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Freeport's DeVivo hopes to make impact with Duquesne football as a walk-on

| Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, 11:57 p.m.

Football camp started a week early for Tony DeVivo this year.

DeVivo, a 2013 Freeport graduate, began his first college camp in the early morning Monday when practices opened for the upcoming season at Duquesne University.

It was a quick start to college for the first-year tight end/fullback, who went from moving onto campus Sunday afternoon to meetings Sunday evening and finally waking up at 6:30 a.m. Monday for a workout, breakfast, meetings and his first practice with his new team.

“I'm just looking forward to getting the pads on again,” DeVivo said before his first practice. “I've worked hard in the offseason and put on weight. It's definitely been a little hectic moving in, but I'm ready to get into the flow of things.”

Invited by the coaching staff to walk on with the Dukes, DeVivo enters camp with the goal of working his way into game-day action as a freshman.

DeVivo chose Duquesne over smaller schools, including Allegheny, Westminster and St. Vincent, and while academics factored in — he plans to study business — the chance to play Division I football was appealing to DeVivo.

“(Duquesne) was actually the last school I applied to. I got in, and after I talked to the football coaches, my decision was that much easier,” DeVivo said. “I applied to a lot of Division III, smaller schools, but I wanted to push myself and see how far I could go. I like being an underdog.”

John Gaillot, DeVivo's former coach at Freeport, thinks Duquesne is a good fit both academically and athletically, and he said the Dukes' coaches might be surprised with the quality of player they're getting.

“Tony's a very smart kid academically and football smart on the field. He's a hard worker, and I know he trained really hard for this opportunity,” Gaillot said.

“I think they'll be surprised with what he can contribute. He's a good route runner, and him catching the ball is money in the bank. He made three or four one-handed catches for us last year. But most of all, they're getting a good, quality person for their team.”

Duquense is a destination for many local players. Among his teammates at Duquense is one player he faced in high school, redshirt freshman linebacker Brad Campbell (Apollo-Ridge), and more than two dozen former WPIAL players.

Between that and the extra time that football camp will give him on campus, DeVivo expects to have no problem adjusting to college life.

“I think it will definitely make it a lot easier for me to start now. I'll know how to manage my time better because of the three weeks before classes get started,” he said.

“I'd love it if I could get some playing time this season. That would be awesome my first year, but I'll just have to wait and see what happens when we put the pads on.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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