This year marks the 10th Annual Tampa Bay High School Football Combine, presented by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. With so many exceptional student-athletes in attendance, we'd like to provide the opportunity to get to know the players a little before they hit the field at this year's combine.
Larry Dalla Betta, 6'2", 170lbs.
Class of 2017, Quarterback, JW Mitchell High School, FL
Q: "What do you think distinguishes you from every other player in the nation?"
A: "Commitment to hard work, training, and on-field success... my size for my age and athletic ability."
Q: "What do you hope to gain out of your participation in the Tampa Bay High School Football Combine?"
A: "I would like to continue to gain confidence in all that I do related to my sport which translates to being prepared to handle all situations. Competing against the best is how you get better."
Q: "What are your strengths? What do you need to improve on?"
A: "My physical strengths are my size, speed, and athletic ability. I throw on-the-run very well and have a strong arm. I am still working on reading defenses and making the right decisions both pre-play and after the snap. I am in my fourth year of training at the Kaleo Quarterback Academy which, in my opinion, is a strength on its own. Coach Kaleo is a fantastic teacher of the QB position."
Q: "What extracurricular or community involvement activities do you participate in? What are your hobbies outside of football?"
A: "I am a volunteer girls softball coach in the West Pasco Girls Fastpitch League. I have volunteered my time with the "Homes for Our Troops" organization helping at the landscaping days for new homes built for severely wounded veterans. I am also on my school's basketball team and a member of the Naval ROTC. I like to lift weights, run, fish and occasionally, get a game of golf in with my dad."
Q: "Which player, if any, do you model your game after or often get compared to by your teammates on the field?"
A: "Tom Brady"
Q: "How have you evolved over the years as a player?"
A: "My leadership and confidence level has grown each year at the QB position. I led my 8th grade team to an undefeated season under a very knowledgable QB/offensive coach, Pete DiNovo, Sr. (his son is a QB at UCF), and continued my on field success at JW Mitchell High School starting at QB every game for the JV squad as a freshman, and I was pulled up to varsity at the end of the year. My throwing ability has improved greatly, along with my footwork. My height gives me the advantage to see over the hectic line battle during a play. I have the field vision, speed, and strength to run, as well."
Q: "What is your proudest moment in football?"
A: "Leading my middle school team (Seven Springs) to an undefeated season is a highlight. Beating the other undefeated team with a 4th Q, 3:00 drive to score the winning TD with 29 seconds to play. I am also proud of my MVP selection for defense when my PAL team won the Super Bowl a few years ago. My most recent proud moment was making it to the Elite 8 at the 2014 Tampa Quarterback Challenge and eventually finishing in second place by one point. There were 97 QB's in the Challenge and to end up second made me and my family proud."
Q: "What is your proudest moment off the field?"
A: "My proudest moment off the field is not anything I personally accomplished, but what my older brother has accomplished. My brother is a Marine and lost both legs above the knee in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan in November of 2010. I spent a lot of time with him at the hospital in DC. I went there on my holiday breaks from school and spent a long time with him during the summer months. I am most proud of how hard he has worked to walk again, run again, and compete in wheelchair games. He is now in his own specially adapted home and has a great job."
Q: "What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why?"
A: "Sylvester Stallone, because I am Italian and I bust my butt on and off the field training to get better each day."
Q: "What TV show marathon will keep you on the couch all day?"
A: "Walking Dead"
Q: "Who/what has been the biggest influence on football in your life? How so?"
A: "My Dad. He loves the game and has coached me from the age of five. He has and continues to provide me with the resources to improve my game. Now that I am in high school, he is my biggest supporter."
Q: "What honors or awards have you received (both athletic and non-athletic)?"
A: "Honor Roll Q1 and Q2 of my first year in high school with expectations of finishing this first year on the Honor Roll in Q3 and Q4. I was selected as the Top 2017 QB at a Football University Camp in Tampa and earned a spot in the FBU Top Gun camp in Williamsburg, Virginia. I was named Defensive MVP in a PAL Super Bowl game, as well as playing QB and TE. I was awarded an Elite 8 plaque in the Tampa Quarterback Challenge, January 2014. As a freshman this past fall, I was brought up to the varsity team, a first for a freshman QB at my school."
Q: "What is your favorite movie?"
Q: "Who is your favorite NFL team?"
A: "Da Bears"
Q: "What is your favorite web site?"
A: "DeBartolo Sports" (We may be detecting a bit of brown-nosing, but thanks Larry!)
Q: "What is your favorite food?"
A: "Steak and chicken"
Q: "Have you received any college interest?"
A: "I am receiving several letters and emails, some with stronger interest than others but at least they know who I am and where I go to school. Colleges that have contacted me to date are; Clemson (letter to my school addressed to me), Miami (three letters), NW Missouri State, University of Indiana, University of Redlands, Vanderbilt, University of Texas, Rice, University of Chicago, University of Georgia, Bucknell, Lawrence University, University of Virginia, Tufts University, Hanover University, Fairleigh Dickinson, Warner, Washington University (St. Louis), and North Dakota State."
Q: "What are your statistics from last season?"
A: "Starting JV QB at JW Mitchell running a run happy double wing offense: 35 complete out of 54 attempts for 543 yards, 7 TD passes, 65% completion, 15.5 yards per pass, 6 extra point pass completions, 17 rushing attempts for 148 yards. 5 wins, 3 losses."