With so many kids from all over the country here in Dublin, Ohio, for the FBU Top Gun event, you find so many athletes with interesting stories.
Every kid has a different background and is from various states, so there’s some variety into what you find when talking to the players. For Connecticut quarterback John Paul Iaropoli, he carries a background with him that definitely stands out among the people here at the event.
From a football standpoint, Iaropoli is a player to watch for in the class of 2020. Standing at 5’8, 130 pounds, Iaropoli plays quarterback and has a big time arm for his age.
But Iaropoli’s story goes far beyond the football field, starting in a small town in the small state of Connecticut – Newtown.
As you may remember from 2012, Newtown experience one of the worst tragedies in recent memory when a gunman arrived a Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, and open fired on students and faculty.
It was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school or grade school in U.S. history, and the tragedy left a community in shambles.
For Iaropoli, who was in fifth grade when the shooting happened, he remembers how the town was so heavily affected by the event. But what he also remembers is how the game of football helped bring the community together over the following years.
“The football, it kind of rallied us all together after it happened,” Iaropoli said. “There were a lot of families that were affected by the incident that were football families. We just kind of let them know that being on the team, people were with them.”
Now, Iaropoli is developing into a solid football player in his own right, and said it means a lot of him to carry his hometown pride on his sleeve when he travels to Top Gun.
“It does mean a lot,” Iaropoli said. “I want to make a good impression for my town when I show up to Top Gun.’
On the field, Iaropoli carries a good story as well. He’s a quarterback for his Newtown Middle School team, and has been active on the camp scene this year. He talked about what he likes about playing quarterback so much.
“I like kind of being the head of the offense,” Iaropoli said. “We run no-huddle, so it’s quick when we are moving, and I can talk directly to the coach a lot. I like that kind of stuff.”
Iaropoli brings a solid level of athleticism to the position, and knows what both his strengths and weaknesses are on the field.
“My strengths are that I have a good deep ball,” Iaropoli said. “My deep ball is pretty good because I can throw pretty far. I’m also quick and can run. My weakness is probably my short accuracy.”
This will be Iaropoli’s first event with FBU, and he’s looking forward to finally getting a chance after missing on the opportunity last year. He was invited to the Top Gun event, but due to certain circumstances, he was unable to attend.
He has made sure to stay busy this summer, as he gets ready for Top Gun. He went to a quarterback camp with Chris Johnston, where he worked on getting quicker feet, his drop backs, and improving his short game accuracy.
Now that he’s finally here at Top Gun, he’s looking forward to the competition, and making a name for himself.
“I’m looking forward to all the kids there from different states, seeing how I matchup against them,” Iaropoli. “I’ve never really been able to compete with other kids from different states in football. My main goal for the event is on my evaluation sheet to at least get all ‘goods’.”
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