Joel Dublanko, regarded as one of the nation’s top high school football linebackers, will return to Aberdeen High School for his junior year.
Dublanko had participated in spring workouts at Olympia High School, sparking widespread rumors that he would transfer to play under state Hall of Fame coach Bill Beattie.
But his father, Craig Dublanko, said Monday night that his son would remain at Aberdeen. Preseason workouts begin Wednesday.
“We had a long family meeting (last week),” Craig Dublanko said. “We talked a lot about it, prayed a lot about it. We weighed everything out. When it was all said and done…we felt the best decision for Joel and his family was to play at Aberdeen this year and he’s excited about it.”
Although noting that Olympia coaches “kept every promise they made,” Craig Dublanko said several factors figured in the decision.
“He was really comfortable with the teachers (at Aberdeen), likes the guys and he really likes the (defensive) scheme,” he said. “The meetings with the coaches at Aberdeen have gone well.”
Joel, according to his father, would remain as an inside linebacker but would have more opportunity to display his mobility in a modified 4-4 defensive set that first-year Bobcat head coach Kevin Ridout and his staff plans to employ. After splitting time between running back and quarterback last year, he is expected to play offensively at fullback this season.
An all-Greater St. Helens AA League linebacker and a veteran of several national youth all-star games, the 6-foot-3, 233-pound Dublanko has already attracted the attention of most major-college football powers. He is ranked among the top-15 linebackers nationally by several online recruiting services.
He has received scholarship offers from Washington State, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Montana and Akron. Other colleges expressing interest, according to Craig Dublanko, include Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Stanford, Clemson and Ohio State.