In advance of Sunday’s Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, USA TODAY High School Sports is taking the temperature of two of the top quarterbacks in the game, the East squad’s Austin Kendall and the West’s Dillon Sterling-Cole. Here’s Sterling-Cole, who has committed to compete for Arizona State starting in fall 2016.
USA TODAY HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: Tell us about the Semper Fi experience so far. Why are you excited about the game?
DILLON STERLING-COLE: The Semper Fidelis Bowl game so far has been really been informational. We’ve been able to speak with some of the Marines, the corporals who have been fighting for our freedom. There’s a lot more to the Marines than any other field out there in terms of overseas battle. That’s been more of the motivation for us, not only on the field but off the field as well. They’ve been talking to us about using what they say as motivation and tactics on the field.
That makes it a real-life learning experience more so than a physical athletic experience.
USATHSS: You’re a relatively long-time Arizona State commit, but some have recently suggested that Oklahoma State might be making a push for your signature. Is that true, and what do you think about the Cowboys and their coaching staff?
DSC: It is true. I think the Oklahoma State coaching staff is consistent. They’ve been able to do a lot of things the last three or four years. As far as the way I feel about the school, I like it. I like the program, what they’re doing, they’re style of offense. I don’t know if I will be taking any visits there any time soon, but they have been trying to get in contact with me.
But I am still committed to Arizona State. Absolutely.
USATHSS: What are your goals for the game? What do you want to accomplish?
DSC: What I want to accomplish is to represent my family and where I come from in the most positive way possible. There’s been a long line of people in my family who have played in college and then in the NFL. At this point in time I’m just embracing the moment as it is and having fun.
USATHSS: Playing in an All-American game is a unique way to end a high school career. How would you describe it to other student athletes who won’t get this opportunity?
DSC: I would tell them that this is an opportunity that is only given once in a lifetime. This doesn’t make or break you; there will be more opportunity for you and others later in life so long as you have the mindset that no one will stop you, no one is better than you and no one will out work you. If you put those three things in your mind, no one will be able to stop you. You create these opportunities for yourself. There should be more bowl games in everyone’s future.
USATHSS: Why Arizona State? What are your expectations for your first season and future in Tempe?
DSC: I chose Arizona State because of the school itself. The tradition and program. The fan base. I love the school in general. When I went out there it just feels like home. When you’re choosing a school, I think it’s really important to have a place that feels like home, and I have that there. There are other quarterbacks there who are four-star prep quarterbacks, but I plan on going there and outworking them before I get there.
I plan on either redshirting or the opportunity for me to play will be there, whether in the first year or not.
USATHSS: What Texas food will you miss the most when you’re in Arizona next year?
DSC: I don’t know if they have good barbecue in Arizona. My favorite (barbecue) place back home is Ruby’s off I-45. That’s hard to beat.
USATHSS: What do people not know about Dillon Sterling-Cole that you think they should, or would surprise them?
DSC: I guess they’ll have to find out. Stay tuned. I just want to give a shout out to my Momma, my Pops, my uncle Mike, my grandma and my little brother and sisters in Houston. I love them to death. They and all my friends and family, they’ve been supporting me for years, and I know they will for many years to come.