December 3, 2022

Diamond in the Rough: Sam DeTillio

Photo given to me by Sam DeTillio.

Sam DeTillio is a class of 2023 quarterback out of Avon High School in Avon, Ohio. Standing at 5’11″ and weighing 185 pounds with a 4.3 GPA, the senior has a 4.8 40-yard dash time, can bench 255 pounds, and can squat 375 pounds. DeTillio has been described as one of the best QB’s around, and as smart as can be at the position too. Earlier this week, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with DeTillio.

Q: Why do you play the game?
“I started playing football in the fourth grade when I joined the Avon Youth Football program. I play the game because I feel it gives me a sense of purpose and direction in my day to day life. It also serves as a tool in my life to surround me with other like-minded students and high achievers. I love working as a team to reach a common goal and the relationships that form from this game.”

Q: Where do you see football going in your life?
“Discipline is the biggest lesson that football has taught me. The Avon football program is very demanding between long and early practice times, strict diet, lifting throughout the season, and extra film sessions. Balancing my school, social, and football life has made me into a better leader and built my multitasking skills.”

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned playing football?
“Discipline is the biggest lesson that football has taught me. The Avon football program is very demanding between long and early practice times, strict diet, lifting throughout the season, and extra film sessions. Balancing my school, social, and football life has made me into a better leader and built my multitasking skills.”

Q: What does football mean to you?
“Football is more than a game to me. It is a catalyst for self growth that will give you life long relationships and memories on the way.”

Q: What challenges have you overcome?
“The tallest challenge that I have had to overcome is not being the most physically gifted player. I have had to work hard for my strength and speed, whereas it is natural to some people. I have had to put more time and effort into the weight room, my diet, and fine tuning my skills at quarterback, so that when I go against a defense with multiple D1 athletes who tower over me, outlift me, and can run faster than me, I am able to compete. I am able to play the game of football smarter, not harder. By this, I mean that I will mentally confuse the defense instead of trying to physically attack them head on.”

Q: What motivates you to keep playing, despite those challenges?
“My teammates motivate me to show up everyday and get better. I would not be in the position I am now without them. They support me when I am not playing my best and compliment me when I play well. They hold me accountable and force me to be the best version of myself, on and off the field.”

Q: How do you balance sports with your other responsibilities?
“Being very involved in extracurriculars on top of school has caused me to develop time management skills. I plan out my days to make sure that I don’t waste any time and I know what I need to get done on that day.”

Q: Do you have a favorite football memory?
“My favorite football memory is winning the regional championship last year. It was a very close and hard-fought game against a talented Toledo Central Catholic team. The game went into overtime and they scored first, putting the pressure on our offense. They got to us on fourth down where we made a thrilling first-down conversion that led to the score on the next play. We then went for two and converted on a reverse to end the game 43-42.”

Q: How do you stay trained and in football-shape during the offseason?
“We lift year round as a team. After last season we were given a week off, then it was time to get back at it in the weight room. A lot of student athletes at Avon High School take a class during the school day called ‘speed strength,’ where we lift four days a week and learn about nutrition and recovery on the remaining day. We also had speed training twice a week throughout the winter. Outside of all this, I would go to a training facility to work on QB-specific drills, as well as working on routes to continue to build chemistry with my receivers.”

Q: How are you looking to improve your game?
“I am looking to improve my speed outside of the pocket as well as working on using different arm angles, depending on the type of throw.”

Q: On the other side, what is the strongest aspect of your game?
“I believe my ability to manage the offense, stay calm no matter the circumstances, read the defense, move in the pocket, and extend plays are the strongest parts of my game.”

Q: Do you try to model your game after any players, pro or collegiate?
“I love to watch Josh Allen, and I feel that our play style is very similar. We are not the fastest or most athletic, but being quick and shifty allows us to make plays with our legs.”

Q: What are some goals you’ve set for yourself?
“Some of my personal goals are to be first team all-state as well as the Golden Helmet winner. A more so team goal is to win a conference championship for the seventh year in a row, regional championship for the sixth year in a row, and win a state championship for the first time in school history.”

Q: What is your favorite part of playing quarterback?
“I enjoy the mental aspect of playing quarterback. You have to know every role on the offense, as well as what the defense is doing. There is more pressure, but also more opportunities to show out. And I like to perform.”

Q: Do you consider football to be more physically challenging, mentally challenging, or a bit of both?
“I think at the quarterback position, it is a more mentally challenging position. You are put in situations where you must make split-second decisions, and if you choose wrong, it could drastically change the outcome of the play. [Maybe even] the game.”

Q: What is something you want your coaches to know about you, past, present, or future?
“I am my hardest critic, but I shine when outside pressure is applied.”

You can view his highlights here.




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