Each week we will feature a college football player who is either a member or an officer in a Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.
College: North Carolina State University
Height, weight, class, position: 6-7, 297 pounds, junior, offensive tackle
High School: Chaminade-Julienne, Dayton, Ohio
About Andrew Jomantas: The Ohio native is a redshirt junior left offensive tackle for the Wolfpack and president of the NC State Uplifting Athletes chapter. In 2011 he was a regular on the special teams, and last season Jomantas saw action in 11 games, getting snaps from scrimmage on the offensive line in seven of those games. This season he moved to left tackle and is second on the depth chart at the all-important position up front.
As a player, what is your favorite part of game day you get to experience at your home stadium?
Jomantas: Game day in Raleigh is truly a special experience, especially with the loyal fan base that comes out to see us play. My favorite experience during the day would probably be when we get to the stadium before the game and do the Walk of Champions. It’s a brief walk from our buses to the locker room that is always lined with Wolfpack fans. It is truly an honor to see all the support we have before the game and it is also a good chance for us as players to give a few high fives, say thank you for the support, and possibly even make someone’s day.
What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?
Jomantas: Throughout my career at NC State I have been lucky to be apart of some truly special moments. Beating our rival, University of North Carolina, is always a satisfying experience. Thus far I would say my most memorable experience was when we beat Florida State last year. It was a primetime game, with FSU coming in as the third ranked team in the nation. What made it so great was the way we were able to come together as a team and pull off the memorable upset.
What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what if anything has this experience done for you?
Jomantas: Our chapter founder, Wayne Crawford, originally got me involved with Uplifting Athletes. He was really passionate about raising awareness about the rare disease that our offensive coordinator was battling, and it really inspired me. Being a part of Uplifting Athletes has really been a great experience for everything it has taught me about being a leader. It has also been a great way for me to gain real-life work experience. Most importantly it has offered me a great way to be able to give back and hopefully make a difference in somebody’s life.
What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play and what makes them so difficult?
Jomantas: Clemson and Florida State are two teams on our side of the conference that we play every year that are always big games on our schedule. I think the edge would probably go to Florida State, though. Florida State is consistently a top ranked team that always has great athletes at every position. They are also very well coached and always bring their A game.
What is your chosen major, and what if anything have you used from that major as a contribution to your Uplifting Athletes Chapter?
Jomantas: I am a sport management major, which goes almost hand and hand with my role for Uplifting Athletes. It has been a great tool in helping me with some of the day-to-day tasks of Uplifting Athletes, including delegating responsibilities, interpersonal communication and staying organized. It has also played a big part in teaching me about marketing, especially for the Lift for Life event.
In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?
Jomantas: After football I hope to get into business, hopefully staying as close to sports as possible. I plan to use a lot of the lessons football has taught me as I move along in my life. Hard work, time management, leadership and working under pressure are just a few of the things I have learned that I believe will be very beneficial to me down the road.
Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?
Jomantas: My favorite college football player to watch would probably be linebacker Chris Borland from Wisconsin. I always try to keep up with different players who I have played against and are from my high school’s area. Chris went to my rival high school so I have always tried to keep up with how he has been playing. I enjoy watching him and the way he always seems to be around the ball at the end of the play. He plays with a lot of intensity that is really fun to watch.
Who is your favorite NFL player and why?
Jomantas: My favorite NFL player would probably be Peyton Manning. He is a great leader and the definition of a coach on the field. I think his dedication to the game is amazing. It seems like no matter what the defense lines up at him, he is always a couple steps ahead.
What was or is the inspiration for the Rare Disease your Uplifting Athletes Chapter is raising money for to be part of the fight?
Jomantas: Our inspiration for raising money for Leukemia is our former offensive coordinator Dana Bible, who learned he had the disease during the 2009 season. He was truly an inspiration the way he fought against the disease and even returned to coaching the next year. He never let his own difficulties with the disease get in his way of job of being a coach and leader to our team.
What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?
Jomantas: One road stadium that jumps out initially is when we travelled to University of Cincinnati. That was special for me because I’m from just up the road in Dayton and had a lot of family and friends at the game along with the friends I have who go to and play for Cincinnati. My favorite overall stadium would probably be Florida State, though. It such an electric atmosphere playing there in front 82,000 screaming fans. That, along with their game day traditions and the overall history it holds, makes it a truly special experience.