Growing up in Baltimore, Gophers defensive end Winston DeLattiboudere considered himself more of a college football fan than a Maryland fan.
His father, Winston, had played offensive tackle for Bowie State. And when the Baltimore Sun named the younger DeLattiboudere its 2014 All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year, he just wanted a chance to play Division I.
His offer list wasn’t extensive: Idaho, Buffalo, Rhode Island.
“Maryland actually was about to offer me a walk-on scholarship, but that didn’t happen,” he said. “Rutgers showed interest, but Minnesota — those were the big dogs. They trusted me, they believed in me, so I love them for that.”
DeLattiboudere (day-LOT-uh-boe-deer) was young for his grade. His birth date was Jan. 21, 1998, so he actually played his entire senior season for Howard High School at age 16. He was 6-3 but weighed only about 200 pounds.
The Gophers took a chance, adding him to their 2015 recruiting class. He redshirted last season and is up to about 240 pounds. Now he’s starting at defensive end.
“He’s gotten stronger, but he’s got a great motor,” coach Tracy Claeys said. “I mean, he plays hard all the time, and it kind of fits his personality. He’s always on the go. But you can win a lot of games with D-linemen that just have great motors and play hard all the time.”
On Saturday, DeLattiboudere will get a chance to show that motor to Maryland.
“This is a huge moment for me,” he said. “I’ve had it on my calendar since I signed.”