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TSJ101 Interview – John Lavin, TE
- Updated: April 25, 2016
TSJ 101 Interview:
In a TSJ101 exclusive interview, I spoke with draft-eligible Tight End John Lavin. John Lavin is a native of Falmouth Massachusetts and played TE for Bryant University in Rhode Island. Lavin enjoyed a breakout junior year in 2014, starting all 11 games as Bryant’s tight end and finishing with 15 catches for 198 yards and five touchdowns. Lavin also helped the Bulldogs lead the league with 199 rushing yards per game against NEC opponents.
Lavin is an efficient route runner, has good hands, and excels at blocking. All of these skills are on full display in Lavin’s college highlight film.
At 6’5″ and 240 lbs, Lavin has proven himself to be an excellent receiver and a very good blocker. He had 24 catches for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns as a senior which earned him 1st Team All-NEC honors. Lavin has played in the FCS Scout Bowl in Myrtle Beach, and got an invitation to play in the FCS National Bowl as well as the Dream Bowl.
Me: What do you enjoy most about playing football?
John Lavin: The competitiveness of football is not matched by any other sport. It’s just you and your teammates going into battle. You better be ready to either beat somebody up or you’ll get beat up. You can’t half ass it.
Me: What is the most memorable moment of your football career thus far?
John Lavin: The best moment was the big win we had when we beat Maine at the homecoming game my junior year. We just transitioned to D1 and Maine is a strong team. My coach always wants a tough game for homecoming because he knows the crowd wants to see a good game. Plus it’s a good way for us to measure ourselves and see what it takes to win at the next level. It was a last minute victory and it put Bryant on the map. The defense played great all game. We were down and during a two-minute drive Chad Ward made an incredible diving catch on a reverse pass that shocked them and we went back up.
The Saint Francis game was my best individual performance. I caught three passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
Me: Who in the NFL would you compare your play style to? What players do you look up to as inspirations? Why?
John Lavin: I don’t like to do comparisons. I’m a humble guy so I don’t want to say I’m as good as this guy or that guy. I’m not trying to be like someone; I’m trying to be better than that guy. I want people to love how I play. Everyone should do their own thing and be the best version of themselves rather than try to be someone else.
But Jason Witten is someone I look up to. I’ve always worn number 82. I loved that he was great with blocking and running and he’d always play and never got hurt. And of course being a New England fan I’m a big Rob Gronkowski fan with the way he blocks and his hands.
Me: What makes you stand out as a player? What separates you from other tight ends?
John Lavin: I don’t want to be one dimensional. If you want to be on an NFL roster you have to block and run. At Bryant we were running 60% of the time with a pro-style offense that focused on power and I really worked on my blocking. There’s no better feeling than putting a guy down on the ground like a pancake.
Me: Tell me about working with Bryant Head Coach Marty Fine and TE Coach John Sielawa. What piece of advice did they give you that altered your play the most?
John Lavin: John Sielawa really instilled the importance of route running on me. Not just the techniques for while you’re in the middle of your route, the importance of lowering your hips, but just the importance of getting off the line cleanly. When you have a big DE trying to stop you, knowing when to head fake or when to rip through will help you with your route and make you quicker. He helped me excel. I won’t get caught in the mess at the line or first 5 yards and I can get to the spot where my quarterback expects me to be or get downfield and make that block.
Steve Femino, my high school coach, also gave me some really important advice. In high school I broke my leg the 1st quarter of the second game of the season right when I was doing well. Steve Femino was one of the first people to come visit me and he gave me advice. He told me this was just a minor setback, don’t get discouraged, you’re a hard working kid. The whole experience taught me that you can’t take football for granted and that you have to work harder to get better.
Me: Give me a glimpse of your workout schedule and what you’re doing to prepare for a career with the NFL.
John Lavin: I wake up at 6:00am every morning and go to the field right by my house in Massachusetts. I do my warm up and then sprinting and acceleration. The next day I work on agility and foot work, speed and change of direction. After that I have a big meal and then do lifts in the afternoon for 2 to 2 and a half hours, mostly doing weight training and working on my flexibility.
Me: What current NFL offense do you think suits your playing style?
John Lavin: There are multiple teams that are starting to use the TE a lot more. I really like what New England are doing with the two TE offense. Julius Thomas with the Broncos also had a great year as a TE. The Ravens are also using the TE position more. A lot of teams in the NFL are really starting to utilize the TE position. Honestly an opportunity with any team would suit what I’m looking for.
Me: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not training and playing football?
John Lavin: My friend’s dad owns a Taxi company in Cape Cod so I pick up shifts and pick up tourists. It’s pretty hilarious. I love getting to meet new people and hear taxi cab confessions.
Me: What was it like playing in the FCS Scout Bowl in December?
John Lavin: It was really cool. I met Kyle Auffray who is a former NFL player and TE and he introduced me to his agent who is now my agent. I was also happy to showcase my talent against some of the top guys and that gave me more confidence. Bryant is a small school so I don’t usually get to be on a big stage.
After the Scout Bowl I linked up and trained with Auffray for a combine in Charlotte for two months starting in January. I was training six days a week, five hours a day. It was just six guys who got after it everyday. It was really cool and a great experience.
Me: What’s your favorite sports movie of all time?
John Lavin: Ooh that’s a tough one. I’d go with Miracle. I love it because hockey is also a team sport and I love that they were able to pull through together to win when no one thought they could do it.
But I have to admit I’d watch Friday Night Lights every week before a game.
Me: Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you?
John Lavin: I just want to have an opportunity to prove myself.
I talked to a few scouts after pro-day and that was a cool experience. I have no bias toward any team. Any opportunity I get I’ll be loyal to that team and do the best I can.
John Lavin is a hardworking, no nonsense TE that values the success of his team more than padding his individual stats. Lavin loves doing the dirty work of blocking, but also has great hands and good mobility. Lavin is a precise route runner who is very fluid catching the ball, even when the pass is not on target. Lavin is also a team leader who won the Captain Award his senior year. We here at TSJ101 are confident that Lavin would make a great addition to any team if given the opportunity.