“It was one of my dream schools,” Dillon Root (6-0, 170) said about Fresno State. “A lot of my family went there, and my grandfather wanted to me to go there.”
It was Root’s grandfather that got him started in the game that will now pay for his college education. Unfortunately, he will not get to see Dillon in Bulldog red.
“He passed away about four years ago,” said Root. “He was the person who got me into football. We’d go to the park and just play. He got me into it. Before he died, it was one of his wishes for me to go Fresno State.”
Root’s family is just as elated. He says most are already season ticket holders. “My dad has been following the program for awhile,” he added. “I went to a lot of the games. I’ve probably been to over 25 games. I have an aunt that graduated from Fresno State and her husband went there. I have a lot of family that went to Fresno State.”
The Bulldogs were his second offer – Nevada being his first – but it didn’t take long for Root to commit once he received it despite receiving interest from Arizona State, San Jose State, San Diego State, and UCLA among others.
His official offer came in the mail in late June and soon after, Root was on his way for an unofficial visit 45 minutes north of his Visalia home. He took his visit on June 27, the day before Coach Hill was about to embark on his three-week vacation.
“It came to me in the mail, and I immediately called and talked to [Coach Pat Hill] and scheduled my visit,” said Root. “I sat down with [Coach Hill] for awhile on my visit. He was telling how they build their players for life. It was just like what my dad has been teaching me my whole life. I really like their program.”
Root didn’t commit on the spot inside Coach Hill’s office. “He told me to think about and call him back if I wanted to be a Bulldog,” he added. “I thought about it for a couple hours and I called him back. He was real excited. He was all pumped for me to come out there.”
Fresno State is recruiting him as a running back. But he says Coach Hill said he could move around to a different position or defense if he didn’t like running back. Root has the speed and ability to play slot or at the X. But when asked if he wanted to play running back at the next level, his answer was simple.
“Oh yeah,” said Root.
He rushed for over 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns last season for the Rangers. He’s also a track standout that ran the 100m, 200m and competed in the long jump. His best 100m time was 10.72 at the state preliminaries. He finished sixth in the long jump at the state finals last month.
While most will associate Root’s game with speed because of his track background – he recently ran a hand-timed 4.38 forty-yard dash –, he describes his style as balanced. “I got a little bit of the best of both worlds,” said Root. “I can run between the tackles, but I can bounce it to the outside.”
Academically, he reports a 3.0 core GPA. He scored a 1330 on the SAT and only has two core classes remaining his senior year. He’s elated to have ended his recruitment so he can focus on his senior season.
“[Coach Hill] said he’s not recruiting anymore running backs and I’m not going on anymore visits,” said Root. “It feels like I got a big weight off my back.”
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