Freshman-year visit leads Sto-Rox linebacker Diontae Givens to Duquesne

Friday, June 12, 2020 | 6:07 PM

As a freshman, Diontae Givens tagged along with Sto-Rox football teammates for an unofficial recruiting visit to Duquesne.

He was only a ninth grader but received a warm welcome from the Dukes’ staff, met assistant Scott Farison and kept in touch with the linebackers coach in the years since.

“It was all positive energy,” Givens said.

When Duquesne offered him a scholarship this spring, that visit weighed heavily into his decision. The 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker committed to the Dukes on June 3.

“I thought long and hard about it,” said Givens, who’ll be a senior in the fall. “I had talks with my coach and my family. We all came to an agreement: That’s the best place for me.”

He’d also drawn an FCS offer from William & Mary and others schools could’ve joined his list this summer, but college coaches won’t be able to visit with recruits until at least August.

Givens saw no reason to wait.

“With the pandemic going on, it made me decide a little bit quicker,” he said. “I’m comfortable with Duquesne. I feel like that’s where my home’s at.”

Sto-Rox coach LaRoi Johnson called Duquesne “a wonderful fit.” He compares Givens favorably to Jaylen Coleman, a former City League standout who played linebacker at Toledo.

“They’re thumpers,” said Johnson, who coached Coleman at Peabody and University Prep. “They’re downhill guys who know how to read gaps really well, get off of blocks and get to the football. … His first couple plays (in his video highlights), he’s taking the ball away from somebody and running 80 yards the other way.

“When he hits people, the ball comes loose.”

That physicality makes Givens stand out. He’s a natural fit at inside linebacker, but Johnson uses him in multiple spots.

“He can play anywhere in the front seven and be a really good player,” Johnson said. “He’s only played football for about five years, so he’s really just learning how to play.

“The potential from the mental side is so high,” he added. “On the physical side, he loves to work out. He loves to compete. He brings it every day at practice, and that’s what I love about him.”

Givens helped Sto-Rox go 11-2 last season and finish as the WPIAL Class A runner-up.

Duquesne went 6-5 last season in coach Jerry Schmitt’s 15th season.

“They’re getting an outstanding football player,” Johnson said. “He has so much room for growth. I know he’s going to be an outstanding player just from his work ethic.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at


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