De Braga has pro options
The time has come to see if the NFL thinks Trevor de Braga is ready to be given a shot at primetime.
With the NFL Draft beginning on Thursday, teams will finally reveal who they feel is ready to play on Sundays, while some athletes will be disappointed when their name is not called in New York.
Nevertheless for de Braga, a 2008 Fallon grad, he has his options lined up if the NFL does not come calling. And as history has proven, de Braga could be in the spotlight in a few years or even next season if his overseas career takes off in either Brazil, Australia or the Czech Republic.
“Any kid who wants to be a professional thinks they have to be in the NFL,” de Braga said last month before signing with Agency Athlete sports agency. “But as you get older through high school and college, you begin to learn about the other professional league in the world and you’re still considered a professional athlete. If the NFL doesn’t work out and I get to play on a CFL (Canadian Football League), AFL (Arena Football League) or European team, I will not be heartbroken by any means. I will use that as motivation to get to the NFL, and hopefully put of good statistics to catch NFL scouts’ eyes.”
De Braga, who played college ball with his two brothers, Trent and Frank, at Division II Colorado Mesa, returned home last year after graduation. He and his childhood best friend, Ryan McCormick, helped Brooke Hill on defense and special teams last fall as the Greenwave reached the state championship game for the first time in more than 30 years.
De Braga said the coaching experience opened his eyes even more, making him realize he has more to give to the game.
“As an athlete you are asked to perform a certain way and most of the time it’s tough, or not exactly what you want to do,” he said. “You have to get out of your comfort zone. Coaching football with Coach Hill taught me a lot of patience. Kids are kids and like to have a good time and sometimes like to mess around when it’s time to be serious. I’ve never been a screamer or a big talker but I think coaching has brought that out a little in me.”
What’s the biggest lesson to take from coaching?
“Being told what to do is easier said than done,” de Braga said. “I can tell the kids exactly what to do and if they mess up, I can say I’ve been in their shoes and know what I ask of them is tough or near impossible at times.”
After Fallon’s state run in November, de Braga enlisted the help of fellow grad Tyler Simper, who runs his own training/sports conditioning business with Stephen Snyder in Reno. Simper helped de Braga change his diet, add muscle and improve his combine times this year.
“This past fall I finally told myself if I want to play football, I need to start training and get serious about it,” de Braga said. “I missed football a lot. Being out of the game for a season and playing again is what I definitely wanted to do.”
De Braga participated in two NFL combines, one in Los Angeles in February and a second in Indianapolis in March. He also added another combine experience in Florida with EUROstopwatch, which feeds information to not only the NFL but other professional and semi-professional leagues.
Heading into the draft, though, de Braga has offers to play overseas, which is all-expenses paid and he would receive a monthly stipend. And if this is the approach that will someday land de Braga in the NFL and join his Fallon brothers Harvey Dahl and Josh Mauga, his family and friends are 100 percent behind him.
“My support system from them and my parents is hands down the best. I couldn’t do any of this without my parents and my grandpa Ted,” de Braga added. “They’re the ones forking out the money for me to pursue my dreams. Money for hotels, rental cars and flights adds up real quick and being a broke college grad would make it impossible to get to do any of these combines.”
By being the older brother, de Braga doesn’t feel pressure to make Trent and Frank proud. He knows their support is second to none and his dream still goes on after all three played together for one season in 2013.
“There has always been that competitive edge between all three of us but never a competition on who makes it further in life,” he said. “They’re my brothers and my best friends, and no matter what happens, we will always be that way. I know the kind of people they are, and nothing but successful is how they will end up.”