Darin Slack was an All-American quarterback at the University of Central Florida, and the Founder/President of NFA has trained thousands of young QBs over the years.
When he started working with Trevor Siemian, Slack knew he was a special talent.
“I trained Trevor from sixth grade until ninth grade,” Slack said. “One of the first things I noted was his great feet. Trevor had incredily fast feet. He was very athletic and played multiple sports at that time. We were constantly trying to work through that process. And we worked through mechanical issues as we do with all the young men. But he was very, very quick and that always played in his favor.”
Siemian continued working with NFA and Will Hewlett and wound up starring at Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla.
After that, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder went on to play college ball at Northwestern in the Big Ten, and Siemian ranked among the Wildcats’ all-time leaders with nearly 6,000 yards passing and 27 touchdowns.
Drafted by Broncos
In the NFL draft earlier this month, Siemian went to the Denver Broncos on the seventh round. He’ll have a chance to learn and develop under future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. “An unbelievable opportunity,” Siemian told reporters.
While Slack knows a good quarterback when he sees one, he wasn’t predicting the NFL for Siemian a decade ago.
“I’ve only had that with a handful of kids,” Slack said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that with Trevor. I definitely saw college in his future. I wasn’t sure about the NFL because he had to devlop as a passer. Where he played, they didn’t pass that much. He had to develop into that, and he did. He did the work necessary to develop into the passer he needed to be. I think you put all the athleticism together with his good, strong arm, and he pulled it together. Good for him.”
Slack is proud of Siemian starring in high school, college and now getting a shot to play in the NFL. But he’s able to keep the success in perspective.
“Is there some pride? Sure,” Slack said. “But I think you have to take that in context as well. There were a lot of people that influenced Trevor. One of the things I think is important, in my job we take great pride in being able to help play a small part in helping these guys achieve their dream. But I think there are those in our industry that lose perspective and think it was all them. I think that’s an unfortunate reality because it takes away from the great influence of the many others who had an opportunity to help the young man achieve his goal.”
It takes a team
Having been around the game of football as a standout player and coach, Slack knows it takes a team of support to create success.
“I don’t think anybody got there on their own with just one guy,” Slack said. “I think it’s a group of people, and we played our role and we’re very grateful to do so. If he were to say one day, ‘Yeah, they helped me a lot,’ that would be great. But we don’t rest on that because it’s harder, we live in a world where people are looking to get the credit for somebody that they put in the league. It’s becoming nauseating because I’ve spent most of my life trying to help kids be more that just football players, be more than just quarterbacks.
“Not every kid is going to the chance to do what Trevor is doing. It is nice when one makes it, absolutely. But can I take credit for it? Only in the context knowing that I did everything I could to help him and influence where he was at that time of his life. Yeah, it was a critical time, no question about it, and it’s gratifying to have played a part.”