ACP-Erie’s First D1 offered Football Player

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Joel Diaz is a Senior here at ACP, and watching him perform on the field is something incredible to see. His football abilities are next to none, and watching him effortlessly perform leagues above his opponents has seen him get quite a few offers from some prestigious colleges around the country. Having 16 total offers, he also has recently received ACPs first Division 1 Football scholarship in our short three year history. Starting out as a freshman, Joel has been with the program since its creation his freshman year and has stuck by it through thick and thin, seeing the first playoff game in its history as well as the first winning season. 

 

Q: When did you decide you wanted to pursue a football career after high school?

A. It wasn’t an exact moment for sure, and actually, coming into high school I had no intention of playing ball at the next level. But after being a part of the team, experiencing the game, feeling that adrenaline rush on Friday night, there’s nothing like it. And since that first season my love for the game has only grown, I love the game, and I love the family, and after figuring that out, I decided this is what I want to do.

Q: What has been your favorite memory so far throughout high school?

A. I’ve got a lot of memories, but I’ll keep it to football. My favorite memory is definitely beating Odyssey institute my junior year. That was a long time coming and we earned it. Funny story was I wasn’t even playing my actual position for that game. 

Q: Was the feeling any different receiving a Division 1 offer as opposed to say a Division 2 or 3 offer?

A. The feeling is definitely different. D2 and D3 schools are great opportunities, and anything that helps you go and play for colleges is great, but D1 is different. Everyone wants to be D1, but hardly anyone makes it, getting that first D1 offer legitimizes you almost, knowing you can play at that level is just a feeling that can’t be matched.

Q: How is the culture of ACP football different from that of other sports on campus?

A. Football has just a different culture than any sport to begin with. For one, it’s America’s sport. In almost every other sport, you play just as much as you practice, with two or three games or matches a week. But in football, you grind two to three hour practices Monday through Friday, with two or three lifts every week on top of three to five hours of film every week and school work, just to play for a one hour game. Our pregame warm-up is almost twice as long as the game clock. And that’s just in high school; there’s even more when you get to college and pro. And we never stop; in the off-season we still practice three to four times a week, we lift almost every day, and we grind in the classroom. And we practice like that all year just for a couple of months of a season where we only play 10-14 games; there isn’t another sport like it. And the demand on the sport makes the culture, or maybe it’s the other way around, but that’s where our culture comes from: our attitude and culture reflect our ethic, reflect our work. In football we don’t wait for things to happen, we make them happen. Whether that be on the field, in the weight-room or the classroom, we always look to get better day after day.

(Steve Chadwick)

Q: If you didn’t play defense which position would you play and why?

A. I’m a defensive guy; if I didn’t play defense, I wouldn’t play at all. I can play receiver I guess if I had to, but I play defense.  End of story.

 

That is the mindset of a true athlete who knows where his strengths are. We wish Joel all the best with his football career in his senior year and after. Go Knights!