JD Gieson plays with competitive fire

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JD Gieson plays with competitive fire

While he might lack ideal size, JD Gieson makes up for the alleged disadvantage with a dogged work ethic and intense competitive fire that makes him a viable candidate to be playing quarterback at the collegiate level. “I’m very determined,” Gieson said. “I have been since I was little. And I’ve always been competitive. I hate to lose, even in my gym class.”

While he stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 160 pounds, don’t be fooled. Gieson is a player. This past season, the junior started his second year as the varsity quarterback for Dixon High School in Illinois and passed for 1,481 yards while gaining another 455 rushing the football.

“We run a triple-option offense, spread and pistol, and some hurry-up here and there,” Gieson said. “It definitely suits my strengths. I’m not much of a pocket passer; I kind of like to run and get out on the edge and make plays and I can throw out there as well.”

All-time passing leader

In two seasons as the Dukes’ starting QB, Gieson is already the school’s all-time passing leader with 2,807 yards. Dustin Bock, who graduated in 2001 and currently serves as Dixon’s quarterback coach, was the previous leader with 2,429 yards.

“When you have the height disadvantage, you have to be able to use your other abilities to get around that,” said Gieson, who is also highly successful in the classroom with a 3.78 GPA. “You can’t be the normal pocket passer as much where you just stand around looking over the linemen because you can’t really see over the linemen all the time. You have to get out and make plays. In my situation, I’m another athlete who can actually throw the ball and run the ball.”

Not only does he have 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, Gieson holds the freshman and sophomore school records at Dixon for fastest times in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. “I actually use my speed to just evade defenders,” he said. “We have set plays and a lot of times I can get away from people and run around and extend the play, get the ball down the field or find the gap, hit the hole and just take off. We didn’t really have a running game my sophomore year. We picked up our running game a lot this past year and I was a pretty big part of that.”

Gieson is preparing for his senior season with the Dukes, and he’s attending NFA’s OSD camp in Indianapolis this weekend. “NFA’s been great,” Gieson said. “I go there to obviously get better in my technique and form and learn how to throw a little bit better. I know I can run the ball, I know I can catch the ball, but there’s always room for improvement throwing. That’s another step I need to improve my game and NFA has been a really big help.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University

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