By Jean DePlacido
Jonathan Loyte might just be getting that big break he has been waiting for. The former Boston College tight end from Gloucester has been invited to the New York Giants mini camp that starts April 29th and runs through the weekend.
The former St. John's Prep star got word from his agent Sean Stellato that the Giants wanted to take a closer look at him.
"It's a great opportunity for Jon because he'll be evaluated for four days and he could earn a contract," said Stellato. "There's a lot of demand for a tight end who is also a long snapper. He hoped to be drafted right out of college, but things didn't work out. Jon has remained committed and he's in great shape."
Loyte, who just turned 25, is 6-foot-5 and has trimmed down to 263 pounds. This week he worked out with Holy Cross star quarterback Dominic Randolph, who also has Stellato as his agent.
"I'm very excited," said Loyte. "I'm not going to have the butterflies; if it happens it happens. It's a great opportunity for me, a real chance to make something out of it. Not many people get invited to camps and this will give me a chance to get my foot in the door along with all the draft picks. They sign guys at the mini camp, so I'm going to work as hard as I can to be at my best. It's great because I'll have three full days as opposed to only a couple of hours at a tryout. I'm a lot faster now that I'm a little lighter and it's easier to get out on the routes."
If things work out, Loyte will be reunited with his former St. John's teammate Jon Goff, who worked his way into the starting linebacker position last season after being drafted by the Giants after an illustrious career at Vanderbilt. Loyte played at Vandy for two years, before transferring to BC. Two years ago he was invited to a Tampa Bay mini camp, so he knows what it entails.
"It would be great to be with Jon again because he's a good friend. We've stayed in close touch and I'd love the opportunity to play with him. Jack Bicknell Jr. is on the coaching staff there, and he was one of my coaches in my fifth year at BC."
Loyte has been staying in top shape while working as a personal trainer at the Beverly Athletic Club. In his free time he works out every chance he gets.
"That's been my life for the last four months," said Loyte. "I'm lighter and quicker now, which really helps me. I'm hoping I'll be more attractive to teams because I've become very good at long snapping. It's a lot harder than it looks to snap the ball hard 15 yards back while trying to block at the same time. It took lots of practice, but I feel very comfortable doing it now. I don't care where I play as long as I can keep playing football."
Loyte was a member of the Mahoning Valley Thunder in Youngstown, Ohio in the Arena League last year. Because the indoor game is so much faster he believes that experience helped him.
"That's extremely fast football, and your reaction times have to be much quicker than outdoors," said Loyte. "It's all about scoring in Arena. I was out in Youngstown for four months and it was a good experience traveling all over for games. It's pretty intense out there and they love football. We always had good crowds and we went to some places where they totally packed a basketball or hockey arena. It's a whole different game, but lots of fun to play. I had to bulk up to 280 pounds for it because they wanted me to be more a blocker fullback type."
Stellato feels Loyte has the tools to make it.
"Jon is fresh, and he's smart. He has a lot to offer, and he won't have any trouble learning the playbook," said Stellato. "He's a great kid, and although I'm sure he's been frustrated at times he stayed with it. Now he can go in there and make some noise."