Donovan hoping to snap his way into the NFL

Former University of Louisville long snapper Grant Donovan is hoping to snap his way into the NFL. Donovan has seen some interest from NFL teams and worked out last week at U of L's pro day. Here's an update on his situation:

Like actor Liam Neeson in the “Taken” franchise, Louisville long snapper Grant Donovan is hoping to turn a very particular set of skills into a profitable career.

"It’s been my hidden talent and it’s something I’ve been able to ride,” the NFL hopeful said.

Most football fans would struggle to name their team’s snapper, an understandable fact for a position usually discussed only when a mistake happens.

But at Louisville’s Pro Day, two Super Bowl-winning coaches paid close attention to the Cardinals’ four-year starter.

As New England’s Bill Belichick watched from six feet away, Donovan focused on keeping his head down and his snaps crisp.

"I’m glad I didn’t look up at him because it probably would have raised some goose bumps,” Donovan admitted after the March 11 workout. “Hopefully it just speaks to my career here, that he was able to stand here and know who I was. It’s exciting.”

Pittsburgh boss Mike Tomlin also had an eye on the Donovan.

"I had been glancing over because him and another coach had been staring,” Donovan said. “I kind of kept looking up at them and he said, ‘I see you looking over here. We’ve got the watch on you, so you better bring it.’

"It’s kind of eye-opening to have these head coaches come up and talk to the snappers.”

The Louisville native said he’s received positive feedback from the Bears and the Jets — two teams currently in search of a snapper — along with Pittsburgh and Oakland.

NFL teams are drawn to Donovan’s unblemished production at Louisville. In 52 career games, Donovan never produced a bad or mishandled snap.

His 6-1, 220-pound frame would seem to hinder his chances at making an NFL roster but Donovan said his athleticism could actually allow him to stand out.

"A lot of snappers have the stereotype of being just a big, hulky guy or someone that just sits in the hole,” Donovan said. “I ran 4.8 flat, which is a lot faster than a lot of these guys. I know I move better so, as long as I can get to the spot after I snap and be able to block and hold my own, there’s no reason I can’t play in this league.”

Donovan will stay in Louisville for his draft preparation, training with Corey Taylor of Corey Taylor Sports Performance. A dream that began while playing under local coaching icon Bob Redman at Male High School would be realized if he can make a professional roster.

"After my freshman season, Coach Redman told me, ‘If you keep doing this, you’re going to sign with the NFL one day,” Donovan recalled. “Ever since then it’s been a dream. It’s awesome just seeing it kind of live itself out.”

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