It’s a whole new summer for DeKalb senior lineman Christian Lorenzo. New coach. New positions. And, as a senior, a new role on the team.
“I was starting since my sophomore year, so I’ve always been the younger dude,” Lorenzo said. “But now, since I’m a senior, they really want me to take control of the team and show them the right things to do.”
The Barbs have wrapped up their summer workouts under first-year coach Derek Schneeman. Lorenzo is poised to start for a third straight year on the defensive line this year, although Schneeman, instead of only starting on the inside, might shift between both inside and the outside to keep opposing offenses guessing.
Lorenzo also approached Schneeman about playing on offense this year. And Schneeman said he’s liked what he’s seen from him as a halfback and tight end.
“He has really good hands too, which I actually didn’t know,” Schneeman said. “Of course, we didn’t throw him the ball last year. He didn’t play any offense at all last year. But he’s caught balls in practice, and it’s something he approached me about. What we’ve seen early in July is he can definitely play that side of the ball, too.”
Lorenzo said he spoke with Terrance Tate, who played for Northern Illinois and is the father of Lorenzo’s teammates, Toriano and Talon Tate. He said that Tate mentioned that adding offensive snaps might make him stand out to more colleges.
Aside from that, Lorenzo said, he just likes playing offense, too.
“Plus, I always liked playing both sides of the ball,” Lorenzo said. “I’m athletic enough. My stamina is pretty good, so I think playing both sides of the ball is really good. I think it’s been going well. I’ve been getting used to the offensive side. I’m still trying to learn the routes and stuff, but everything else like the blocking and all that – I’m getting that all down. Really, my steps are all we have to get down. But once I get those, we’ll be unstoppable on offense.”
Lorenzo has offers from Eastern Illinois and Roosevelt University. He said he’s attended camps at NIU, Northwestern and Illinois this summer and hopes his recruiting starts to pick up.
He said he’s been in touch with Illinois defensive line coach Terrance Jamison and hopes that turns into an eventual offer, as well. He said the COVID-19 pandemic and the team’s abbreviated spring season have made recruiting tougher.
“Due to the pandemic, everything is kind of pushed back,” Lorenzo said. “If we had a full season, everyone would have way more offers and stuff like that. But we took what we could last season and tried to make the best of it. It’s hard to do a lot of things in four or five games, but we made as much film as we could.”
Schneeman said he’s looking at using either two or three players as two-way players this year, with Lorenzo one of them. He also said that Talon Tate and Toriano Tate may seem times on both sides of the ball.
He said more than likely, it wouldn’t be an every snap-type thing, but more rotating in and out on one side of the ball. For Lorenzo, it would be his usual workload on the defensive side and a rotation spot on offense.
“On one hand, playing in the conference we do, you have to be careful because these schools aren’t going to be playing a ton of guys both ways,” Schneeman said. “We’re not going to be playing seven, eight guys both ways, but our most talented kids who can do it have to. If they’re going to be difference makers on both sides of the ball, we have to find opportunities to be difference makers.”
Lorenzo said the adjustment to Schneeman and his new system has gone well.
“I think he’s doing pretty well,” Lorenzo said. “He’s changed a lot of things, even our defense a little bit, and it’s looking pretty good. Right now, I’m just trying to stay on top of my D-linemen, take them under my wing, help them as much as I can. Give them techniques, moves, stuff like that.”