College: DiSalvo is Mr. Consistency

Ryan DiSalvo, a 2012 San Benito High graduate, has enjoyed a fine career as the long snapper for San Jose State.

Ryan DiSalvo is his own worst critic. The San Jose State senior long snapper and 2012 San Benito High graduate spends close to an hour everyday watching video of his snaps during practice and in games. Once DiSalvo starts the video, he watches for several things.
“It’s a fairly simple process to go through,” he said. “I’ll go through my form, the ball’s trajectory, whether the laces are out, if I’m getting my blocks down. I like to be pretty consistent, because that’s my job description—to be consistent.”
A standout defensive end at San Benito High, DiSalvo walked on at San Jose State as a projected defensive player. However, on the first day of fall practice during his freshman year, DiSalvo was approached by former Spartans coach Mike McIntyre about making a position change.
“Coach McIntyre told me if I wanted to get a scholarship, I could win a starting long-snapping job to do it,” DiSalvo said. “From there, I went full out to win that job.”
DiSalvo earned the starting spot and hasn’t missed a single game during his San Jose State career. The Spartans are 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the Mountain West Conference entering their game against BYU on Nov. 6. DiSalvo hasn’t made headlines during his career, and he would like to keep it that way.
After all, if DiSalvo’s name gets mentioned during the highlights, there’s a good chance one of his snaps to the punter or place holder went awry.
“Our special-teams unit has been pretty consistent so far this season and throughout my career, and that’s what I’m most proud of,” DiSalvo said. “Not having missed any games and being able to complete every play is a pretty exciting achievement, too.”
DiSalvo started snapping at 6 or 7 when he played for the Hollister Vikings Pop Warner football team.
“It’s been a long time looking between my legs and a long time my head being upside down,” he said.
The 6-foot-4, 253-pound DiSalvo is currently rated the 10th best out of 35 long snappers among the class of 2016. In all likelihood, DiSalvo won’t get picked in next year’s NFL Draft (it’s a rarity for a team to use a draft pick on a long snapper). However, if a team deems him good enough, it won’t hesitate to acquire him for a free agent workout.
“If there is an opportunity to long snap at the next level, it would be a dream come true,” he said. “But I’m not thinking about that right now. My full focus is to be as consistent as possible to help us win games. I feel like I’m playing as well as I ever have, and I want to continue to get better.”
DiSalvo credits renowned long snapping guru Chris Rubio for helping him develop into one of the best long snappers in college football. DiSalvo has been going to Rubio’s camps since 2011, and he always learns something new every year.
“Every time I go down there, there’s something I’d like to fix,” DiSalvo said. “He already knows what’s wrong before I ask him for help. He can fix anything.”
DiSalvo said he taught himself how to snap as a youth, but by the time he got to high school, he needed a major lesson in how to block as a long snapper.
“Going forward and backward blocking as a long snapper is a completely different thing and something I had to get used to,” he said. “It was a big challenge. Chris changed my blocking and snapping from an amateur level to a great level.”
Rubio helped DiSalvo hone his release of the ball, one of the many minute, technical details that separate a standout long snapper from an average one. DiSalvo credits his parents, Mike and Cindy, for playing such a vital role in his life. Mike and Cindy have been coming to their son’s football games since he started playing sports at a very young age.
“They’ve been amazing influences and have really inspired me to want to move forward, whether it’s football or in the business world,” he said. “To this day, I look up to them.”
Once DiSalvo runs to the sideline after completing his duties, he looks up in the stands to his parents. Mike always gives him a thumbs-up for a job well done. Since most of DiSalvo’s snaps have been true, a thumbs-up is an appropriate symbol for DiSalvo’s consistency as SJSU’s long snapper.

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