The Life of a Long Snapper: The Matt Overton Story
Matt Overton grew up in the small town on Tracy, CA. His mom, the daughter of a football coach, worked two jobs when he was young. His father, a former college football player, was a police captain. His grandfather was a legendary college football coach in the state of Washington. It is this influence as a young man that raised Matt Overton to work hard and never give up on his dreams. He tried out for his first pop-warner football team at 8 years old. “The first year I tried out for the Tracy Raiders I was cut. I can still remember the day like it was yesterday.” Matt went on to play in another youth football league and eventually made the team that cut him. He played for them through the eighth grade.
Matt went on to become a two way starter in high school, becoming a team captain, playing both on the offensive and defensive lines. It was in high school where Matt was introduced to the art of long snapping. He took to the snapping abilities and showed a great knack and talent for the art. In high school Matt did not take the long snapping position to serious he was more concerned with playing the defensive end and linebacker positions on defense.
Matt was not offered any scholarships out of high school. He decided to attend Diablo Valley College, a junior college in Pleasant Hill, CA. During his first year at DVC he earned Special Teams MVP and team captain. This gained Matt notoriety from four year schools and he started to receive scholarship and preferred walk-on opportunities. It was here in junior college where under the tutelage of the coaching staff Matt realized the importance of the long snapping position and the opportunities it could offer him as a full scholarship player at a four year school and in his pro career aspirations.
After two years in junior college Matt accepted a scholarship to Western Washington University because he wanted to play defense. He played DE and Long Snapper at WWU. It was early on at WWU when Matt got the opportunity to showcase his long snapping abilities to pro scouts during WWU punter Michael Koenen pro-day workouts for theSeattle Seahawks. Although he played as an undersized DE in college Matt was completely focused on long snapping and realized it was his ticket into the professional football ranks.
After two great years as a DE/Long Snapper and being team captain he participated in three pro day workouts as a Long Snapper. Matt’s performance as a Long Snapper in those workouts gained him a lot of NFL exposure.
Matt Overton is never the best athlete on the field. He will not be the biggest player on the field, won’t run the fastest 40 yard dash, and will not have the highest vertical jump. What Matt Overton brings to the table is a tenacity to complete the mission on the field and in life. He will not quit until the job is done. His leadership skills are quickly realized and respected by his peers on and off the field. It is this drive and motivation that has Matt Overton in the place he is in today with the Omaha Nighhawks of the UFL.
In 2007 Matt was invited to the Seattle Seahawks mini-camp. After the camp he was released without being offered a contract. Showing no quit he went and played for the Tri-Cities Fever of the af2, an indoor football league. He wanted to stay in shape and keep playing football. He was not going to give up on his dream of playing in the NFL. After playing for the Fever in 2008 he went back to school and earned his college degree.
After completing his degree he went back home to CA where he began to workout with local NFL athletes. He attended several free agent camps and combines. In the inaugural season of the UFL in 2009 Matt realized the great opportunity to play football in a league with NFL proven coaches. He once again showcased the hard work ethic installed in him at a very young age. He networked and showcased his workout tapes to anyone and everyone that would look at them and listen to him.
He got word from Todd Sauerbrun, then a member of the Florida Tuskers, of a long snapping position open on the team. Matt immediately contacted Al Roberts, the special team’s coordinator of the Florida Tuskers, and was flown down for a workout. He was signed by the Florida Tuskers of the UFL. Al Roberts and Matt Overton turned out to have a special connection. Al Roberts was recruited and played for Matt’s grandfather in college.
During his first season in the UFL with the Florida Tuskers Matt learned a lot from Coach Jim Hasslet, kicker Matt Bryan, and punter Todd Sauerbrun. The Tuskers went on to have a great season and competed in the UFL championship game against the Las Vegas Locomotives in 2009.
Once again the Seattle Seahawks called in the early part of 2010. Matt was invited to tryout against five other long snappers. He was signed and released pre-season due to a foot injury that occurred during training.
Showing the grit and determination instilled in him by his family and coaches through his career Matt went into rehab to get his foot ready to play. After making a few phone calls and showing patience Matt was signed by the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL in 2010.
Matt Overton went on to have a great season in Omaha and was named among the UFL’s Top-10 two year players.
Matt is now a member of the Omaha Nighthawks and is preparing for his third season in the UFL. He has been working out and training with several NFL/UFL athletes. He is very active in his hometown community and puts on an annual charity event Pros 2 Youth.
What is a long snapper? ‘I have never heard of a long snapper.’ Why is a long snapper being featured?
The special skill positions in the game of football are not talked about much but are vital to the game. A long snapper play’s the center position on punt and field goal opportunities. He is responsible for getting the ball to the punter or kick holder is a timely manner (0.7 seconds). He also has to block a defensive lineman and cover on the kick coverage unit. Without a consistent long snapper the special teams unit and the team suffers. Many games are won and lost on special teams.
There are a few people in his life that have helped and influenced Matt along the way. Al Roberts taught Matt important skills and helped evolve his long snapping skills into what they are today. Paul Assad who has been his snapping coach since leaving college and has always believed in him. His college head coach Robin Ross who was a mentor early on in his NFL opportunity. Mike Posey has served as Matt’s mentor and Todd Sauerbrun who took Matt under his wing during his first season in the UFL. There are also the family and friends who have believed in Matt and have never given up on him since day one!
Look for Matt Overton on the Omaha Nighthawks this year. The UFL season starts in August! Are you ready for football?