2020 Naples 4-star TE Dominic Mammarelli was on campus a few weeks back for UM’s huge Underclassman Day event featuring over 50 top prospects and he saw no reason to delay the inevitable: he committed to the staff before he left campus, becoming Miami’s 9th commit in the 2020 class.
“They were really excited, coach Hartley was super pumped and coach Richt too,” Mammarelli said on his big moment with the coaching staff. “They were just really excited.”
Mammarelli had originally grown up in the Miami area and still has a large amount of family there. It was obvious the comfortability of the environment at Miami was what made the difference for the Canes.
“It’s where I’m from, I have a lot of family there,” Mammarelli said on Miami. “I have a big family, but the majority of them is all there. I’d be able to play in front of my friends. Why go anywhere else?”
Being such a new pledge for Category20, Mammarelli is still getting to know his fellow commits. That’s why the spring game was the perfect opportunity for him to start becoming comfortable with his future teammates, and Mammarelli made the trip to Hard Rock Stadium with family to watch the game this weekend. While there, he spent a lot of time chopping it up with fellow TE commit Larry Hodges, and also got a chance to meet safety commit Avantae Williams as well.
“It was great. The tight ends did pretty good. I couldn’t see as much as I wanted, but they looked pretty solid. I think the team in general is pretty solid too, they’re gonna have a good season,” Mammarelli said of the spring game. “I was with Larry (Hodges) the majority of the time, and as I was leaving I saw Avantae (Williams). I got to talk to him for a second, it was my first time meeting him, so that was cool.”
Like many of the all-time greats at the tight end position (Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham), Mammarelli has a basketball background and he played the sport exclusively up until his freshman year of high school when he started playing defensive end for the Naples High football team. What about his basketball training gives him an edge on the gridiron?
“I would say it helps your athleticism and conditioning with running up and down the court, awareness too,” Mammarelli said. “I would say footwork as well.”
Mammarelli was moved to offense to play TE for his sophomore year, and, although he recorded only 3 catches for 34 yards and 1 touchdown in his sophomore season at Naples, the numbers do not tell the full story. Naples had a ground-based attack and relied heavily on the run with 4-star RB Cesare Mellusi in the backfield, throwing for less than 700 yards on the year.
“I tried to play offense freshman year, but they didn’t want me there, they just saw me at D-End I guess. It also didn’t help we had (Notre Dame signee) George Takacs at TE. They didn’t really know if I could play it or not and it’s not like they needed one, so it wasn’t really a priority,” Mammarelli said. “They needed defensive players and I was there for defense. And I loved defensive end. Our team, we have Chez (Cesare Mellusi) obviously, we’re strictly more of a running team. Our QB could throw, but we didn’t have the best passing offense, didn’t do a lot of passing.”
Even though he enjoyed his time playing defense, Mammarelli strictly plays tight end only now, and that’s where he sees his future at the next level. 247Sports apparently agrees, recently naming Dominic the #1 TE in the 2020 class and a top 50 national prospect overall.
“It’s crazy (being so highly ranked). I’m just gonna keep working, though.”
Mammarelli shows physicality and toughness as a blocker, which is something you don’t see from a lot of young tight ends. The opportunity to open up a play for a teammate is something the 6’4” 235 pounder relishes doing and he gets the chance to do it often playing in Naples’ run-heavy scheme.
“I like to do whatever,” Mammarelli said. “If I get to go out for a pass, that’s sweet. But catching a touchdown for me is the same as throwing a block for my boy.”
With only one year playing the TE position, and two seasons playing the game, Mammarelli has a huge learning curve, and will see rapid improvement as long as he continues to hone his craft, which shouldn’t be a problem as he’s already discovered a passion for football.
“I’ve only been playing two years, so I’m still finding out what type of player I am,” Mammarelli said. “What I would say though is, I just love to play. I’m willing to do whatever to get on the field, whatever is best for the team really.”
With so much time until Signing Day, many early commits of this nature still plan to take visits to other schools and talk to other coaches. That doesn’t describe Mammarelli at all though, and the young pass-catcher claims to have completely ended his recruitment and will honor his commitment.
“Oh yeah, I shut it down. I’m totally and completely 100% committed to Miami. No other visits,” Mammarelli said. “I plan on being a leader in the class and seeing who else we can get on board.”
And his message to the Canes fans out there?
“I wasn’t as into football in the past as I am now, I was mostly just a basketball guy. But I know in the past few years, Miami wasn’t as good as they could be and Coach Richt’s done a great job bringing the program back up to where it should be. Keep believing, keep supporting, big things are gonna happen.”
TE is the position I've coached & personally know the best. Unfortunately I haven't watched any of his highlights yet. I'm glad we have him committed though. Its a hard position to find good balance at as far as blocking & receiving. But I definitely trust Hartley's evals so far. If he's athletic (which he obviously is) & playing in a run heavy O, that requires him to block, that's a major plus for us. Especially considering he has two more years in it. Thats assuming they dont just let him throw his body in the defenders way & call that a block. The majority of athletic high school TE do not want to block. They want to catch passes. The ones who are great blockers can often look.. Clunky.. Running & catching. That's why I like Brevin so much. He does both well. Its a rare combination. But if Mammarelli's hands are legit & they're teaching/coaching him to block correctly, he's gonna be a monster. Especially if his listed measurements are close to accurate. Because he should get bigger.
Our 2020 class is shaping up to be the best class in the nation by a wide margin.