By Antonio Rossetti
Brock Janeda always believed that he’d play baseball at the next level.
Then, his junior year he jumped into a leadership position for the Spartans, and football became his calling.
“I would say the last couple games my junior year into the junior off-season was kind of the defining moment, realizing, ‘Hey, I may have a shot at playing legit football somewhere,’” Janeda said.
Janeda made the choice and earned a spot to play defensive back for the Duquesne Dukes where he is going to school for pre-law.
Last season, Janeda notched 77 total tackles and helped lead the team into the playoffs, earning a first-round victory over the Hampton Talbots.
Janeda was a team captain and was also the team's starting running back. He mustered 559 yards and tallied six touchdowns his senior season. He said that he loved going to school at Montour, and enjoyed his senior year as he got to spend time with his friends on and off the field.
He added that he’ll always be grateful for the school and the effort they put into athletics.
“We have first-class facilities getting a new turf baseball field, a new locker room, the weight room constantly being updated, the football locker room and everything,” Janeda said. “It was nothing short of amazing just being able to be a part of a school and take sports that serious.”
Over the summer, he has been practicing with the Dukes, and he’s noticed a major difference in practices compared to high school.
“These guys are just at a different level of intensity,” Janeda said. “Every practice is really no days off and it's every guy on the roster. I'd say 90% of the roster has goals to play in the NFL, compared to in high school, you got some guys just playing for fun. Some guys just play to be a part of the team.”
College football features some of the best talent around the country. Janeda sees that college football provides many challenges and competition, including in practices.
“Win or lose, everyone's fighting for your job,” Janeda said. “If you're a starter, you're not really a starter until that first game because your job is always on the line. It's a business when you get to college. You're playing against these phenomenal athletes and every guy's good, so you always have competition every day.”
Nevertheless, he added that the competition has made him a much better player.
“Competition breeds excellence,” Janeda said. “You're competing against these guys every single day. It's just constantly going to push you to be a better player. You don't want to be the guy that gets left in the dust. It’s kill or be killed. It’s cutthroat business at this point.”
The players are larger, the gaps close quicker, and the game is faster.
Janeda wants to learn over his first season from the experienced players. Although WPIAL football showcases the best talent in Western Pennsylvania, jumping to Division 1-AA is no easy task. Nonetheless, he said he is ready for the challenge.
“I’ve fared as well as a freshman could against some of these guys who are 24-25 years old,” Janeda said. “I've definitely held my own and stuck in there. It's just a huge difference.”
Janeda gets motivation from his parents. His father, Bob, played baseball at Youngstown State and was his coach in high school for baseball. He is grateful for both of his parents.
“He taught me how to compete and never backed down from a fight or that you may not be the biggest guy in the ring, but it doesn't mean you still can't have the biggest heart and still always compete,” Janeda said. “My mom (Barbara) has just always been really loving and always, always intense when it comes to sports and pushing me to be the best person I can, not letting me sit back on my heels and become lazy or complacent with how I am.”
As for the regular season, Janeda is taking it week-by-week and he has his mind set on his goal which is to “improve as a player overall.”