By Anthony Puntolillo / Full360
When Blaine Netterman came in as a freshman, joining Delaware Valley University’s football program, his on-and off-the-field impacts were immediate.
Netterman started all 11 games that year for the Aggies and solidified himself as a future key piece for the program. As good as his play was on the field, Netterman brought some of his old habits back from high school into the classroom.
In his first semester, he finished with a 2.2 Grade Point Average. The next semester Netterman made a promise to himself: He would never let his grades suffer again.
From then on, Netterman made his academics his first priority. He knew he could do better. His coach knew that, too.
“Me and coach Wright clicked right when I got here. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and helped me develop a ton as a player and a person.”Blaine Netterman, DelVal Football Team Captain
During study hall sessions, Netterman’s position coach, Roger Wright, made him sit directly next to him during a two-hour stretch of homework. Blaine made sure to get tutored twice a week and go to the Writing Center once a week.
The mandatory two-hour study hall sessions with the football team, while studying in small quiet environments, helped him focus on his academics. His academic commitment was rewarded as he earned Dean’s list honors for the first time in his life.
When asked about what happened that first semester, he said, “You know at first it was tough getting adjusted and balancing my academics and football together. Once the semester closed and I got my final grades back, I was disappointed in myself because I knew I was a better student than that. I told myself this would never happen again and that my academics are my number one priority.”
Since that first semester, Netterman has only gotten under a 3.0 one semester and has made the Dean’s list multiple times. While Blaine stepped up in the classroom and improved his grades, his play on the football field certainly did not suffer.
Blaine is a 3-time First-team All-Conference (MAC) safety and has played a pivotal part in the Aggies recent defensive success. This past season Netterman also earned Second-team All-Region 1 honor, as well as making the MAC all-academic team.
Netterman said that one of the biggest factors to his success here has been Coach Wright.
“Me and coach Wright clicked right when I got here. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and helped me develop a ton as a player and a person,” Netterman said. “As a freshman, I came in expecting to just play special teams and maybe be in on a couple of defensive packages.”
But Wright had confidence in him on and off the field.
“He expected a lot from me as a freshman and made me want to produce right away; he had confidence in me and I did not want to disappoint.”
When Coach Wright was asked about Netterman’s rise as a Freshman and whether it was expected, he said, “Yes, in some capacity. I did not expect him to take the starting job as fast as he did, but he made the most of his opportunity. He was ready for the moment by staying mentally and physically ready.”
Now, heading into his senior season, Netterman knows Wright has high expectations for the team as a whole.
“You don’t become a 3-time first-team all-conference and make the all-region team by accident,” Wright said.
The other coaches in the conference and region recognize his talent.
While talking to coach Wright about Nettrmans habits and work ethic, Coach Wright said, “He has prepared through film study, the weight room, and his practice habits to become the player he is. My expectations for “brickhead” in his senior year are for him to become more of a leader vocally in leading the defense to another conference championship and individually for him to be named to multiple all-American teams.”
Netterman is heading into his senior season with Delval and is very excited to see what his team as a whole and himself are capable of for the 2022 season. Netterman and his team are currently 6-0 this season and are looking to advance to 7-0 after playing Lebanon Valley College this weekend.
Once the season is over, he said, “I will begin training in hopes of receiving a NFL rookie mini camp invite.”
It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but it’s been my dream since I was a little kid,” he said. “To get to the point I have gotten to, I will keep the same habits and work ethic that I have developed over the past four years at Delval… I’m hoping to make my childhood a dream a reality this upcoming spring.