Dorman's DeStefano a huge target for Clemson in 2012

by - Senior Writer -
Patrick DeStefano's father, Frank, played at Duke and in the NFL.

CLEMSON – Patrick DeStefano is a good player to be sure, but he is also a student of the game.

DeStefano, Dorman High School’s talented and big (6-6, 280) offensive lineman figures to be ranked among the top players in the state of South Carolina next season, but he doesn’t rely on talent alone.

Following Clemson’s victory over Georgia Tech in Death Valley last season, DeStefano sought out Clemson offensive line coach Brad Scott and immediately began asking questions about what he had seen during the game.

DeStefano says it is all about learning when the opportunity presents itself.

“I had been down in the locker room during halftime, and I was going over the protections,” DeStefano told TigerNet. “If Clemson is going to be one of the schools I potentially play for, then I wanted to see if I could pick up the playbook and learn just a couple of their pass protection schemes. I want to be able to pick it up fast.”

DeStefano already has scholarship offers from Clemson, Duke, South Carolina, North Carolina, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Maryland, Tennessee, Stanford and Northwestern. Wisconsin has also said they will offer, so DeStefano has plenty of choices.

He said the biggest thing to him will be feeling comfortable on the campus he chooses.

“The biggest thing for me is comfortability,” he said. “I am not even sure that’s a word, and if it isn’t then I just made it up. The biggest thing I look for when I step on campus is ‘Am I comfortable? Do I want to be here?’ If I don’t feel right about the campus in general, then I don’t want to spend four or five years there. And of course, I look at the athletics and the academics.”

Playing on the offensive line is a DeStefano family legacy – his grandfather played the position in college, and his father Frank played at Duke and in the NFL – and he says it is his father who has helped make him into the player he is today.

“One of the biggest reasons I am where I am is because of him,” DeStefano said. “When I was younger, I was always too big and over the weight limit for youth football. So we were always in the shed doing workout drills. Every day. Even today he helps me and is still my mentor in football.”

Playing for a top-notch program at Dorman has helped as well.

I have thrived in the competitive environment at Dorman,” he said. “I watched film from last year’s state championship game, and then the one from two years ago, and I’ve seen my progression as a person and as a player. And I also understand I have many more miles to go before I am ready to play in college.

“But playing in that system has gotten me ready to excel. Playing against guys like Malcolm Boyd and Jake Morris and Brandon Thomas has taught me to be tough. When I was a younger player and I was in the chute, I knew I could either be blown off the ball by those guys and embarrass myself, or I could stay in there and work and get better.”

DeStefano has already taken a visit to Duke, and plans on taking visits to Clemson, Tennessee, South Carolina, Penn St., Stanford and possibly Notre Dame this spring and summer. He also wants to participate in Dabo Swinney’s summer camp.

He also said that it’s wrong for people to assume he will wind up at Duke because of his father.

“My dad actually steers me away from Duke,” he said. “Not because it is a bad school, but because he doesn’t want to force me to go to the school he went to. It is completely up to me, and we will weigh the pros and cons of every school.”

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