The Albany Great Danes football program certainly isn’t the first school you think of when you say college sport. And there’s probably a reason for that. In their history, they have only had 13 players sign for NFL teams. To put that into context, Alabama had 12 players selected alone in last month’s draft.

In 2018, another was added to the list. Los Angeles Chargers signed undrafted free agent full back/tight end Anthony Manzo-Lewis to a 3-year contract. The versatile offensive piece lined up in multiple positions in his senior year. From blocking for a number of running backs, to catching passes as a tight-end. He caught 20 passes for a total of 188 yards, last season.

Another tight end, Brain Parker, was the last Great Dane to enter the league. Like Manzo-Lewis, he was also signed by the then, San Diego Chargers, back in 2015. Parker is now under-contract by AFC West rivals the Denver Broncos.

At 6’0″, 257 pounds, Manzo-Lewis has a size advantage over the only other fullback on the roster, Derek Watt (6’2″, 234). The competition with Watt will be one to watch as the Chargers head to camp.

Before that, I got the chance to speak to Manzo-Lewis, prior to him making the journey from coast-to-coast:

HERD: Firstly, congratulations on becoming coming a Los Angeles Charger, how does it feel?

AML: An unexplainable feeling, I assume how everyone describes how it feels when your first child is born or when you get married. It’s something you grow up dreaming about and it becoming a reality is something you can’t even put into words.

HERD: General Manager Tom Telesco likes players to be versatile, do you think that is a part of your game that attracted the Chargers to you?

AML: Yeah I think that definitely set me apart from the other fullbacks in the country. Playing tight end running the entire route tree and being inline, in the backfield, split out wide, and in the slot getting 50-60 reps a game instead of the usual 15-20 for a traditional fullback definitely gave me an advantage.

HERD: I think that’s something that can really benefit the offense. Coming from your college, New York State – Albany, all the way to the West Coast to Los Angeles is quite the journey! How are you feeling about this?

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HERD: Has your preparation changed at all from pre-draft to signing with the Chargers? Have they asked you to work on anything specific before camp?

HERD: Is there a player in the NFL that you compare yourself to, or another player’s game you have tried to emulate?

AML: As a tight end I definitely tried to emulate Jason Witten as a leader and a reliable player when it comes down to the wire, everyone knows he’ll make the tough catch in traffic for a first down. That’s something I aspired to have throughout college and hope to develop in the NFL.

As a fullback I grew up watching Mike Alstott and loved watching him run through people and blow people up as a blocker.

HERD: Thank you very much for speaking to FPC Chargers. Myself and everyone at Full Press Coverage will be rooting for you over the next few months. Good luck for your future.

AML: No problem at all, thank you guys for reaching out and for the support.

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– Thomas Herd is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter

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