Lyons Nick Demes choses Penn

It makes sense that food would be a factor on where Lyons’ biggest football player would choose to play in college.

“The cheesesteaks are definitely a plus,” Nick Demes said of Philadelphia’s culinary specialty.

With a class rank of 15 out of nearly 970 students, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Demes verbally committed last month to play for the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy League.

When he isn’t blocking for quarterback Zach Mahoney or trying to rush an opposing passer, Demes is likely studying. He has four Advanced Placement classes this semester in English, Macro Economics, Chemistry and Physics.

“I always wanted to go to a school that has good academics,” said Demes, a Western Springs resident. “Penn is Division I and I will get to play in the Ivy League, which is competitive.”

He also considered other Ivy League schools and colleges in the Patriot League. He hopes to study engineering or business and finance at Penn.

Demes is one of two two-way players for Lyons, along with Northwestern-bound wide receiver and defensive back Matthew Harris, who made his verbal commitment in July. Both Harris and Demes said they wanted to get their recruiting period over before the high school season began.

Demes has not made an official visit to Penn yet, but went to the school’s summer camp in July. Penn recruiters asked Demes if he would like to play for the Quakers in mid-June.

“I did not want to rush by making a decision early. I wanted to get the decision done. I couldn’t see myself anywhere other than Penn,” said Demes, who added that Penn had the best facilities of any Ivy League school he visited.

Lyons (1-1) opens West Suburban Silver play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at No. 3 Glenbard West (2-0), the defending conference champion.

Demes will get to play one season at Penn with former Lyons wide receiver Ryan Mitchell, a 2010 graduate from La Grange Park. Mitchell’s younger brother, Jimmy, is one of Lyons’ top players this season as a 6-2, 250-pound senior defensive lineman. Jimmy has yet to make a college decision, according to Demes.

Tom Mitchell, the father of Ryan and Jimmy, is an assistant coach on Lyons’ varsity staff under head coach Kurt Weinberg.

“It will be cool knowing Ryan [at Penn],” Demes said. “We have more of a connection.”

One other Western Springs resident currently playing at Penn is former Fenwick linebacker Jack Stibich, who is in his freshman year and is enrolled at Penn’s Wharton School of Business.

There are several Chicago area products on Penn’s current roster, but one West Suburban Conference alum is former Glenbard West defensive back Mike Laning.

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