Former Pitman High receiver David Gianesin had only a few days to decide whether to drop everything, including collegiate athletics and forgo this semester of academics in order to pursue his dream of playing football at the professional level.
Gianesin, who was in the middle of volleyball season at Bluefield College, had completed his senior season with the Rams football team about a year ago, a team that competes in the NAIA.
But he was missing something in his life—football—and perhaps the opportunity to play again.
“I honestly did not expect to get a phone call as quickly as I did,” said Gianesin. “I had to speak to my parents and everyone and I dropped everything and it was hard for me... but I'm pursuing my dream and I am so glad I made that decision.”
After being selected to compete in the USA College Senior Bowl game, Gianesin got a glimpse of what it would take to compete at the next level and he knew he was near.
“I was playing with a ton of guys from Division I schools and there were so many scouts,” said Gianesin. “I spoke with guys who played in arena football and contacted some coaches and within two days I got an offer from the Chicago Eagles after posting my highlight tape and everything on Europlayers (a website for players looking to play professionally in Europe).”
The Chicago Eagles is part of Champions Indoor Football, which is a professional indoor American football league that was created in 2014 following a merger between the Champions Professional Indoor Football League and the Lone Star Football League.
The league also includes one team from the Indoor Football League and two expansion teams.
“It's crazy how God works like that,” said Gianesin. “But arena football is really a different game, the field is collapsed more closely and I am adjusting to the learning curve.”
Gianesin, who is 6-foot-4, has the height to attract multiple scouts and is weighing in at around 185.
“Right now I want to get to 215 because I think that would be an ideal size and to really get recognized,” said Gianesin. “I do feel that my hands are definitely my biggest upside and asset, I can catch in traffic really well.”
As a senior in 2014, Gianesin led the Rams of Bluefield in every receiving category, including receptions (37), yards (466) and average yards a game (42.4).
In his first game with the Eagles on March 18, Gianesin played the entire second half and hauled in four grabs for 50 yards, including a fourth down grab that kept the drive alive.
“It’s different and you get hit most of the time; you are always getting hit and your body takes a toll on that for sure,” said Gianesin.
In his second game with the Eagles this past Saturday, Gianesin led the team with seven receptions and had 43 yards and a touchdown in the team’s first win of the year, over Bloomington Edge from Ohio, 40-37.
“They are getting to know who I am since I am barely going into my third week here,” said Gianesin.
“I would pursue the NFL if the opportunity arises,” said Gianesin.
Gianesin has been clocked in at 4.5 seconds for his 40-yard dash and a 34 and a half vertical.
The next game for Gianesin will be at home in Chicago at the UIC Pavilion against the Omaha Beef on April 9.