Colin Holba, Eastern c/o 2012, was recently drafted by his favorite NFL franchise, the Pittsburg Steelers. They selected him as a long snapper in the 6th round with the 213th draft pick. He was the only long snapper selected in the draft and was the highest pick from the University of Louisville Cardinals.
Colin spent some time in this very busy weeks catching up with the alma mater.
Interview by sports marketing students Riley Hall and Courtland Parker.
How does it feel to be drafted into the NFL?
It’s incredible. It still hasn’t even sank in yet. I think once I get to Pittsburgh it’ll hit me. But so far it’s still really cool to see my name on the steelers website.
How have you evolved into an NFL player, from an Eastern player?
A lot! I didn’t even play football my senior year. (While I was on the team) Coach Whalen pulled me off punt coverage because I wasn’t “involved” in tackling enough my junior year and now I’ve tackled a first round draft pick (LSU Tradavious White #18). So it’s been a lot of snapping and I was able to put 70 pounds on and grow 2 inches so I think I’m a totally different player than I was in high school.
How was your experience as an athlete at Eastern?
It was great. The whole student body being a basketball fan, being able to play with my best friends for 5 years with baseball. All of those memories are ones I still go back and visit. Coach Davis was a person who always made football fun for me and motivated me to do my very best and compete no matter what.
Was there any one moment that you would relive on the football field?
The Clemson game this past year. Even though we lost I made a tackle and we hit a game tying field goal that was huge in the 4th quarter. It was such an incredible atmosphere and we had some big moments on special teams that’s a game I’ll never forget.
When did you realize you were good enough to go to the NFL?
I go to special teams camps every summer and the summer going into my junior season I started to see how I stacked up against the other guys. I never imagined I was going to be a draft pick. I just always wanted to work my best and try to be the best snapper I could be.
Who or what experiences shaped you into the player you are today?
Being a baseball manager at Louisville my freshman year showed me work ethic and it had me close enough to a sport without being a player it helped me appreciate every opportunity I got. (Note: Before walking on to the University of Louisville football team Colin served as a team manager on the baseball team.)
Tell us how you got started in the game of football?
My whole family plays football so it was always something that was around me. I got started snapping in 5th grade and was always sort of a natural at it. So when playing QB didn’t work out the way I thought it would snapping was my best shot to continue to being an athlete.
Who or what made you want to play football?
Again I had uncles play football in college and my brother and dad played football. It was just something that I grew up with.
In high school did you ever think you would be where you are today? Why?
No shot. I didn’t even play football my senior year. I always loved the game I just didn’t think I would be given opportunities to continue playing.
What do you want to accomplish being a part of the NFL?
I first want to make the team. Being drafted is one thing. But I want to play on Sunday’s too. From there just being able to help in my community by using the platform would be a goal of mine.
How do you feel playing for the Steelers?
They were my favorite team all growing up so knowing that they were just interested was amazing. Then when they called me it was a dream come true.
How does your family feel about you accomplishing such a goal?
They all cried. Nobody thought that I would play football again then making the Louisville team, and then playing and getting put on scholarship it’s all just icing on top. They are very proud and are thrilled I can continue to do something I love.
How do you feel knowing you were the only long snapper selected in the 2017 NFL draft?
It’s pretty incredible. Very rarely are snappers selected in the draft so to be the highest Louisville player taken this year as well as the only snapper it’s something that could be a fun trivia fact in the future.