Name: Danny Guadagnoli
College: Bentley University
Years Played: 5
Major: Undergrad: Economics-Finance Graduate: Finance
Highlight film link: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/881332/highlights/208600378
· Recipient of Agannis/Zinman for the outstanding college football senior in New England among all divisions
· Recipient of Swede Nelson Award for outstanding achievement in athletics, academics, and sportsmanship
· Two-time nominee for National All-State Good Works Team for community service contributions
· All-Region and All-New England selection
· Two-time Academic All-conference
· Offensive Player of the Year in NE-Ten Conference
· Broke single season school record in passing yards in 2013 (3,310) and again in 2014 (3,438) with two different offenses and a new coaching staff
· 9,170 career passing yards and 69 passing touchdowns
· Started 32 straight games without missing a single play
What was the most important thing you learned during your career?
During my college career I learned the value of a relentless, passionate work-ethic in the face of failure and uncertainty. Coming out of high school I was disappointed with my college options; not receiving a D1 scholarship was a bitter pill to swallow. The challenges continued as a true freshman and sophomore at Bentley, where I wasn’t getting on the field and wondered if my dreams would ever materialize. I didn’t get down or doubt myself. Instead, I focused on making myself the best I could be every single day, every moment, both on and off the field. I made the promise to myself to demand constant progression regardless of the circumstances and to live in the moment. Good things inevitably happened. I was able to become a leader in my community, excel academically, and have a successful football career. This mindset of investing in myself and my team every day with my greatest effort and focus was the key. This is my approach to every facet of my life, and it is what I will bring to my professional career and the organization I become a part of.
What qualities do you possess that makes you a candidate for a professional contract?
Intelligence and sound decision making: I was a Magna Cum Laude graduate in my undergraduate studies (3.74 GPA) and played this past season while pursuing a Master’s degree in Finance. I balanced the heavy academic workload while striving to be the best player I could be, often times staying up late at night watching film and studying plays. I believe I am highly intelligent as a player and understand how to use this to my advantage on the football field. I prepare relentlessly, make quick and detailed pre-snap reads, and make fast decisions in the pocket while under pressure. I also take pride in managing the game and minimizing turnovers. I value the football and cherish every single play, understanding the game situation and when it is time to take a shot or make a play.
Experience running a pro-style offense: This past season, as a new coaching staff came into to our program, I transitioned from a Spread/Zone-Read offense to a Pro-style offense and was able to run it smoothly within weeks of being exposed to it. My coaches urged me to change the play at any point, and often I was given two to three plays to choose from at the line. I normally determined where our runs went and frequently audibled the play or protection to put our offense in a sound play. For example, in our 2 x 2 five step protection scheme I would normally simulate a snap to see who was likely blitzing and check safety movement. At that point I would either change the protection, re-Mike to give our line a better chance to protect, or possibly change the entire play depending upon what I see. If Mike and Sam appear to be coming, I know I am hot immediately to the tight end. This is just an example, but I believe my work ethic and attention to detail in running an offense will enable me to pick up on things quickly and adapt to any new offense, just as I did before my senior year. I am familiar with the verbiage and I am comfortable identifying fronts, coverages, blitzes, and hot reads. I love this aspect of the game and have continued studying throughout this winter as to constantly improve my understanding of the game. I am eager to continue learning the ins and outs of the pro game, and I recognize that you can never study or prepare enough. The QB position is special in that regard, and I strive to make myself the smartest most prepared QB out there.
Accuracy and timing with the football: On every play there are small open windows that the ball needs to get to at the exact right time, and I pride myself on putting it where it needs to be when it needs to be there. Anticipation, timing, and accuracy with the football are aspects of the game I am constantly working on and consider a strength of mine, both on quick passes, intermediate passes, and balls down the field.
Competitiveness, toughness, composure, leadership: These intangibles are prerequisites to becoming a successful QB at the next level. They are traits I take seriously and always hold myself to. I have started 32 straight games in college (without missing a play) and left everything had on the field in every single one. I play with passion, intensity, love for my teammates, and a relentless desire to win, always. Losing is something I do not accept, and I will my teammates to do the same.
Understanding how to manipulate a defense with the eyes: I try to always be cognizant of my eyes and use them to my advantage. Even on plays when a pre-snap read gives away an easy completion, I take the next step to keep my eyes away as long as possible or to move a backer/safety with a glance in the other direction. For instance, something as simple as a curl-flat route combo can easily become open by using the eyes to deceive the curl/flat defender.
Pocket presence and movement while keeping my eyes down field: I prefer to make plays from within the pocket with my arm, and so I make a concerted effort to always keep my eyes down field with my arm cocked for a quick release. I can buy time with a quick movement in the pocket or manipulate the space in order to extend the play and for routes to develop downfield.
The ability to make plays on my feet and outside the pocket when plays break down: If the pocket breaks down, I have the ability to make people miss and to create a positive play with my feet. I love the physicality and I enjoy getting yards with my feet when my team needs it.
What motivates you on and off the field?
What motivates me in life is pursuing my passions and being the best person I can be— for my teammates, my coaches, my family, and everyone I come into contact with. I strive for greatness in everything I do and, ultimately, I want those around me to experience success and happiness as well. In football, I play for my team and to be the best version of myself every day so we can reach our goals as a team.
What is or are some challenges you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
This season was my greatest challenge because I had such high hopes going in that were quickly shot down, as we started the season very slow. Prior to the season, I had decided to come back for my fifth year, and felt our team was poised to have a phenomenal season. We had just got a new coaching staff, and I had to adapt to a completely new offensive scheme. To our disappointment and disgust, we ended up losing 5 of our first six games all by less than one score, and all coming down to the last play. It was the most frustrating stretch I have ever experienced in sports. Although we wouldn’t make the playoffs and realize our goals, the relentless desire to win and the love for the game never dwindled. I became even hungrier and pushed my teammates harder. I made sure to encourage guys and to stay positive literally every day, to love practice. It was a challenge that myself and my teammates embraced head on, and we stuck together. We ended up finishing the season winning 4 of 5. I was so proud of the players and coaches. We stuck together in the face of adversity and didn’t think of quitting for a second.
What are some of the contributions you made to your previous program? What about the local community?
I have been blessed with incredible opportunities in my career to develop as a player, student, and as a person. As I have evolved into a leader in our program and on Bentley’s campus, I have made it my focus to lead the way for younger student-athletes and truly honor this role each day. Out of gratitude, I give back every day by contributing my greatest effort and unconditional kindness to everyone I come into contact with. This goes for my teammates and coaches especially, who I play for every day with passion and love for the game. I hope that I have helped instill these values into our program and demonstrated the power of an honest and unwavering approach to doing things the right way, doing your best, and valuing the team above all. More important than the wins and the stats, this standard of selflessness has been part of my contribution to Bentley football and the community. In my time at Bentley I also led a Team Impact initiative (community service organization) with our team for two young kids suffering from serious health issues. This has become such an important part of our program. Now, it has been close to three years that I have been involved with this family as a Team Impact Leader, and our program has since continued with further community outreach.
What is your best asset as an athlete and why will it make you successful at the next level?
My best asset as an athlete is having a balanced QB skill-set coupled with a high football IQ and the ability to gain a mental edge over my opponents. I use my brain to my advantage in many ways, but it starts with my approach to the game and the quarterback position (detailed, relentless, competitive, and levelheaded). I pride myself on maintaining a composed demeanor and am able to hone my focus and outsmart the defense in the game’s biggest moments. I feed off the competition and enjoy putting my team on my back and making the huge throws when needed most. I also love learning in the film room and finding a defense’s weaknesses going into a game. My preparation has always helped me gain an advantage in my pre-snap reads and allows the game to slow down in the tensest moments. Simply put, I take every measure possible to give myself the mental edge, from my preparation, to the intangibles and psychology of the position, to the competitive drive that takes over when my team needs me. I absolutely love the mental side of the game.