Dream comes true for local standout

Tyler D'Amore saw his dream come true when he joined Arizona. Read on to see how he is handling it, what he thinks of the offense, and more.

Growing up, Tyler D'Amore walked up the familiar ramps at Arizona Stadium and watched the Wildcats play all the Pac-12 schools, minus Colorado and Utah. He was a student of the game and a two sport athlete, playing football and basketball in middle school and high school.

It has been a few months since D'Amore enrolled at Arizona and the spring semester is nearly over, but the business major is still in awe of his opportunity.

"I grew up watching them play," the quarterback said. "We'd come to the games on Saturdays. I still need to pinch myself when I wake up in the morning to make sure I'm not dreaming."

D'Amore played last season at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. His team there ran an offense similar to new head coach Rich Rodriguez's. He finished the season completing 31 of 55 passes for two touchdowns while running 26 times, scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Even with a familiar offense, he understands that there is always something to improve on.

"Six weeks ago I didn't have the tempo down," he said. "The speed was a little bit different from junior college. Everything is coming together with understanding the offense. As a whole unit, everyone has to be on the same page."

"The main thing I need to work on is arm strength. Other than that, I need to work hard, get stronger, get faster, and study film every day."

Adjusting hasn't been too hard for the sophomore, but he did not know that the speed of the game was much faster than at the junior college level. It was something that took a week or two to adjust to, but his previous experience in a similar system helped the transition go smoother.

However, speed wasn't the only difference between playing from Arizona and playing from College of the Canyons.

"I would say the overall attitude of wanting to win and being a team is much different," D'Amore said. "In this system, a four year program, with Coach Rod, it's like we're one big family."

D'Amore is just a walk-on at the moment, but has expressed his feelings of wanting to work hard and earn a scholarship. That goal may be a little easier to attain if he sticks with Arizona. Rich Rodriguez, a former walk-on at West Virginia, has always had a soft spot for walk-ons and has done his best to coach all of his players regardless of scholarship status.

"We (walk-ons) get treated like we're regular players," D'Amore said. "There's no difference at all. Everything's the same. If you walk into the locker room, you couldn't tell who's a walk-on and who's not."

Even though he's living his dream, D'Amore is staying humble. He knows not to push himself to hard and knows what he needs to do to get better. D'Amore also understands that the team is bigger than just one player, which may be his best trait.

"I'd say if I have a goal it's to compete with the guys coming in and learn," he said. "I want to get reps every day at practice. But, more importantly, the team goal is a Pac-12 championship. There's nothing less."

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