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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Dom Maggio, P, Wake Forest University

Dom Maggio the strong legged punter from Wake Forest University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Dom Maggio
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 195
  • Position: Punter
  • College: Wake Forest University
  • Twitter: @__Maggio

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

• My family and I moved around Maryland a few times but I spent most of my childhood in a small town called Parkton just south of the PA border and commuted to my high school in Baltimore. Maryland makes me think of all my family and all the time we spent together which makes it a special place for me. It’s always crazy to go back home and train on the same fields that I played on growing up to appreciate how far I’ve come and all the people that have helped me get here. 

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

• Practice, film study, strength and conditioning. I love the weight room but feel that the most important to my position is practicing perfect reps as often as I can to build muscle memory. After practice, I’ll spend a ton of time breaking down my own film to clean up everything and gain confidence in being able to know what to fix and how to fix it whenever I mishit a ball. I’ll also watch NFL guys’ film to pick up anything I can from them, usually about what they do situationally during a game. The strength and conditioning side is huge too for becoming a powerful athlete and staying healthy throughout the year.

What do you worry about, and why?

• My faith tries to free me from worry but can’t help but to worry about my family and loved ones- I want them to always be happy and healthy. 

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

• I failed to take everything in early on in my career. I was just as focused as I am now, but I realized I never took time to step back and take everything in. I worked towards the end of my career to be as driven as ever but to do so with a positive light to everything. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• I love my teammates at Wake- we’ve had a really fun four years together. I think the guys respect my work ethic. They see me as a football player that happens to punt, not a punter trying to play football. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

• I’ve seen a lot of good athletes back at punt returner throughout my career at Wake- guys we had to try to keep the ball away from. But even though I never played on the field at the same time as him, Lamar Jackson was freaky athletic. Our defense played well but he’s definitely more fun to watch when you’re not playing against him.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football?

• Baseball was my first love- played all the way through high school. Definitely would have pursued that sport if football wasn’t an option. For life after sports, I hope to work in the health care industry. That became clear to me after being able to visit a couple children hospitals throughout my career and see the impact these healthcare professionals have on these young lives.

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

• Room. Like to keep everything clean and organized but always start my day by making my bed.

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

• I would do my best to save everyone but would have to save my one family member. If not, it would be an awkward reunion in heaven. But in all seriousness, I hold family over everything even though I’d have a hard time living with that decision. 

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

• Will Smith plays Chris Gardner in “The Pursuit of Happyness”. Despite being homeless, he never gives up for the sake of his son and outworks everyone until he becomes successful. Super inspirational.

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?

• Working through an injury early on in my career brought me closer to God. I was able to take a step back and realize through Him how blessed I am and to never take those blessings for granted. In this way, I now try to “consider it pure joy” when I face any kind of trial because I know it’s God making me whole and complete. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• Don’t know about most embarrassing but in one of my first classes at Wake, my lab professor was telling me a story about how he would fly back and forth to Arizona a lot for work and would see a lot of celebrities. He said the craziest was when he got to sit next to Randy Johnson (former MLB pitcher). I thought he was talking about American Idol judge Randy Jackson so I go “Oh that’s tight dawg!” in front of the whole class trying to impersonate Randy Jackson. The worst part is he didn’t even correct me. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• The most memorable was probably the second punt of my career. I had to make a one handed catch over my head in the back of our own endzone and get it off. Love having to make plays as a punter or holder on snaps since I rarely get the chance. Felt like it was my welcome to college football moment. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Till I Collapse by Eminem. I’m never content with where I am. I’ll keep working until I can’t anymore.

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level?

• I’ve found more and more that an athlete’s mind is the most important. A ton of guys work hard and have the talent but it seems the most successful ones truly believe in their ability and are confident enough to perform no matter the circumstances because of their focus/positivity/etc.

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

• Jesus. Would be crazy to see what God’s image looks like on Earth and the example he would set for us. 

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it?

• Something like the Haunted House… Every time I dance, people get scared. 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

• Don’t have anyone in particular. Would love to see my Wake guys like Greg Dortch, John Wolford, and Phil Haynes get a lot of attention in the coming years. Looks like Pat McAfee is doing a heck of a job getting some of the underrated special teams guys in the League some love too.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• I’d rather be respected. Not everyone is going to like you but you can always give them a reason to respect you. I’d like to think if you don’t like my personality, then at least you have to respect how I carry myself with my character and my actions.

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

• I couldn’t name anyone in particular. However, my teammate Steven Claude left the Wake Forest program and gave up his scholarship to go home to take care of his sick mom. He eventually made it back to Wake and had a heck of a finish to his career despite all of that adversity. I have a ton of respect for him. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I hate to lose. As a competitor, I want to be the best version of myself and losing usually indicates that I wasn’t. I’ll use a loss as motivation to make sure I do everything I can to take advantage of every opportunity. Looking back, I’m thankful for both because of the moments I’ve shared with my teammates and how I’ve grown through all of those ups and downs.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

• My parents have been the biggest influence on my life. They have made countless sacrifices for me and my sister and have always made us the priority. I am so beyond grateful to have two people that have taught me love and selflessness and work ethic, all by their own example. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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