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Son of NFL star makes a name for himself at IC

First-year+student+linebacker+Dante+Bruschi+joined+the+Ithaca+College+football+team+after+growing+up+surrounded+by+professional+football.+His+father%2C+Tedy%2C+was+a+linebacker+in+the+National+Football+League+for+13+seasons.
Kiki Hall
First-year student linebacker Dante Bruschi joined the Ithaca College football team after growing up surrounded by professional football. His father, Tedy, was a linebacker in the National Football League for 13 seasons.

Bombers’ first-year student linebacker Dante Bruschi comes from a football family. Dante’s father, Tedy Bruschi, is a former All-Pro linebacker for the New England Patriots and currently works at ESPN as an NFL analyst. However, Dante is forging his own path and creating his own story, on and off the field.

Bruschi said he did not feel any pressure growing up and his main objective was to enjoy playing football.

“No pressure, really, just be my own person,” Bruschi said. “Have fun playing the game that I love.”

In addition, Bruschi said that his father molded him and taught him many valuable skills as the defensive coordinator of his high school football team at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

“He was the coach of my high school team for all four years,” Bruschi said. “He played a big role in my whole high school career. He coached me my whole life, so pretty much made me the player I am today.”

Growing up in Attleboro, Bruschi also played high school football with Case Mankins, former All-Pro left guard Logan Mankins’ son, who committed to play Division l football at the University of Rhode Island last year. With both of their fathers being former NFL teammates, the two were inseparable.

“We were really close, me and him,” Bruschi said. “He’s my neighbor, so we did everything together. I’ve known him since I was a baby. I grew up with him and played football with him and both of our dads played football together.”

Bryan Pinabell, Bishop Feehan’s head varsity football coach and assistant athletic director, gave Bruschi high praise. He said Bruschi provided a sense of leadership to his teammates.

“He was like having another coach on the field,” Pinabell said. “Dante was the guy that was always the first one in the locker room and the last to leave. Great leader, led by example, vocal leader, obviously a great player.”

In addition, Pinabell said Dante and Tedy’s football IQ fueled the team’s defense.

“On the field, you could tell the amount of football IQ the both of them had,” Pinabell said. “It was almost like Tedy could relay it to Dante and Dante could relay it to the defense. They both made me look like a very smart coach the last few years.”

Pinabell spoke about the design of his football program and how its training prepares students for the collegiate level. He said the team is an intensive program and focuses on strength and conditioning.

“We’re year-round,” Pinabell said. “My rule is if you’re not involved in another sport, you’re in the weight room with us. So once the season ends in November, I give them the month of December off like a lot of the colleges do. In January, we start. We go three mornings a week at 6 a.m. all the way through the end of school. In the summer, we go three mornings a week. We watch film every day. I would say we’re certainly not a college program, but I think those aspects help our kids prepare for what is much more intense at the college level.”

Bruschi said the main difference between high school and college football is the speed that the game is played at. 

“The main difference I noticed from high school to college is the speed of the game,” Bruschi said. “The game is a lot faster in college. You just gotta pick it up quickly.”

Tom Biscardi, Ithaca College’s defensive run game coordinator, linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator said Bruschi has been a great player to have so far even though he’s only been here for about a month. He said Bruschi is already traveling with the team, which is uncommon for a first-year student.

“For him, it’s been really good,” Biscardi said. “He’s had a really good training camp. He’s coming down with us for game one. He’s running some special teams and is getting a little bit of rotational reps at linebacker with the older guys, so he’s doing really well. I think a big part of that is just his football intelligence and his ability athletically to hang in there with some of the other guys that have been here for three or four years.”

Biscardi also said Bruschi fits the type of linebacker that the football program strives to recruit.

“We want guys who love football and love to compete, have a love for the game and want to put the work and effort … and reach their potential that we think they can get to,” Biscardi said. “When you watch [Bruschi’s] film, he’s got the attributes we look for in a linebacker in terms of taller guys, longer guys, really athletic and move sideline to sideline, play downhill and be physical. I think it was like recruiting any other football player we would: a really good person off the field and a great player on the field. I think he fit that mold exceptionally well.

Bruschi said the team culture and coaching staff was the main deciding factor that brought him into the college.

“I narrowed it down to Ithaca, Endicott and Trinity University in Texas,” Bruschi said. “Those are all good football schools I was visiting all around, but I mainly picked Ithaca because the coaching staff was really good. I really liked the culture and the coaching staff.”

As for now, Bruschi said he is not exactly trying to follow his father’s path but might want to do something similar in the future.

“I’m not really trying to follow his path,” Bruschi said. “I just like what he does as a sports media major. I don’t really know what I want to do yet, but I might want to stay in the football world.”

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Flynn Hynes, Assistant Sports Editor
Kiki Hall, Photographer
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