AURORA | Ace Escobedo didn’t need much convincing that Penn was the place he wanted to go to school and play football, but he took another trip anyways.
The Regis Jesuit senior standout defensive lineman announced his verbal commitment to the Quakers via social media on Saturday, just a few weeks prior to the Raiders’ first game of the 2015 season.
Escobedo — who checks in at 6-foot-3, 270 pounds — also liked Dartmouth, Columbia and Air Force, but found all he was looking for at Penn in terms of playing as well as a quality business school.
“When I took my first visit, I really felt at home with the coaching staff and I loved the feeling the school gave me,” Escobedo told the Sentinel. “I visited a second time in July and that just reaffirmed everything I initially thought and I decided it’s the best school for me.”
The Raiders already have one player on the 2015 roster committed to a Division I school to play football in tight end Jack Stoll, who has pledged to the University of Nebraska.
Escobedo is glad he will have at least one familiar face in the Penn locker room, as his former teammate — offensive lineman Jack Maly, a 2015 Regis Jesuit graduate — is part of the program, which did play a role in his decision. He also met a linebacker from Fairview in the program.
As for his senior year with the Raiders, who come into the season ranked in a tie with Columbine at No. 5 in the preseason Associated Press Class 5A poll, Escobedo — who will take a larger role with three all-conference first team defensive linemen graduated — has lofty goals.
“I want to be a dominant force on the field and take my team all the way,” said Escobedo, who had five sacks last season on a defensive unit that excelled at getting to opposing quarterbacks.
“That’s a similar feeling throughout our players,” he added. “I want to win state and make it a great final season.”
Regis Jesuit, under the direction of new head coach Danny Filleman, open the season on Sept. 4 with an 8 p.m. visit to play defending 5A state champion Cherry Creek at Stutler Bowl. The Bruins were the only team to beat the 10-2 Raiders last season, topping them in the regular season and in the playoffs.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel