DeSmet to play football for George Fox University


Last updated 2/27/2024 at 10:34am

Photo by Rongi Yost

Outlaws football standout Justin DeSmet signed with George Fox University last week.

Senior Justin DeSmet signed an official letter of intent on Thursday, February 22, to play football for George Fox University (GFU) Bruins this coming fall. DeSmet was a key player for the Outlaws and will be an asset to the Bruins football squad.

DeSmet grew up in Dayton and lived there until he moved to Sisters as a junior. He told The Nugget he was a little apprehensive about how he'd fit in to a new environment, and a new school.

"Football was my main in," said DeSmet. "Everyone was great, welcomed me in, and made the change moving here easy."

Justin played running back on offense, and safety on defense during his two years as an Outlaw. In his senior year, DeSmet recorded 56 rushes for 478 yards, an average of 8.5, with three touchdowns in the five league games he played. (He missed one game due to injury), He also tallied 39 tackles, 13 assists, and had three interceptions.

DeSmet shared his thoughts of playing as an Outlaw. "As players, we played for each other and everybody brought a high work ethic at practice," said DeSmet. "Coach Gary Thorson did a great job of setting high goals for the team and made it clear we were here to be the best team we could be and not slack off."

Thorson said, "As a player, I would describe Justin as 'all in-every play' in both games and practice. He is also a student of the game and it shows on the field. He's a good example of hard work paying off. He had a big impact not only on our football program, but our school. His positive attitude and his tremendous work ethic rubs off on other people. He's going to a great school with a great football program and he'll fit right in."

DeSmet has always wanted to play at the next level, and checked out several colleges including Linfield, George Fox, Whitworth, Southern Oregon, and Eastern Oregon, and narrowed down his choices to George Fox and Linfield.

In January, DeSmet made an overnight visit to GFU. Even before his visit, the Bruins told him they'd saved a spot for him on the roster, so he knew they were interested in him joining the team. He stayed with players in the dorm and had a very positive experience.

He was able to attend a morning workout with the team and was impressed with what he saw.

"Players were running everywhere, working on speed and agility, and lifting and resistance work," said DeSmet. "You could see that their workouts would translate to practice. Everyone worked hard the whole time and no one slacked off."

"I really loved how organized the program was at George Fox," said DeSmet. "And the coaches made it apparent that their goal was to create good men with good morals, as well as good football players.

"Their team motto is TAPE (togetherness, attitude, perseverance, and effort) and that holds the team together," added DeSmet. "Those are all things I feel a person should live by and that made me even more interested in attending there."

The GFU Coach called DeSmet weekly after his visit, but he'd already had a Linfield visit arranged, and wanted to visit there before he made a final decision.

"They both have great programs, and it was hard for me to make a decision, but I felt like the culture at George Fox suited me better," said DeSmet. "I took a few days to really think about it and then called the George Fox coach and told him I wanted to commit."

DeSmet has been recruited as a defensive back, and is looking forward to the opportunity that lies ahead.

"I'm really excited," said DeSmet. "I love the sport and am excited to grow as a person, play at a higher level, and see what God has planned for me."


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