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Joe’s Journey: Long-snapper Joe DeLeone taking his shot at a pro football career

Follow along my journey as a small school prospect

Anthony Garro @anthonygarro35
Punt snap from my senior season at URI against Maine

As many of you may know as followers of Big Blue View, I was a college long snapper at the University of Rhode Island. I spent four seasons as a starter for the Rams, playing in 39 career games since my freshman year. My eligibility is gone, leaving me with no more guaranteed snaps of football in my future.

Being an athlete that isn’t really recognized by talent evaluators is complicated. If you’re talented at your position, you’ll be courted by agents, scouts, and athletic facilities during your pre-draft process. The interest is clear, and opportunity is close.

However for me, I don’t have that interest and notoriety. I’m a bit undersized for the NFL mold of long snappers and went relatively unnoticed during my career. I definitely don’t fit the athletic profile of a professional athlete. All I have is a desire to keep playing and earn more snaps at the NFL or XFL level.

The end of my college career presented me with a decision. Do I begin my life after football and pursue my career in sports media? Or do I spend the next few years fighting an uphill battle to make it back on a football field? While I know my chances are minimal, I wasn’t willing to hang it up just yet.

Thanks to Ed, I will be chronicling this process over the next few months up until my pro day in March. I’ve already committed to training at TEST in Martinsville, which is the best training facility in the country for preparing football players for the next level. I’ve spent two summers training there during my college career, making this decision a no brainier. Them allowing me to train with the incredibly talented 2020 group is a huge opportunity.

My first step in the process is attending Collegiate Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, Tx. The Showcase is a week-long evaluation event broken up into multiple groups that perform drills in front of scouts. Instead of a full all-star game like to the Senior Bowl, it’s drill and position group specific. It also includes seminars and meetings with scouts. Players that attend can range from Slippery Rock all the way to Minnesota.

The group I’m participating in is specific to specialists. There will be a handful of kickers, punters, and long snappers participating with me. While other groups are in full contact drills, every drill I will be doing will only require a helmet.

I’m not sure entirely what to expect from the Showcase, or what kinds of drills I will be tested on. However, I am looking forward to seeing what the experience has in store.