It's free fishing day, so read today's countdown and then hit a local pond. We also have just 83 days left until kickoff and since that number has yet to be assigned, we'll highlight a newcomer today who just might snag the #83 jersey—Matt Pistone
#83, Matt Pistone, True Freshman, TE
Weight: 230 lbs.
High School: Yuma Catholic HS, Yuma, AZ
How'd he get to The Blue?
By coming to his senses. After Pistone narrowed his choices to Boise State and Oregon State last July, he initially pledged his services to the Beavers, but after some soul-searching (and the departure of Mike Riley), Pistone decided to re-evaluate what the Broncos had to offer and switched his commitment to the Broncos in late December. Once again, Eliah Drinkwitz was heavily involved because flipping one tight end from a Pac-12 school (Chase Blakley) just wasn't enough.
Pistone finished his senior season rated the number one tight end prospect in the state of Arizona and was rated the 35th best nationally. Pistone helped lead Yuma Catholic to two-straight Arizona state titles and accounted for 1,036 yards and 26 TDs in his high school career. As a senior, Pistone was named to the Arizona FCA All-State Top 25 Team and to the FCA Dvision V All-State Team as well (an honor he also received as a junior). Pistone was also a standout on the defensive side...racking up 84 tackles and 14.5 sacks while at YCHS. Besides the Broncos, Pistone received scholarship offers from Austin Peay, Colorado, Colorado State, Montana, New Mexico State, NAU, Northwestern, Oregon State (obviously), SDSU, South Dakota State, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Washington, and Wyoming.
Helping the Broncos fire on all cylinders? I don't know how engines work.
Rated top TE recruit in Arizona after senior season by Scout.com and the 8th rated overall recruit in the entire state by ESPN. Helped lead team to state championship in 2014. Earned a spot on Arizona FCA's 2014 All-State Top 25 Team and FCA Division V All-State Team. Helped lead team to Arizona state title in 2013. Earned spot on FCA Division V All-State Team as junior in 2013. Caught 74 passes for 1,034 yards and 26 TDs in prep career. Registered 84 tackles and 14.5 sacks from defensive end position during prep career.
Pistone is almost certain to redshirt this season as the Broncos have (as has been discussed ad nauseum) considerable riches at the tight end position this year. Practically any other year and I think Pistone would be the kind of guy that could come in and start right away. He already possesses excellent size for a collegiate TE and if you watched his highlight tape above, you'll see that he's a voracious blocker. I honestly can't wait to see this guy on the field...but we CAN wait, which is pretty comforting in its own right. Messrs Huff and Hardee will depart at years end, meaning that the tight end outlook in 2016 is...well I can't say "worse"...this is still going to be a ridiculously loaded position with Blakley, Dhaenens, Roh, Lucero, and (now) Pistone. Pistone could prove to be the most physical TE in the group and could be invaluable with blocking assignments and putting linebackers on their rear-ends. I just don't know how the playing time is going to pan out with all these big time TEs in one unit. One hare-brained thought I had while examining the roster was to move Pistone to the DL for 2016—kinda like we did with Armand Nance, who many forget was recruited as a TE/FB. Pistone already has good size and could easily pack on more—plus, the DL loses 7 guys at years end, so will need bodies more than the TE corps will. Furthermore, Pistone has better DL chops (84 tackles, 14.5 sacks) than Nance had coming out of Dekaney and Nance made the position switch promptly and paid immediate dividends.
Keep in mind, I'm just spitballing here...Pistone is the caliber of player that's going to make a big impact wherever he lines up and I'm confident that if he stays on the offensive side, he'll be de-cleating people in no time. He's versatile enough though to give the staff options and if the tight end unit is secure in the hands of the remaining fab four, I think he has the frame and skills to get us out of a depth jam we might face in 2016 on the interior. Wherever he lands, the Broncos got a gem in Pistone. Thank God for Eliah Drinkwitz.
Is he on Twitter?
Now it's official like a referee with a whistle pic.twitter.com/7hq4h1dtzE— Matthew Pistone (@MP_daDon) February 4, 2015
Completely made up fact
Pistone is related to John D. Pistone, the FBI agent who infiltrated the mob and came to be known as Donnie Brasco. Matt once was asked to infiltrate a Yuma street gang on behalf of the city council...his alias: Johnny Tabasco (highly derivative, but equally effective).