Eric Orlandi | University of Cincinnati | Rugby: Lock | Football: DL
Q: Tell us about your college (or pro) career and what the recruiting/scouting process was like. Why did you choose Cincinnati?
A: I chose the University of Cincinnati to pursue a career in nursing. I loved the school culture, the classes, and the architecture. I was recruited to play rugby for UC by friends that already were playing on the team, and those were the same friends that I continued to play with at the Semi-pro level for the Cincinnati Wolfhounds Rugby Football Club.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: My biggest accomplishment would be beating a nationally ranked opponent in Bowling Green my senior year, and being invited to the ACRC Bowl Series in North Carolina.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing at Cincinnati?
A: To trust yourself and your team. You practice for a reason. You push yourself in drills and conditioning to be ready. Your team does the same. When you are in a scrum, and you’re tired and sore, you look to your teammates and trust in them to make a play happen, to keep driving forward.
Q: How was your career impacted due to the 2020 pandemic and what have you learned from the adversity?
A: 2020 made everything I was working for even more uncertain. It put everything on hold, just as did for so many others. I was furloughed at my job, I couldn’t train the way that I used to, and I lost out on the opportunity to try out in Canada when their season was canceled. I had to learn how to pick myself up, persevere through disappointment, and come out on the other side the best version of myself that I could build given the circumstances. I have learned to be patient and resilient.
I am strong physically and mentally driven. I learn quickly and devour lesson plans. I am mature and disciplined in everything I do. The minute you place a playbook in my hands, I will learn it from front to back. I work well with a team and genuinely enjoy helping people in any way that I can.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: When I graduated, my major was Health Education: Exercise and Fitness. I currently have a full time job, working as a travel nurse recruiter. I will continue doing that and potentially go back to school to help myself pursue something that I enjoy as much as I enjoy playing sports.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: I think that they would say that I am a hard worker, and always there for the team. If people need rides to practice, or a little gas money I try to help out my teammates and pick them up where I can. In the game I am aggressive and relentless going after the ball carrier. I don’t let anyone get in my way of getting the job done.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: During my senior season, I scored my ﬁrst “try” during a match against OU. Being in my position, you tend to be used as a bruiser and don’t get a lot of touches on the ball. When I got my chance, I took full advantage of it and it was awesome.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: My biggest challenge has been ﬁnancially trying to get to this point. I work full time, and while that pays much of what I need in order to train and prepare my body for football and this combine, it hasn’t always been enough.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: I would say Calais Campbell or Deforest Buckner. My size is similar to both and I relate to the way that they have to manipulate their bodies to make themselves smaller to the defense, while staying on the attack and explosive.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: I am strong physically and mentally driven. I learn quickly and devour lesson plans. I am mature and disciplined in everything I do. The minute you place a playbook in my hands, I will learn it from front to back. I work well with a team and genuinely enjoy helping people in any way that I can.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back” or ”pay it forward” in your community?
A: I have been unable to mentor in recent years due to my work schedule, but I would love to increase my charitable time commitments to helping whatever community that I’m placed into.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2021 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I have spent the last year gaining as much strength as I can working with Cliff Lane at BEAT Personal training. I have also spent a month working with Ignition APG in Northern Kentucky to make sure that my drills, body, and mind are ready to perform at the combine. My goals are to match or beat numbers laid down by last year’s combine invitees, to turn heads, and to make contacts.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: To be noticed and picked up by an NFL team. To do something I love, while supporting my family in a way that I previously never would have imagined. If I could do that, then maybe I could inspire and assist others in believing in themselves and chasing after their dreams like I did.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: I enjoy reading, lifting, cooking, and expanding my record collection.
Q: If you could make a positive impact on all of society what would it be and why?
A: I would like to help fund research into diseases for which there is no cure. I would most like to cure Alzheimer’s. I don’t think that people should die not knowing their own loved ones, for families to be forgotten. I’d like to be a part of bringing hope to those affected by this disease.
Q: Who is or has been the most inﬂuential person in your life?
A: There are two. The ﬁrst is my father who introduced me to sports. I am forever grateful to him for giving me the gifts that I possess physically and mentally when it comes to athletics. The second is my ﬁancé Claire. She gave me the courage to pursue my dreams and come to this combine. She is relentless in following her dreams and has inspired me to be the same.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would ﬁnd interesting?
A: I enjoy listening to and going to operas.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: To play multiple seasons in the NFL is my ultimate dream. However, being able to play for any team would still be a dream come true.