DeKALB – Joe Diedrich knew right when he left Winona State (Minn.) in January that's where he wanted to spend the next four years.
The DeKalb senior offensive lineman had been considering a couple different college choices, but his official visit confirmed his original thought.
On Wednesday at DeKalb High School, Diedrich signed his letter of intent, committing to Winona State, widely considered one of the top Division-II football programs in the country. The Warriors finished the 2012 regular season with a 9-2 record and won the Mineral Water Bowl to end the season with 10 wins.
"I loved it," Diedrich said. "Great coaches, great facilities, great school. I thought [the campus] was beautiful."
Diedrich was a Northern Illinois Big 12 East all-conference selection the last three years and was twice selected to the Daily Chronicle All-Area team. He had high expectations coming up through middle school as Clinton-Rosette coach Dan Weller called Diedrich "the best lineman to come through the program."
He quickly moved up to the varsity as a sophomore and was named team captain as a junior and senior.
"As a captain and somebody that represents your program, Joe's the type of kid that will always spend that extra effort on the field, in the weight room, on the field," said former DeKalb coach Marty Sanders, who coached Diedrich tfor three seasons at DeKalb. "Not only is he a great player, he's a great leader."
Diedrich was part of DeKalb's last playoff team in 2010, taking on the responsibilities of center as a sophomore.
Diedrich took an unofficial visit to Winona in November after the high school football season ended this year, but was still considering other Division-II programs like Minnesota State and Grand Valley State. Now he's glad to have the recruiting process finished and is preparing for his freshman season.
"They sent me a spring workout right now and I'm finishing up that then they'll send me a summer one and I'll be doing a bunch of running and lifting," Diedrich said. "Trying to keep me on track in the summer."
Diedrich isn't sure if the coaching staff will have him take a redshirt or not as a freshman, but knows he will be playing on the offensive line. Diedrich plans to study nursing or education at Winona State.