HIGH SCHOOL—He earned PrepStar All-Central Region honors at offensive guard as a senior, when SuperPrep selected him Preseason All-Midlands (ranking him the No. 37 player overall and the No. 10 offensive lineman) and the Denver Post naming him to its 5A All-State team. He earned first-team All-5A Super 6 League honors as both a junior and senior. He played a significant role in Columbine’s powerful running game, blocking for backs who ran for 3,489 yards (317.2 per game) his senior year and an incredible 5,008 yards (357.7 ypg) as a junior, leading Columbine to the state title. A play specifically designed for him was simply called “99,” where he would pull to the outside and level the linebacker and/or safety to clear the path for the quarterback or tailback, with Columbine scoring at least 10 touchdowns his junior and senior seasons on the play. He did not allow a quarterback sack or a pressure either year, and was called for only one penalty (illegal procedure), something he took great pride in as he felt it was a testimony to his discipline. He played end on defense, with 32 tackles (12 solo) and four quarterback hurries as a senior, to go with 28 tackles (10 solo) with two sacks, four hurries, one forced fumble and a pass broken up his junior year. His prep career high in tackles were six on two occasions: as a senior in a 38-15 win over Chatfield, he had two solo, one for a loss, and four assists, and as a junior in a 38-20 win over Bear Creek, he also had two solo, one for a quarterback sack, four assists and two hurries. He was a reserve defensive end as a sophomore, recording five tackles (two solo, with one a sack). Under Coach Andy Lowry, Columbine was 14-0 his junior season, winning the Colorado 5A state championship and the 5A Super 6 League crown; CHS was 7-4 his senior season and 9-2 his sophomore campaign. He has lettered twice in lacrosse, and plans to earn a third letter this spring (he’s a defender). He missed his entire sophomore season (and summer football workouts) after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome (compression between the clavicle and the first rib, requiring the latter to be removed). But he worked hard at rehabilitation and returned in time to play to play an important part in Columbine’s 2011 football title run.
ACADEMICS—He is undecided on his major at Colorado, but is interested in Business. An Honor Roll member throughout high school, he owns a 3.5 grade point average and was named to the state’s All-Academic Team.
PERSONAL—He was born June 16, 1995 in Salem, Mass. His hobbies include playing most sports, especially basketball (he grew up also playing ice hockey and baseball), playing chess and traveling, especially into Colorado’s high country where he loves to hike; he is also heavily involved in church activities. His father (John Sr.) played football at William & Mary (punter/tight end), but was on the national stage as a 12-year old: he won the NFL’s Punt, Pass & Kick competition at Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium in Houston (where Miami beat Minnesota, 24-7). With his lacrosse teammates, he participated in Meals on Wheels, delivering food to the needy. Plans as of now are for him to grayshirt and enroll at CU in January 2014.
(Last name is pronounced lih-sell-uh)