Joe Gaiter: What does football mean to you?
Vinnie Rizzo: Football means everything to me. It is the game that I have grown to love so much. I can’t see my life without it. I am very blessed that I got the opportunity to continue playing after high school.
Joe Gaiter: Where are you from and how was your childhood?
Vinnie Rizzo: I am from Manhasset, New York. It is on Long Island. I live about 30 minutes from New York City. My childhood was great. I had two loving parents and two awesome older siblings. You can’t ask for much more.
Joe Gaiter: When did you start playing football?
Vinnie Rizzo: I started playing football in 7th grade. I was one of the bigger kids at my school so my friends begged me to play. I had to beg my mother to play because she didn’t want me getting hurt and one day she finally gave in. Thank god she gave in!
Joe Gaiter: What is your motivation for playing football?
Vinnie Rizzo: My whole life I was told that I was too small or not good enough to play Division 1 football. Coming out of high school I was only 6’0” and 255 pounds. I had little interest from Division 2 and Division 3 schools. I went on to Nassau Community College where I was red shirted my first year. I trained hard and got bigger, faster and stronger. I became a two-year starter and an all conference center and signed to play at the University of Akron where I was a two-year starter. I was always motivated to prove wrong the people who doubted me.
Joe Gaiter: What will you miss most about playing at The University of Akron?
Vinnie Rizzo: I will defiantly miss my teammates. I was only at Akron for two years, but I made some lifelong friendships and memories here.
Joe Gaiter: How has the University of Akron changed your life?
Vinnie Rizzo: The University of Akron changed my life because it gave me the resources I needed to complete my degree. It also gave me the opportunity to play Division 1 football and the foundation to continue to the next level.
Joe Gaiter: You are a big man standing 6’2″ 305lbs. Is this your ideal size or would you like to get bigger?
Vinnie Rizzo: I think I can add another 5-10 pounds if I have to but I feel very comfortable at 305lbs.
Joe Gaiter: Are you prepared enough to be in be in the NFL?
Vinnie Rizzo: Nassau Community College and Akron have prepared me well for the NFL. From Nassau to Akron, I learned so much about the technique behind playing offensive line. I still have more to learn and can definitely improve on some aspects of my game.
Joe Gaiter: Do you have a backup plan if you don’t get drafted?
Vinnie Rizzo: If I don’t get drafted, I will keep working to get signed as a free agent. If football doesn’t work out for me, I will have my Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, which I will be receiving in the spring.
Joe Gaiter: What player in the NFL has your style of play?
Vinnie Rizzo: I would have to say Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins. He is just a nasty player and we both play with a lot of aggression.
Joe Gaiter: What are your biggest strengths on the field?
Vinnie Rizzo: One of my biggest strengths would be my physicality. I possess a good punch and I have good feet for someone my size.
Joe Gaiter: What are the keys to play your position on the field?
Vinnie Rizzo: Playing center you have to be a second quarterback out there. You have to recognize fronts and make all the right calls so the other four offensive linemen block the right guys. You have to be smart to learn a playbook inside and out. Most importantly you have to be a vocal leader.
Joe Gaiter: How do you plan on giving back to the community after you get drafted?
Vinnie Rizzo: I plan to help my Junior College (Nassau Community College) gain resources so they can have better facilities. That’s where it all started for me so I would love to give back to the school that molded me into the player I am today.
Joe Gaiter: How would your friends describe you off the field?
Vinnie Rizzo: My friends would probably say I am outgoing and that I am responsible. I have a big heart and am a big teddy bear off the field.
Joe Gaiter: When is your Pro Day and how are you preparing?
Vinnie Rizzo: My Pro Day is March 7th and I have been training hard since December with my Speed, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Dan Webb.
Joe Gaiter: Do you think your hard work will pay off?
Vinnie Rizzo: I think my hard work will pay off. I have been working my tail off and put in a lot of sweat and blood over the last five years. If it doesn’t work out, I have no regrets!
Joe Gaiter: What do you want your football legacy to be?
Vinnie Rizzo: I want people to realize that nothing is impossible. I never once listened to people’s opinions about my future. I worked hard to accomplish my dream of playing Division 1 football and hopefully my dream can continue into playing in the National Football League.
Joe Gaiter: Final Words and Shout outs?
Vinnie Rizzo: I want to thank my parents for always being there for me throughout my life and I want to thank my coaches at Nassau Community College and the University of Akron for molding me into the player and person I am today! Go Lions and Go Zips!