Every year college coaches — from Boston College to Syracuse to Penn State and down the East Coast, even Virginia and North Carolina State — roll through Everett during the offseason and take a look at DiBiaso’s finest.
Before they could even get there, Montelus had become well-known in football circles.
He had posted a highlight video on YouTube and the Facebook friend requests kept coming. In the new age of recruiting, Facebook not only replaced the phone, it made it look as useful as a telegraph machine.
And the word on Montelus was widespread and unanimous.
“They couldn’t believe he was as advanced as he is at his young age,” DiBiaso said.
Call of the Irish
Montelus had just landed at Logan Airport in the middle of rush hour traffic last April. He had spent the day in Florida as the Gators’ coaching staff tried to get a verbal commitment out of him. He was about ready to do it.
Milo picked up Montelus at about 5 p.m. and they drove to South Bend, Ind., where Montelus would give a courtesy visit to Notre Dame.
They had been driving Milo’s Jeep Wrangler all over the country (spending money out of Milo’s pocket). They drove through 6 inches of snow on the way to West Virginia. They made it to South Bend in 14 hours, just in time for a 9 a.m. meeting with Brian Kelly.
By the time Montelus left, his mind was changed. He committed to the Fighting Irish.
“A lot of kids were talking, ‘You had all these offers, you could have went to a power ranked school,’ ” Montelus said. “I was like you’re right, but I went to Notre Dame and everything just changed. I knew they were going to do a good job anyways. Now, after they’re No. 1, everyone is like, ‘OK, you were right.’ ”
To get this far, DiBiaso likes to remind, everything has to fall into just the right place.
Montelus stayed healthy, played on great teams, and had an assistant coach see greatness when the player saw uncertainty.
But Montelus also committed to the process. These rewards have been earned.
“John has done it all himself,” DiBiaso said. “He hasn’t had people to drive him around town or buy him things when he needed or wanted something.
“Now, I don’t want to put pressure on him. But the potential is there to be very easily playing on Sundays. There are a lot of variables that go into it. I’m optimistic all those things will fall into place.”
The dominoes have been falling for four years. Montelus thought he’d be nothing. Maybe attending a state college, just working to get by.
But enough with those predictions.
“You never know,” he said. “I could be anything.”