Get to know Notre Dame's new 2022 commit: long snapper Rino Monteforte
There is always a backstory to how a long snapper finds their own path to the football position. By the end of Monday night, Rino Monteforte had recalled his tale so many times, its uniqueness still surprised him.
Monteforte grew up with an obsession of playing college football. Sure the NFL was the ultimate goal. But one step at a time. He began playing the sport when he was five and always found himself on the bigger side. By seventh grade was a 5-foot-2, 110-pound defensive end.
That year, Monteforte attended a football university camp in South Carolina. The only problem, his frame didn't stack up to the 6-2, 6-3 offensive lineman standing right across from him. A coach at the camp advised Monteforte's mom to reclassify him back a year to play against younger kids. That wasn't an option.
With his college football dream already teetering on disaster, Monteforte searched for a solution.
“I tried thinking about playing fullback," Monteforte told the South Bend Tribune. "Maybe a little tight end. I tried a bunch of different things and it eventually came down to one Google search. I’ll never forget. It was an August night in my room at midnight, and I looked up how to long snap.
"Ever since then it has just sky rocketed."
That night changed Monteforte's life because he became obsessed with long snapping ever since. Now his dream of playing college football has become a reality, having committed to Notre Dame's 2022 recruiting class on Monday night.
Monteforte, two-star recruit and a five-star specialist according to Kohl's Professional Camps, played both center and long snapper at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, New York until after his junior year, when a small injury focused Monteforte's attention on his primary position.
Before his sophomore year he was offered by University of Buffalo and had been committed to since early August. When he surprisingly received a Twitter message from new Notre Dame special teams coordinator, Brian Mason, Monteforte's plans began to shift.
"It was kind of hard to say no," Monteforte said. "Not just because of football, but also because of it being the best catholic school in the whole country."
Faith and football go hand in hand in Monteforte's life. At his high school, Monteforte is part of multiple Catholic programs, including his school's singing group as well as playing percussion in a worship band.
Notre Dame just fit everything he was looking for.
"It was an opportunity that you can’t pass up," Monteforte said. "It was an unpassable opportunity to learn from someone so experienced, such a great leader like Michael Vinson. To have that opportunity at this university and institution, not only play football at the highest level on NBC every week, but also to receive a first class education and go to church every Sunday, which means a lot to my family and I."
Monteforte knows that redshirting this upcoming season is in his cards, with Vinson, a fifth-year senior holding down the fort as starting long snapper. After that, the position will be up for grabs.
Monteforte is OK with that. Part of his obsession with long snapping, he says, is the fact there is always some aspect to improve on. He now has an entire season to do that.
And when he eventually gets his chance on the field, it will be a dream fulfilled.
"Notre Dame fans should know that they are getting someone who is going to work their butt off," Monteforte said. "Like 200 percent ground and pound every single day. I'm never going to give up and will work so hard until there is absolutely no work left to be done."