Jim] Harbaugh is doing.”
Michigan knew what it was getting when it recruited Dillon – he was ranked the No. 24 running back in the country in his class, and showed promise as a two-way player. Michigan also managed to sign running back prospects O’Maury Samuels (No. 20) and Kurt Taylor (No. 47). The year before, Michigan signed Kareem Walker, the No. 4 overall 2016 running back recruit, and clearly was looking to add depth in that position.
As time progressed, Dillon understood the competition he would face while at Michigan for the top running back spot. In order to gain the top spot on the depth chart, he would have to compete with some of the best players in the country. While Dillon never shied away from competition before, his vision of college football involved actually playing. The idea being he would commit to a school that wanted him to play, not commit to have as a contingency.
After Dillon completed his final season at Lawrence Academy, he was preparing to continue his football journey at the University of Michigan. However, as time went on, Dillon learned what was truly important to him. Michigan promised all of the amenities and accolades that a prospect would hope for, but there was one thing that Michigan couldn’t offer him: location. Being someone who has put family above all else, Dillon knew that his decision had to at least consider his family’s perspective.
Thus, Dillon would like to announce his official de-commitment from The University of Michigan, and announce his commitment to Boston College. This coming football season, A.J. Dillon will be wearing maroon and gold, and representing the Boston College Eagles. A.J. had this to say to the public:
“I believe that coach Harbaugh and the University of Michigan have something very special being put together. Especially with the incoming 2017 class, assistant coaches, and the Michigan fan base which is in my opinion second to none. I’m humbled by the support that the coaches and fans have given me since my commitment last March. I love the University of Michigan and everything that the school stands for from academics to athletics. However, this is a selfish decision and after meeting with my family I feel like my attendance at Boston College for the continuation of my athletic and academic career is the best place for me. To the coaches, players, and especially class of 2017 who I’ve grown close to I wish nothing best. I’ll be watching when you win the next few national championships. I have nothing bad to say about the University of Michigan, Go Blue.
Being from Connecticut going to a private boarding school in Massachusetts there was a bit of unease. But Lawrence Academy, Boston, and the rest of Massachusetts have always welcomed me with open arms and have supported me more than just off the field. I look forward to representing the city of Boston, state of Massachusetts, my family and everyone in New London, CT. I believe the Boston College program is on the rise and I feel like there is something to be said about being from here, and being part this movement. I’ve developed great relationships with the coaches and players at Boston College and am excited to be a part of the Eagles family and uphold that BC tradition. #DecideToFly
I’m aware there are a lot of people that aren’t going to agree or understand my decision, but I just ask that you respect that I believe is best for me and my family.”
*Also I will not be doing any interviews for awhile, Thank you*
Dillon was kind enough to give Coaches Lunch an exclusive interview to unveil his recent announcement. During our interview we talked about the process of being recruited, why he decided to commit to Michigan and why he ultimately chose Boston College. In his final remarks, we asked A.J. to give on final justification for his decision. He gave one final remark:
“My decommitment was truly because of what I thought was best for my future with guidance from my family. I’m thankful for the University of Michigan football program welcoming me with open arms. I decided to commit to Boston College because that’s where I feel that I will be the most successful on and off the field. I feel like I have the chance to be a part of creating something special in this area, especially being from the area. I’ve developed great relationships with the coaches and players and know that I will fit in well and look forward to contribute.”
Dillon made a note to acknowledge the efforts of everyone in the process, as well as give love to those who have supported him throughout. Come next fall, A.J. Dillon will be running through the tunnel in Newton, Massachusetts, as a Boston College Eagle.