Seneca Valley grad living the NFL dream as Minnesota Vikings lineman
Brandon Fusco, 25, a 2007 Seneca Valley graduate who plays guard for the Minnesota Vikings, never loses sight of how blessed he feels each day to be playing in the NFL.
After Fusco earned All-WPIAL distinction his senior year at Seneca Valley, Division II Slippery Rock University saw something in him and recruited the Raider standout, who more than delivered.
Fusco earned All-American honors, was named team captain and became the first Slippery Rock football player to be selected to play in the Senior Bowl.
The Vikings took notice and drafted him in the sixth round of the NFL draft. He became a starter in just his second season and now has 30 starts under his belt as he has become one of the anchors to the Vikings offensive line.
Fusco was kind enough to answer some questions about his journey to the NFL and about what his life is like.
Who has been the biggest influence in helping you get to where you are?
I would have to say John Sullivan, our center. On and off the field, he has taught me how to be a pro. I try to follow his lead. He has been my biggest mentor since I came here.
Were you disappointed that you didn't get much Division I attention coming out of high school?
Everybody takes their own route. Don Barclay went to WVU (West Virginia) and Kevin Smith went to Pitt (both SV teammates). For me, I don't regret at all how it worked out. I wouldn't change a thing. I felt really connected to the Slippery Rock coaches.
Don Barclay plays for the division rival Green Bay Packers. Do you and Don ever talk about how amazing it is that two kids who grew up five houses apart now play in the NFL for rival teams?
We are still good friends and realize how blessed we are. We never thought something like this could happen. It's pretty special.
Adrian Peterson is one of the premier running backs in the history of this league. How much pride do you and your offensive linemates take in his success?
We take a lot of pride in it. He is a hard worker who wants to go down in history as one of the all-time best. We try to help him get all the yards he can.
As an offensive lineman, you are usually the unsung heroes on a team. Do you ever think about getting the opportunity to score a touchdown and if you did, do you have an end zone celebration in mind?
Ha, ha! It's always a dream for an offensive lineman to someday get the chance to score a touchdown. I don't know what I would do if it actually happened. I don't have a specific celebration in mind. Probably just spike the ball and celebrate with my teammates.
In the offseason, what would be a perfect day for you?
Wake up on a beach, hang out in a chair, maybe have a couple beers. Have no worries.
If you hadn't become a professional football player, what career path do you think you would have taken?
My degree is in health and safety, so probably something in that field. Maybe working for OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or something like that. But I also love the game of football, so I think I would have tried to be a coach, too.
You have a twin brother named Josh who played rugby at Clarion University. Are the two of you close, and were you competitive with each other growing up?
Josh and I have always been close; in fact he lives with me in Minnesota and works up here. He's my best friend. Growing up, I was very sports driven, he was usually off chasing the girls, so we weren't overly competitive with each other.
If you were to pick one movie and one food as favorites, what would they be?
“The Waterboy.” It's an instant classic and a great football movie. And I love chicken, so barbecued chicken is probably my favorite food.
People would be surprised to know that ...
I'm a pretty goofy guy. I'm the guy in the media room who likes to make jokes. I like to joke around and have a good time.
David McElhinny is the North Bureau Chief with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-772-6362 or at email@example.com.