Name: Joe DeLeone
School: Rhode Island
Q: What goals did you set and/or accomplish in your final collegiate season?
At the beginning of my final season, I felt I reached and proved a high level of consistency as a long snapper. My main goal the whole season was to improve my ability to cover punts and learn how to block. Playing in a spread punt scheme I was never asked to block, and that is a must for knowing how to do at the next level. All professional schemes require long snappers to block in some capacity. Every single day I had available time in practice, I repped snapping and transitioning to blocking. Originally it was very uncomfortable, but I’m at the point now where it feels very natural.
Q: What would your coaches and teammates say about the type of player you are?
A very hardworking and consistent player. Being a good long snapper required a lot of time spent repping the same movement over and over again until you reach that level of consistency. My goal every day was to go unnoticed because if no one remembers my snap, that means everything went perfectly. That’s always the expectation that the snap is right where it needs to be. I was able to do that day in and day out for multiple seasons as a starter.
Q: When you are studying film, what do you focus on to improve your game?
When I was in college I was looking for how I was coming off the ball and how I was handling contact from opposing players. When evaluating myself, I was always looking for what worked best so I could replicate that the next time I was covering a punt. Now that I’m perfecting my blocking, my big emphasis is the release of my snap. I’m looking closely at my hands to see if there is even pressure so the ball comes out straight with a tight spiral. I also look to see the release point for how high or low I’m releasing it. Overall I’m looking for various focus points in my technique that I can slightly adjust to make the next snap better. I also evaluate my blocking steps and transitioning a lot. Maintaining good leverage and quick feet is really key for being a great blocker.
Q: What separates you from the other pro prospects at your position?
The drive I have to keep playing this game. I absolutely love the game of football and will do anything to get another snap in a game. I love football so much that I intend to work in sports broadcasting when my football career is done. I will keep trying to get a shot for multiple years if I have to. I know for a fact not every prospect at my position will be as willing to put as much time and effort in over the next few years to keep playing.
Q: What is your offseason plan to train and prepare for professional opportunities?
I’m currently training at TEST in Martinsville, New Jersey. TEST is the best training program in the country for the NFL Combine and college pro days. I’m spending a total of around two months focusing on my training and nutrition to be in the best possible shape I can be for my pro day at URI.
Q: What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to a team that will stand out both on and off the field?
Intelligence and the ability to work effectively under pressure. I focused a lot on my academics at URI to the point I had the highest GPA on my team. I attribute this to my ability to learn things quickly and eagerness to learn more than what is just given me. As a player, I can pick up things quickly, and I can promise I will know the most out of anyone on a special teams unit. Additionally, as a long snapper, you can be thrown into high-pressure situations like game-winning field goals and punts with little time remaining. I’ve always maintained my composure in these situations and executed at a high level.
Q: What is your final pitch to the NFL or any other pro leagues?
I have the necessary demeanor and attitude to be a professional athlete. I will come in every single day ready to work and find ways to get better. I will focus on the little things because that is what leads to long term success. And I’ll be a great teammate because I hold others accountable and motivate others.