Jon Van Diest traded red, white and blue for red and black, at least temporarily, as he accepted a jersey and an invitation to play in the Under Armour All-America football game on Jan. 1, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. The defensive end from Cherry Creek High School will join 90 of the nation’s best high school football players for the tenth annual All-America game, which will be aired live on ESPN.
During the jersey presentation on Oct. 3 in the CCHS gym, Van Diest said he was humbled by the honor. He thanked his family, including his grandparents Doug and Sharon Van Diest, who were in town from California while his parents were out of town. He also thanked his coaches, including those at Creek and those youth league coaches he learned from when he first started playing football.
Van Diest, a two-year captain of the Bruins football team, is ranked as the number 15 player at his position and the number three player in the state overall by ESPN. But CCHS defensive coordinator Tom Doherty says it is Van Diest’s off-the-field accomplishments that really set him apart.
“What people don’t see is what makes Jon really special. How he handles himself in the classroom and in the community,” Doherty said. “It’s an honor for me to coach him.”
Van Diest will wear black and gold next year. He will attend the University of Colorado on an athletic scholarship and hopes to be an asset for the Buffaloes, who are currently ranked in the top 25 for the first time in 11 years.