Student Athlete Spotlight: Football player has sky-high hopes

Gianni Palazzo of Heritage sets sights on Air Force Academy

Posted 10/29/18

Gianni Palazzo plays football and runs track at Heritage High School. So it's natural to figure he might find a relaxing way to spend his free time. However, Palazzo hopes to get into the Air Force …

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Student Athlete Spotlight: Football player has sky-high hopes

Gianni Palazzo of Heritage sets sights on Air Force Academy

Posted

Gianni Palazzo plays football and runs track at Heritage High School. So it's natural to figure he might find a relaxing way to spend his free time.

However, Palazzo hopes to get into the Air Force Academy, and most of his off time is focused on making sure he has the grade point average and meets the eligibility requirements to attract the attention of Air Force.

“I'm trying to get into the Air Force Academy and everything I do is to get into there,” said Palazzo. “I have a lot of homework because I'm in a lot of AP (Advance Placement) classes. I do some clubs. I did TSA (Technology Student Association) club last year. I like to build stuff.”

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior is building a solid resume with a high average per carry and reception that might appeal to AFA football coach Troy Calhoun or other college coaches.

“Half-time I'm in the backfield and half-time I'm a slot receiver,” explained Palazzo, who abandoned soccer as a youngster to play football. “Last year I was a quarterback. I was really good at running back and I wasn't the best at quarterback. Coach wanted to get me out in the open field with the ball.

“I don't know the national average is but I know mine is better. If I keep averaging over 10 yards per carry, it will get college coaches to look at me. I want to get a lot of good film to send to coaches and be a good leader for my team.”

Key stats:

In the eight games, Palazzo has rushed for 611 yards for an average of 76.4 yards per game and 9.1 yards per carry. He has caught six passes for 135 yards for an average of 22.5 yards per catch. And he leads the 4A Metro League with 15 touchdowns and 90 points.

COACH'S TAKE:

“He is having a spectacular season and is a great kid that is looking to go to Air Force.”

Tyler Knoblock

Heritage football coach

Q&A with Palazzo

Who is your favorite athlete?

I've always like Charles Woodson and Aaron Rodgers. They are Packers and Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now.

What would be a perfect performance in your sport?

Over 160 yards and three touchdowns because I'm trying to keep the average up to 10.0 yards per carry and two touchdowns per game

What is your favorite class in school and why?

I just enjoy math and I'm calculus 3 right now.

What are your plans after high school?

Hopefully get into the Air Force Academy and if not got to a college and get a degree in engineering.

What is your favorite football play?

Power, which is just a run play

How to you feel about the new safety rules in football?

I don't like them that much because it changes football. Normally you could hit somebody hard and that was a great play, now it's a foul. It takes away from the game.

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