Building a Legacy

Joel Diaz had an impressive first football season as a Knight.


Joel Diaz, a Free Safety on the Knights defense, had an excellent first season as part of the inaugural varsity football team. Joel finished the year with 2 interceptions, but more importantly, he compiled 78 total tackles this season, leading all freshmen in the state of Arizona. I recently caught up with the tackling machine to get his thoughts on this honor and his season in general.

Q: Were you aware that you led the entire state of Arizona in tackles made by a freshman?

A: Yes, I was made aware of that.

Q: What does this mean to you?

A: I think it shows that I want to be good and the work I put into it.

Q: What do you think is the reason for your success this year?

A: When I went into football, I was only worried about being good and working harder and wanting to make my team better, and I think this is a byproduct of fighting for my team.

Q: Why did you try out for the football team?

A: I’ve always liked football. The reason I came to ACP was for football, and I really wanted to join when Coach Blue began talking about “legacy” because I had thought about that. Coming to ACP would help me get noticed, being a smaller school. When he said that this was a place to create your legacy, I knew I wanted to come here.

Q: What was your first reaction when you found how much time you were going to get to play?

A: I just wanted to get some playing time at first, when coach had me starting the first game, it was cool to know I would be starting. Then I played well the first game, and it kept going and I kept working to make sure no one would beat me. There’s also no one else at my position, so there wasn’t a whole lot of competition, but I still made sure to work hard.

Q: Coach Blue said he started 17 freshman and sophomores in total this season. What does that tell you about your coach and his willingness to play a lot of younger players?

A: It shows that he trusts us, which is good to know. If the coach trusts me, it makes it easier to trust him. I think we also have a lot of young talent.

Q: Do you get an extra confidence boost knowing that coach is confident in you?

A: It definitely helps in the field knowing that he knows I can play. It also helps to know that if I make one mistake, I won’t be off the team. It’s just “go get ’em next time.”

Q: Do you see yourself keeping up this level of production in the years to come?

A: At my position, I’m not supposed to have a lot of tackles. The players who were supposed to have those tackles were still working a lot this season, which is why I had as many tackles as I did. In the years to come, I don’t think I will have as good of a season as far as tackles are concerned, but in terms of interceptions and pass breakups and coverages, I think I can get much better.

Joel has taken the first steps in creating his legacy as an ACP Knight. He and his fellow teammates will look to continue improving in the years to come and leave behind a legacy they can all be proud of.