Former Wake Forest punter Dom Maggio, a native of Monkton, Md., has returned to his hometown to compete for a spot with the Baltimore Ravens after signing a deal with the team as an undrafted free agent.
Maggio is second in Wake Forest history in punts (291) and yards (12,703). Before going down to North Carolina, Maggio attended Boys’ Latin in Baltimore. Now, he’s back in town.
“My dream was always to play in the NFL and I certainly worked super hard to get to this point. I had a lot of great people around me at Wake Forest and also at home with the help of my dad,” Maggio said on Glenn Clark Radio June 26. “I definitely hoped and dreamed and prayed on an opportunity like this, but to be with the hometown team with the Ravens out of 32 teams, it is funny how that worked out.
“And it’s super cool to be home and playing for that hometown team. I never would have guessed it would have been the Ravens.”
When training camp starts, the 6-foot-1, 192-pound Maggio will have to compete against Ravens veteran punter Sam Koch for a single spot on the roster, and he knows that won’t be easy. Even if Maggio doesn’t get that spot, he can still be picked up by another team if he performs well during training camp.
Maggio said he doesn’t want to miss any opportunities to get better and improve his game.
“The specialist position is tough — punter, kicker, snapper and you can only carry one [each],” Maggio said. “And obviously going up against the veteran is always tough. You really have to beat them. And that’s something where the competitor in me, I want to play for the Baltimore Ravens … so I’m just going to go in and compete every day.”
Even though Koch’s spot on the team is nearly certain — he signed a two-year extension in March — Maggio said he wants to learn from Koch, who has spent his entire career in Baltimore after being drafted by the Ravens in 2006.
Maggio said that he wants to learn different techniques from Koch as well as when to use them. He compared the variations that Koch uses to golf swings.
“Just learning those different bags of punts that he has, almost like a golf swing, and trying to figure out when to use those things situationally, so obviously a ton of respect for him,” Maggio said.
Maggio said he’s lucky to be able to ask Koch questions and talk football in general. He’s been getting to know Koch and other players virtually so that things are smoother when everyone gets to camp.
Those conversations have been helpful for Maggio, and he knows that learning from Koch in person when training camp starts will be beneficial for him.
“Whenever I get to pick Sam’s brain, it’s always great to learn from one of the best and he’s been around for a long time,” Maggio said. “He’s certainly loved and appreciated around here, as he should be. I’m looking forward to just getting around him more and more and just competing every day and pushing each other to get better and then also taking away whatever I can from his great knowledge.”
Maggio said he’s always had a good support system and people around him who help him and want to see him succeed. He gives a lot of credit to his father, Kirk, who has mentored him throughout his life. Kirk serves as a sounding board when Dom wants to talk about things with someone who has been through the process.
Kirk was an All-American punter for UCLA, and although he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1990, he never played in an NFL regular-season game. Dom said his father has been selfless and supportive, and he hasn’t put extra pressure on him to create a legacy. He said that his whole family sees this as his own journey to take.
“I don’t think about it that way. In terms of any added pressure, everyone knows that this is my time now and this is my dream. … He’s given me a ton of time and he’s been super selfless with his time on the field with me,” Dom Maggio said.
Maggio knows that he may not wind up staying in Baltimore after training camp, and he also knows that he might not get picked up by another team if that happens. But he said he doesn’t want to look too far in the future.
“I’ve always had that mentality that you can always be the top guy, but you might not make the NFL,” Maggio said. “There’s that reality, but my hopes are high and I’m just positive and working hard to win every day. And that’s my mindset.”
For more from Maggio, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics