Our Diamond In The Rough section is designed to highlight skilled athletes who have the potential to play at the next level but who are flying under the radar. Today we will be highlighting Rob Pizzolato, John Curtis Christian School’s 5A 1st Team All-District Offensive Tackle.
Robert Pizzolato aka Big Rob
School: John Curtis Christian
Awards: 5A 1st Team All-District
Position 4th ranked OL in Louisiana
Offers: Southeastern Louisiana University, Lamar University,
When you first see Robert “Big Rob” Pizzolato, standing 6’4 290lbs, you think you know why he has the nickname “Big Rob,” but if you ask around, the name doesn’t come from his enormous stature. After talking to teammates and coaches you find out that the nickname actually comes from the way he comes up big in important games, from executing his blocking assignment creating running lanes to get the 1st down to giving his quarterback the extra second he needs to make the pass and move the sticks. Simply put, he’s known for making big plays in big games. Not only is Rob a leader on the field he also is a leader in the classroom with a solid 2.9 gpa with a 21 on the ACT Rob is a NCAA qualifier. Rob has spent countless hours perfecting his craft, working on technique and fundamentals, grinding in the weight room, being a leader on and off the field to become a Power 5 talent!
We recently had an opportunity to sit down with Rob to ask him a few questions about this upcoming season, his passion for the sport, and how it all began.
Q: At what age did you start playing football?
A: I started playing football when I was about 6 years old.
Q: What is one thing you want to accomplish during your high school football career?
A: I hope to be named to the 2019 1st Team All-State and win the 2019 Division 1 State Championship! That would be an amazing conclusion to my high school football career.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment in football this far?
A: My biggest accomplishment in football so far was when we won the 2018 Division 1 State Championship. It felt awesome to be part of such an amazing team.
Q: Has playing football ever helped with personal problems off the field?
A: Playing football has definitely helped me off the field. I am always facing different opponents, and football allows me to learn how to adjust and be flexible in my actions. I have learned that planning and execution off the field will lead to awesome results in my life.
Q: During your football career, have you had to overcome obstacles and difficulties?
A: There were a couple of times when I played with injuries and with a cast.
Q: What do you love most about football?
A: I love being with my friends, and it is so much fun to be part of a team. I have been playing football since I started school in the first grade, and I can’t imagine not going to practice and playing in games. The John Curtis football team feels like one big family, and we always have a good time on and off the field.
Q: Have there been times in the past where you felt like quitting? What motivated you to keep going?
A: I have never had thoughts of quitting football. I have a love for the sport, and I feel that I have always been involved with the right programs that not only encourage sportsmanship but a solid work ethic. There have been times when I was tired or injured and was not able to get out of bed as quickly as usual, but once I stepped foot on that field, everything just felt right! There is something about that little field, in River Ridge, that brings out the best in me!
Q: Do you consider football to be harder physically or mentally?
A: For me, it would have to be physically – I am always mentally ready to play. However, there are times when your body says otherwise. Our bodies are constantly being punished, on each and every play, during both practices and in games. That punishment takes a toll on the body, over time. Also, something as simple as a stomach bug can wreak havoc on your body, and you might not be at your physical peak. However, with strong mental fortitude, I feel that I can achieve anything!
Q: How do you handle wins and losses?
A: I have been very fortunate to be a part of teams that know the taste of victory, and it is awesome! However, I have been on the losing side of a few games, and the feeling is anything but awesome. I know that each team goes into a game with the same dreams and desires of victory, and when you get to the Championship game, everyone on the team must give 110% and beyond, in order to taste victory. Sometimes, a freak injury can change the entire complexion of the game in an instant, but I have learned that we win as a team and lose as a team – It is that simple.
Q: Who motivated you to start playing this football?
A: I have always been interested in football. My grandparents gave me a football before I was a year old, and I always had it in my hands. Once I became part of a football team, I knew that playing football is what I wanted to do. I was a pretty big kid and always played the line – I still do!
Q: In what ways do you show your leadership on and off the field?
A: I show leadership by giving 110% whether I am on, or off, the field. I am willing to put in the hours, before and after practice, to improve my skills, strength, and overall athletic abilities. I try motivate the younger team members to work harder each day to improve their skills so that they can be the best they can be. Also, I encourage other players to work harder to get that extra repetition, and I try to be there for my teammates at all times.
Q: Describe yourself in one word?
Q: How long did it take for you to realize you were above average at football?
A: For as long as I can remember, I have had a football in my hand. It just felt very natural for me to be on the football field. I first started playing football at about 6 years old. However, I had to play on an 8 & 9 year-old team because of my size. Although I was the youngest kid on the team, I played every play and both sides of the ball. I kind of knew at that young age, that I was above average because I could play with kids who were both older and more experienced.
Q: What can you work on to better yourself as a player and person?
A: As a player, I feel that I need to continue to develop my overall strength and athleticism. At the next level of play, the players are “The best of the best”, and the lineman are very strong. It is important for me to continue to train, both in season and during the off season, so that I will be able to be extremely competitive and help my team achieve success!
As a person, I feel that the most important thing for me to do is to help others. I have dreams of starting a nonprofit company that helps kids who don’t have anyone to mentor them. I want to give them opportunities to develop their academic, athletic and social skills.
Q: What NFL offensive lineman would you say your style resembles most?
A: Larry Allen
Q: What advice would you give a young athlete who wanted to play football?
A: I would tell them to give it everything they have because tomorrow is not guaranteed! I can remember when I played playground football, and we were about to play our final game for the championship (We won!!!) and the last thing the coach told us was that, for most of us, it would be the last time we ever stepped onto the football field. Those words made me realize how important it is to stay in the moment and focus on the tasks at hand. I would also tell young players how important it is to work hard and put in extra work after practice to develop their strength, skills, and overall athletic abilities so that they can be competitive and the best that they can be.