Dillon Salva | Merrimack College | Tight End, D-End
Tell us about your college career and what the recruiting process was like. Why did you choose Merrimack? Coming out of High School the recruiting process was amazing. I heard from SEC, ACC, American, and a few other big Time D1 teams and conferences. I ended up being a late qualifier and going to school close to home. I was playing only Basketball at Brookdale Community College when Merrimack offered me for football but to also play Basketball there as well which I did. I chose Merrimack out the 20 plus options I had coming out of Juco because they were one of the few that were offering both sports but what really did it for me was how genuine and honest the coaching staff and team was towards me on my visit. My head Coach Dan Curran also played 10 years in the NFL so I knew I was in good hands.
What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far? my biggest Accomplishment for my sport this far would be making it to Rookie mini camp and OTA’s with two different NFL Organizations. Competing at those and performing very well was really a highlight of my football career.
What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing at Merrimack? One of the most important things I learned from my coaching staff was how to mature and become a man throughout my football career with them. When you’re under the staffs guidance like that 7 days a week for a good part of each day they can have a huge impact on your life in many ways. I was blessed with all positivity from them and really grew as a man and player in my time at Merrimack.
What was your major and what are your plans if football didn’t work out? My major was Human Development. After football I plan on getting into sales and continue my personal training career as well. Fitness plays a huge part in my life so I’d like to stay close to that field as well.
What would your teammates say about you and your qualities? My teammates and I all had great relationships. My senior year I took every single practice snap and didn’t take a day off. I made sure that they all knew they could always depend on my availability as a player and positive influence mentally at all times. I love football more than anything, it’s the greatest game on earth. I always kept the environment lighthearted and enjoyable, positivity at all times on and off the field was a must for me. I take pride in knowing my work ethic on the field, Weight room, and film room are next to none.
What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it? I think my biggest challenge has just been getting pro organizations to take a legit shot on me. Coming from a small school has hurt me even though Merrimack was in one of the best D2 conferences in the country and has now moved up to D1A in the NEC I still feel playing at a small school was held against me. I managed it by going out and having one of the best overall pro days in the country at the Tight End position. I can only control the product I put out there but it’d be really nice to see a team believe in me and offer me a contract this upcoming season.
What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you? My biggest strengths at the Tight End and D-End positions are my size, strength, speed, and overall athleticism. At 6’5 250 I jumped a 38 1/2 Vert, 10’2 broad, 28 bench reps, lowest 40 4.66. For me all of this carries over to the field. I dominated defenders in the run game putting them on their backs the majority of the time. In the pass game although my college stats don’t show it even though I lead the NE-10 my Senior year in yards for Tight Ends I was open a lot beating my defenders deep and creating space in the short game. As a defensive End there’s not an O-linemen in any league that’s going to blow me up off the ball. Ten times out of ten I’m standing them up at the line of scrimmage in the run game and creating space to shed them. In the pass game I know I can apply pressure on the Qb nearly every play.
Who is or has been the most influential person in your life? The most influential person in my life has been my dad. He’s been my coach in sports since the 3rd grade. He also played Tight End and D-End at the Division One level. My dads my bestfriend and he’s always been Behind me guiding me through life and putting me in the best position to succeed. I can’t explain how much of an impact he has on my life.
Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back”/”pay it forward” in your community? Growing up for years I always coached Buddy Ball. It’s a program in my town back home where I helped out kids with special needs in sports. That was always one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things I’ve done in my life to this day.
How are you preparing for the 2019 National Scouting Combine and what were your expectations? I’m preparing for the National Scouting Combine by training at Exceed. My trainers Shane and Sean there are the two best combine prep trainers in the country. These guys are like technicians when it comes to technique for all of the combine drills. Monday-Friday they have us training for 3 hours a day at least. We cover all the combine drills, necessary lifts, supplements, and meal prep. I’ll be more than ready for the combine thanks to them. My expectations are to beat all my combine numbers from last year as well as set some records of my own at the combine this year.
What would be your ultimate achievement? My ultimate achievement is to make a final roster and play in every game for a team this season.