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Real Talk with QBV#7 Former NFL Player and Personal Trainer Dillon Salva

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

On Tuesday July 28th QBV had the chance to speak with DIllon Salva about his unique playing career. Salva was a two star athlete in High School playing Football and Basketball. He was recruited by many great schools to be a Tight end or a Defensive End. Due to academic problems he went to Kean University in New Jersey.

After two years he transferred to a JUCO school and played Basketball there. From there he transferred to Merrimack to play Basketball and Football. His senior year he caught attention from NFL scouts and even was signed by the Washington Football Team for Training camp.

Dillon Salva has had an impractical journey, but he worked his tail off to fulfill his dream of being in the NFL! Lets take a look at how our conversation with Salva went.

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What drew you to play Football?

It’s like you either play a sport, or you didn’t. Football was the one, my Grandfather was an All-American Running Back in High School, he had an offer from pretty much everywhere in the country. He actually chose to go to the military, he actually went to the same High School as Dwayne Jarrett, who played for USC, He was the all-time leading receiver in the Pac 12 until I think Robert Woods broke it a couple years ago. There was a big article with Dwayne and my Grandfather in the newspaper.

My Dad ended up playing Tight End and Defensive End, which is what I ended up playing. He had an offer from Nebraska when they were number one in the country, Football just ran in my blood, he ended up going to Memphis University, then transferred and played at Rutgers. He was with the Jets in a rookie minicamp and I think he blew his back out.

My uncle is my High School’s all-time leading scorer in Basketball and he was also a Quarterback. My Dad was always my coach, growing up I started playing Football in fifth grade, he coached me in flag, Pop Warner, up until Freshman year of High School...

My senior year of High School I was All-State, All-County, All-Area, All-Conference, for Football. For Basketball I was All-Division, All-Area, I want to say All-Conference, I wasn’t All-State, for Basketball, but I had offers for both sports. What drew me to Football was the weight room aspect, I love pumping iron and working out!”

You were a two-star athlete, in HS, what kind of offers were you getting to play each sport?

“What screwed me in the end was that I ended up with a 1.9 GPA, because I wasn’t dumb I just couldn’t have enough fun, I was always getting in trouble and not paying attention in school. Which everybody should do and needs to do if they are hearing this and are younger than me, you have to do that s***, although I ended up where I wanted to be, it was a much rockier road than it had to be.

My first one was Boston College, the defensive line coach came in and worked me out in our weight room, he left after that he saw my grades and said best of luck. Temple came in the Defensive Line coach, a lot of my offers were for Defensive End, he came in, he said he would see me at my Basketball game that night, this was during Basketball season, he was going to offer depending on how I looked, I assumed I would have gotten the offer because I was dunking on people, then he went to my guidance counselor and he saw my GPA and said the same thing, so I never heard from them.

I had an offer to Houston, an offer to Middle Tennessee State. One day I was walking down the hall, my coach yelled from behind me, ‘Hey Salva, want to play in the SEC?’  I was like yeah obviously, and he said he got me a full ride to Vanderbilt, he said I had to finish the year off with a minimum of B’s. In my head all I heard was I got a full ride to Vanderbilt, the B’s and getting good grades went out the window.

I had real good offers like that, Fordham, Monmouth, I ended up committing to Monmouth, then they told me ten days before camp, that the people in charge of grades weren’t going to let me in, no matter how good my ACT score was...”

What made you go to Kean University?

I played in the North, South All-Star game in High School and it was held at Kean, none of the Kean coaches, coached the game but they were all around, they got players in the game. At the time that’s when I was committed to Monmouth, I ended up bulls******* with the Kean coaches a lot. Their facilities were next to none, the training facilities, the Football field, the Basketball Arena, because I was playing both sports there as well at one point. Just a great facility, when you are there you know nothing else about it, you don’t really see what they have to offer, that kind of really drew my attention.

Especially since I didn’t have anywhere to go, I was going to go to a prep school in NJ, at the time they were allowed six post grad players and I was the sixth guy. I was late, being that Monmouth did that to me, then NJ changed their rule from six post grads to four they didn’t do any special favors, they kept the first four that signed, which is the right way to do it. So that is what brought to me to Kean.”

I have transferred two times just like you, but what made you transfer to a JUCO school?

So, I transferred to Brookdale just for Basketball. When I was at Kean I medical redshirted my Freshman year, my redshirt Freshman year I had started at Outside Linebacker for a package that was pretty much 50/50 with the actual starter. I was on the Basketball team for a day and I had a little run in with the coach, I got kicked off.

I had come in as a Tight End, before I had gotten hurt my Freshman year we scrimmaged against Princeton. I was at D-End for that and I had not played it at all prior, I had two sacks, five TFL’s, a pass breakup, just a good game, so they switched me.

The second year is when I had playing time for real, once the whole Basketball thing fell through, I was playing a new position constantly, every year I would have played a different position. Being kicked off the Basketball team I figured I needed to find something else to do. That’s what really made me leave Kean...”