Armando Sanchez had a plan when he got to USF. He wanted to maximize his time in college, and work as hard as he could to leave school with multiple degrees.
But he probably did not envision the rigors of this past spring semester when he came up with his plan to get his undergraduate degree in three years. Sanchez loaded up on classes, taking 19 credit hours to ensure he would graduate with his communications degree next month.
Then the coaches came to him with a question. Would he be willing to move from linebacker to fullback? Sanchez was more than happy to make the switch because he saw it as an opportunity to get more playing time.
He has mainly been a special-teams ace during his USF career, but lining up as more of an every-down player appealed to him. So he took the opportunity.
That meant Sanchez spent the spring learning an entirely new playbook, while taking an overloaded class schedule. The result – he ended the spring on top of the depth chart at fullback.
“The transition itself wasn’t too difficult,” Sanchez said in a recent phone interview. “I haven’t necessarily learned all of the playbook yet, but I have a good grasp of what we installed in the spring. I’ve got lots to learn because I’m so new at it.”
You can bet his incredible work ethic will help him get up to speed quickly during fall camp. Sanchez has a reputation as one of the hardest working players on the team, both on and off the field. He was presented with the Meineke Car Care Bowl Leadership Award at the end of the season.
After posting 13 tackles as a redshirt freshman, he upped that number to 20 last season. As a result of his work on the Bulls' kick coverage teams, Sanchez was recognized as a team captain in four games, the most of any special-teamer.
In addition, Sanchez was an Academic All-Big East selection in both 2009 and 2010 and posted a 4.0 GPA during the fall semester. He also has spent time volunteering with the Florida Wildlife Commission and Mildred Helms Elementary School.
He is set to graduate Aug. 6 and has applied to graduate school to get his masters in physical education. So where does he get his incredible work ethic?
“That’s something that was instilled in me, to work hard especially in academics and athletics as well,” he said. “In high school, if you don’t have good grades you can’t play football. That stuck with me throughout childhood, having to work hard for what you have. I look at football as a privilege and education as a privilege because not everyone is in the position us as athletes are in. From an early age, I knew to work hard for everything I have.”
Look for that to continue on the field this fall, where he hopes to play a role in helping USF get a 1,000-yard running back. Expectations are high with Darrell Scott joining the mix.
“My goal when I’m in there is to clear holes for them and help them out and help the team become much better than it was,” Sanchez said. “We can always progress and get better.”