Is It Christmas Time Already?

No, it isn't exactly Christmas time but when Domenic Natale's last name is translated from its Italian origin it literally means Christmas. As the quarterback competition at RU heats up, Natale is positioning himself for the possibility of an early Christmas. A transfer from Michigan State, Natale has spent considerable time recuperating from Tommy John surgery on the elbow of his throwing arm ...

... and now finds himself vying for the coveted starter's spot.

While many would have long given up on their dream of playing Division IA football, Domenic Natale has persevered and remained determined to not give up on his goal. Natale, after suffering a possible career ending injury has remained undaunted and committed to his dream. He's fought back from great adversity and odds and finds himself named as the pre-spring starter for the quarterback position of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

When SOR recently caught up with Domenic, after the second spring practice session, we gained some insight into how the seemingly impossible has indeed become reality. Domenic is as special a person as he is a football player, a very mature, well spoken and humble young man. Domenic was quite honest and straight forward when asked about the rehabilitation of his arm: "It feels good, he stated, before continuing, "I feel I took another step in the recovery, or the progress of it. This winter it kicked into another gear and is still getting better."

"The strength has started to come back and I'm comfortable where I don't even have to think about it anymore," continued Natale.

Despite limited playing time during his time at Rutgers, Natale has shown a dual threat ability, and a comfort level in the pocket and while rolling out.

"I like to use my feet a lot to buy time a little bit more, to create a little bit more down the field," said Natale.

"I feel comfortable on the move out of the pocket, I feel comfortable with the shotgun, dropping back feels good too," he continued.

The physical trait that he's observed brings him most success and makes him most dangerous as a QB is his ability to create not only with his arm, but with his feet as well.

"I feel most comfortable creating plays with my feet".

With Natale having been around the Banks for a few years, he's seen firsthand the level of talent at the skill positions, and in particular at the WR spot. Despite the departure of both Tiquan Underwood and Kenny Britt, Natale sees significant promise in the next group of wideouts.

"All those young guys are promising. I see flashes of what they could become everyday. We have different guys, we have Tim Wright in there and he goes up and gets the ball every once in awhile and you saw ‘wow'; we've got Eddie Poole who runs his routes smoothly."

In addition, the positional change that saw Mason Robison switch from tailback to wide receiver seems to have added an extra spark.

"Well, he made a pretty play today and looked like the best wide receiver out there today. As a quarterback you have to love that, when a guy does that for you. He looked like a veteran receiver out there and it's great to see (it). Mason has got such a hard work ethic," stated Natale.

Natale expressed confidence and enthusiasm for all his teammates at the wide receiver position. His comfort level in his wideouts was very palpable and should make for some exciting situations come game day for Rutgers fans.

A genuinely engaging and polite young man Domenic Natale seems well prepared and poised for great things, both on and off the field. The time for Christmas is indeed now and the gifts he bestows upon Rutgers fans may very well be in the form of touchdowns.

As they say in the language of your grandparents: Buona Fortuna Domenic (Good Luck Domenic).

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