Kiski Area DE Jack Dilts bolsters DU football’s ‘21 class

Brentaro Yamane | Staff Writer

Oct. 29, 2020

It’s only October and Duquesne’s football team has yet another high school player that has verbally committed to the program. The player that verbally pledged is a local product in Kiski Area High School’s Jack Dilts. Dilts is currently a senior at Kiski Area, where he plays both tight end and defensive end.

His Kiski Area Cavaliers are currently 2-4 this season. Even though his team is not having the best start to begin his senior year, one of the bright sides for him is that he already made his college decision in choosing Duquesne. He verbally committed on Oct. 5.

Duquesne is recruiting him exclusively as a defensive end.

Dilts started playing football when he was in first grade. His older brother, Hunter, who graduated from Kiski Area in 2019, started playing football at a young age and his parents only thought it would be right if they signed Jack up to play football, as well. Jack has other siblings that play sports, too, so it can be said that it can be busy over in the Dilts household.

“All of my siblings either play or played sports,” Dilts said. “My two older sisters played basketball, volleyball and did gymnastics. My older brother played football and wrestled. My younger brother plays football and wrestles. Also, my younger sister is a gymnast.”

To show how athletic Dilts is, he is also a wrestler at his high school and has won two district championships in wrestling. His Kiski Area wrestling teams won the WPIAL 3A team championship in his freshman and sophomore years in 2018 and 2019.

Dilts had thought about wrestling in college, but he felt that football was the better option for him since no schools had offered him the opportunity to wrestle at the college level.

For a lot of college athletes, there was most likely a certain point in their high school careers when they realized that they could play at the next level; Dilts was able to recall the exact moment he knew.

“When I was a sophomore [in 2018] competing against seniors, I realized that there was a chance that I could play football at the collegiate level,” Dilts said.

Since then, he has continued to work hard, earning offers from other NCAA Division I FCS schools like the University of Pennsylvania, Bucknell University, University of Albany, Robert Morris University, University of Akron and, obviously, Duquesne.

The football coaching, the atmosphere and the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business were each reasons why Dilts chose Duquesne.

“Coach Kory Gribbin was the first coach to reach out to me from Duquesne. Coach Cornelius Coleman reached out to me, as well, when he was hired at Duquesne back in July,” Dilts said. “I’ve always wanted to play NCAA Division I football, and I’ll be majoring in business, so I feel that Duquesne is my best option. I feel relieved now that I know where I am going.”

After Dilts made his decision, one of the first people to congratulate him was current Duquesne defensive lineman Troy Kuhn, who graduated from Kiski Area in 2019. Kuhn was also football teammates with Dilts at Kiski Area, and they will continue to be teammates when Dilts starts to attend Duquesne in 2021.

“Troy said that he really loves it at Duquesne,” Dilts said. “He was one of the first people to congratulate me when I first got the offer, and when I committed.”

Dilts and Kuhn were both recruited by Duquesne as defensive linemen, and hope to lead the Dukes’ defensive line together, maybe helping each other win a Northeast Conference championship someday.

In his final year at Kiski Area, Dilts hopes to help the Cavaliers make it to the WPIAL playoffs, as his team has not won a playoff game since he has been in high school in 2017. For now, he will continue to try to improve his game as he wants to make an impact on Duquesne’s football team when he arrives in 2021.

“Before I graduate, I would like for my [Kiski Area] team to win out the rest of the season,” Dilts told The Duke earlier in October. “After the season, I will be lifting and getting bigger.

“As a defensive lineman, I feel like my main strengths are coming off the edge and being able to use my hands. However, I would like to get bigger and stronger so I can contribute as a freshman next year.”