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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Zach Sammartino, OL, Dartmouth College

Zach Sammartino the huge offensive lineman from Dartmouth College recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds Jonathan Joyce.

Student-Athlete Profile:

  • Zach Sammartino
  • Dartmouth College
  • OL
  • 6’4”
  • 310lbs.
  • Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Twitter: @zsammartino1
  • Major: Religion

2019 Accolades & Statistics:

  • 2019 First Team All-Ivy.
  • 2019 New England Football Writers Division I All‐New England Team.
  • GP: 10
via Zach Sammartino (YouTube)

Your family has quite the athletic background (father Mark played football at Mercyhurst, uncle Paul played football at California University of Pennsylvania, great uncle Bruno is a WWE Hall of Famer). What did you learn from those men about becoming an athlete?

They taught me the power and importance of an unwavering work ethic. Anything that you skip or take a shortcut on will come back to haunt you later down the line. If you skip anything, the man you’re competing against just gained ground on you because you have to assume he put in the work that day and you just lost your edge. There is no substitute for hard work and dedication.

As an athlete, what is your motivation?

I always want to be better than the guy across from me. The satisfaction you attain from consistently beating someone every single rep, time after time, is hard to find anywhere else in life. Russ Grimm said, “there’s no greater feeling than moving a man from Point A to Point B, against his will,” and I could not agree more. I strive for that feeling every single play.

What defines success for you?

Exceeding the expectation set for you in any facet of life. For an offensive lineman, success is still being attached to your man when the whistle blows so that he is unable to have any impact on the play, every single snap of the game.

via @CgsSmall (Twitter)

What would your teammates say about the type of teammate you are?

My teammates say I was an extremely hard worker and a great mentor and motivator for the younger players. I play the game with a legal, but nasty edge every single snap. They would tell you that I led by example both on and off the field.

When did you fall in love with football?

I only started playing football in 9th grade and I wouldn’t say I fell in love with the game until my junior year of high school when things started clicking for me.

What do you do to calm the butterflies before a game?

I listen to music, pray, and close my eyes and envision me in the game.

via @zsammartino1 (Twitter)

Who is the toughest player you’ve competed against during your collegiate career?

Foye Oluokun who is on the Falcons or Daryle Banfield who spent time with the Bears.

Who is the best player in the NFL?

Aaron Donald

What is the best part about competition?

The satisfaction of dominating your opponent every snap as well as seeing all the hard work you and your teammates put in for years pay off after a win.

What is your team of choice on Madden, why?

Steelers. I’m from Pittsburgh. Need I say more?

Failure is inevitable in life. How do you handle situations that don’t go in your favor?

You can’t allow yourself to spiral downwards. Losing hurts but at the end of the day you have to figure out why you lost or played the way you did. After that you need to get your head on straight and make a plan to fix it so that mistake doesn’t happen again.

Is there a current/former NFL player that you model your game after?

I’m not sure I necessarily model my game after anyone but some people back home have told me I remind them of Bill Fralic.

Knowing what you do now, what would you go back and tell yourself as a High-School Freshman?

You are not going to be great from day one and you’re not going to see improvements overnight. It takes time and lots and lots of practice and repetition. Don’t get down on yourself right away and instead take the opportunity to grow and improve every day, and you’ll be amazed how far you can go.

What is your go-to restaurant near campus?

110 Grill.

What is playing in your headphones before a game?

Split by Tiesto.

When football is over, what will your legacy be?

I want to be known as the guy who overachieved in every situation and led by example both on and off the field. I want people to remember the attitude, toughness, and edge I played every single snap with.

Give me your elevator pitch to a Pro Football GM in 15 words or less. Why should we invest in you?

I’ve proven people wrong my whole life and always finished with the highest honors possible.

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