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Dominick Giudice has always dreamt of being a Michigan Man, so when the opportunity presented itself last week it didn’t take long for him to make a decision.

Giudice, a standout 2021 defensive end for Mater Dei Prep who was a Shore Sports Network First Team All-Shore selection this past season, made a non-binding verbal commitment on March 25 to continue his career at the University of Michigan. He was presented with a scholarship offer and hours later called the Wolverines coaching staff back to let them know he would be heading to Ann Arbor.

“After the call and the offer I spoke it over with my family and we knew it was the right decision,” Giudice said. “Nothing gets better than playing top football week in and week out and going to a school with great academics.”

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

After a solid sophomore year, Giudice had a breakout season in 2019 to blossom into a dominating edge rusher. The 6-foot-4, 262-pound junior racked up a state-leading 24 sacks and 43 tackles for loss for a Mater Dei defense that was fifth in the Shore allowing just 11.3 points per game while recording four shutouts. One of his best games of the season came in the Non-Public Group 3 state final when he recorded three sacks in a loss to DePaul. His play helped the Seraphs reach their fourth straight state final and finish No. 3 in the SSN Top 10.

Giudice said he’s been a fan of Michigan football since he was 5-years old. Putting on the iconic blue and gold winged helmet and playing for the Wolverines on Saturdays at the Big House has been a cherished goal. He had been in contact with members of the Michigan coaching staff, first Anthony Campanile, the New Jersey native who has since left to become a member of the Miami Dolphins coaching staff, and more recently defensive line coach Shaun Nua and defensive coordinator Don Brown. When he received a scholarship offer it was hard to contain his excitement.

“Even though I didn’t jump (to the offer) right then I was still going pretty crazy (on the inside) on the call,” Giudice said. “It didn’t take too long to make the call back and accept. Then we were all going crazy; me, my family, the coaches.”

The tradition of Michigan football hooked Giudice at an early age. He was drawn to the program’s physical style and, of course, its yearly championship contention. Conversations with the coaching staff confirmed those beliefs and also told him Michigan was indeed the right place for him to spend his college years.

“On top of all the other things I had some great conversations with coach Nua, coach Brown and (head) coach (Jim) Harbaugh,” Giudice said. “All seemed like great family guys with old-school, hard-nosed styles and that’s who I see myself playing for.”

During Giudice’s conversations with Nua and Brown, he was told they envisioned him playing ‘anchor’, which is the strong-side defensive end or 3-technique defensive tackle in Michigan’s scheme.

“I think I’m a very versatile player and can play anywhere they need me,” Giudice said. “In high school, I’ve played the 9 (tech), 7, 5, 3. With my speed and athleticism, I think I can play anywhere on the defensive line.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the United States upside down and athletics has been severely impacted at all levels. With high schools closed and all classes being conducted online because of social distancing measures, New Jersey’s spring sports season is on hold. Giudice isn’t missing any games since football is in the fall but offseason training and any other football activities have been affected. Recruiting didn’t slow down much since phone and video calls comprise much of the interaction, but a big part of the process, an official visit, wasn’t possible. For Giudice, not being able to visit campus is only a small inconvenience.

“Not an issue at all,” Giudice said. “When I do get out there it will make everything that much better.”

Since school closed, Giudice has spent his time training at his Freehold home along with his brother Anthony, who was a defensive lineman at Syracuse and Lafayette after a standout high school career at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut. He has a gym in his basement with a squat rack, a bench, free weights and more so he can stick to his strength program. He and his brother also head to the backyard and work on defensive lineman drills together.

“I’ve been working on my speed, strength, power, hand speed, violence, get-off, just everything,” Giudice said. “You just have to get a little innovative with it and be creative.”

Mater Dei has reached four straight state finals but has lost the last three, including a 27-25 loss to DePaul in the 2019 NJSIAA Non-Public Group 3 final. For Giudice and his soon-to-be senior teammates, that has provided the motivation throughout the offseason.

“That’s all we’re thinking about, finishing it off,” Giudice said. “The last three years we’ve made it but we haven’t been able to. We just have to get it done in our senior year.”

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.