It’s been just two years since Dominic Mammarelli put on shoulder pads for the first time. He’s had three receptions in his entire high school career.
Yet Mammarelli already is committed to one of college football’s historical powerhouse programs.
That’s because college coaches love potential. They also love size. And Mammarelli is dripping in both.
At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, the Naples (Fla.) High School junior tight end has the attributes that any coach will tell you can’t be taught. Mammarelli also has the genetics of a football player (his dad spent time in an NFL training camp) and the athleticism of a multisport athlete, which has college coaches willing to look past his inexperience.
Committed to Miami, Mammarelli is No. 5 on The Big 15, the countdown of the area’s top high school football recruits compiled by the Daily News and the Fort Myers News-Press.
“He’s so athletic, which is why he has offers all over the country,” Naples coach Bill Kramer said. “Colleges feel he’s a can’t-miss guy. For us the challenge is to maximize him – take all that athletic ability and get the most we can out of him.”
After just one varsity season, Mammarelli picked up nine Division I offers this past offseason. The first came from South Carolina in January. Now the big tight end counts Power Five schools Arkansas, LSU and Purdue among his nine offers.
Mammarelli had three receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown last season as a sophomore. He started at tight end, but the Golden Eagles don’t throw much – only 53 completions in 12 games.
However, Mammarelli was a key blocker on Naples’ offensive line. The Eagles rushed for 246.2 yards per game last season behind that line.
Born in Ohio and living for a time in Broward County, Mammarelli grew up playing a variety of sports. He played soccer and was good enough at baseball and basketball to make travel teams.
During his freshman year at Gulf Coast, Mammarelli decided to give football a try. He played defensive end that season, making last year his first ever to run routes or catch passes.
His dad, Jason, was a kicker at the University of Cincinnati from 1997-2000 and was in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2001.
Mammarelli definitely doesn’t have a kicker’s body. Then again, neither did his dad. Jason Mammarelli was a 6-2, 205-pound kicker when he graduated from South Broward High in 1997.
Though he’s tried many other sports, Mammarelli has found his calling with football.
“I like it better than basketball because you can be more aggressive,” the Golden Eagles junior said. “In football, you can get a little angry and do something. You can hit somebody. In basketball, you can’t touch anyone.”
Mammarelli also is set on Miami, even though he could pick up dozens more offers if he meets his potential in the next two high school seasons.
“I don’t talk to (other schools) anymore,” Mammarelli said. “I have a lot of family (in Miami). I like their coaches. They’re a lot like Naples – family-oriented, run a great program.”
It’s been a head-spinning 12 months for Mammarelli. He went from his first varsity game to a big-time college recruit in just a few months. Recruiting website Rivals ranks Mammarelli as the No. 5 tight end in the Class of 2020.
Now Mammarelli wants to prove his worth on the field. Kramer said the Eagles plan to use him more. It’s up to Mammarelli to put in the work to get better and justify his college offers.
“We want him to be elite not just because of his genetics, but because he earns it through his work ethic,” Kramer said. “We want him to play like that, practice like that, walk down the hall like that. Be elite and make being elite a habit.”