Jan. 31, 2013
ALLEN, Texas – The NFL dreams of one former Colorado State football player are coming into greater focus this week. Three-time All-Mountain West punter Pete Kontodiakos, who finished his Rams career last November with the second-best career average in school history, will play Saturday in the Texas vs. the Nation college all-star game in Allen, Texas.
Kontodiakos has spent this week practicing with his fellow Nation team members, and has enjoyed the opportunity to visit with NFL scouts and get out in the community as a part of the honor of being chosen to play in the contest. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. (CT) at Eagle Stadium. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Southwest.
“It is a great honor to be a part of a game like this in a state that lives for football,” Kontodiakos said. “No matter where you are from they have respect for you and your school.”
A native of Tarpon Springs, Fla., Kontodiakos broke CSU’s single-season punting record and ranked third in the nation in 2012 with an average of 46.5 yards per punt. His career average of 43.8 ranks second all-time at Colorado State, and thirty percent of his punts traveled 50 yards or more. His career long was a 76-yard punt during his freshman year of 2009, and he added three punts longer than 70 yards in 2012 (73, 72, 72).
“My time in Texas has been really fun,” Kontodiakos said. “I hadn’t realized until I got out here just how big of a deal this game is. Throughout the entire trip we have been conversing with NFL scouts from all over the League, and I have had the opportunity to play with some great kids on the Nation side.”
Kontodiakos is the only punter on the 54-member Nation roster, so he will receive extensive opportunities to shine. The Texas roster also carries 54 players. Each side has been going through daily practice sessions since Monday, after traveling to Texas from all corners of the country last weekend.
“The facilities out here are outstanding,” Kontodiakos said. “I still can’t believe that it is a high school facility. Our coach (former Miami, Louisville, Oklahoma, Florida Atlantic and Baltimore Colts head coach) Howard Schnellenberger is a cool guy and you can tell that he is definitely ‘old-school’ with the way he coaches us up.”
In an interesting twist, Pete’s father, John, punted for the University of Miami from 1979-82, where he was coached by Schnellenberger.
Among the benefits of being chosen to participate in the game is the chance to take part in various community outreach programs associated with the event.
“Today we signed autographs for young kids and have been treated really nice out here,” Kontodiakos said Wednesday evening. “I am glad to represent CSU in such a positive manner and the people here have a great respect for us as a program.”
Kontodiakos is the third former Ram to play in the Texas vs. the Nation game, and first since 2008. Former CSU quarterback and current Denver Bronco Caleb Hanie was selected for the inaugural contest in 2007 and former Rams tight end and current San Diego Charger Kory Sperry took part in 2008.
The 2007 game broke the attendance record for first-year all-star games with 21,548 fans in the stands. In 2009, attendance almost doubled in the third year of the game with more than 40,000 fans in attendance. Ninety-three percent of the 2009 roster (111 out of 119) went on to sign NFL contracts.
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