Think to a time that you’ve done something so quietly excellent that no one even notices. Now, imagine doing it for four straight years, 497 times, and doing it so well that you’ll never even get recognition for it by most.
Welcome to the perfect world of Alabama long-snapper, Cole Mazza.
Mazza was destined for this role as a three-star prospect out of Liberty High School in Bakersfield, California. Ranked as the No. 1 long-snapper prospect by 247 Sports, Cole Mazza was wowing experts and coaches at long-snapping camps when he was still a sophomore in high school. Given his standout career at center too, he also briefly flirted with 5-star status.
Say what you will about Bobby Williams, but Mazza was one of his recruiting gems, luring the 6’2, 250-pounder to campus for an official visit and then garnering Mazza’s commitment over in-state suitor, UCLA.
From the moment Cole set foot on campus, he’s been dynamic. Mazza has started all four years at Alabama, missing only two games to injury in 2015. During that time he has been Adam Griffith and JK Scott’s best friend, not failing on a single snap he’s ever attempted — 245 PATs, 207 punts, 98 FGAs.
He’s physical at the point of attack and also gets down field quickly after firing off a snap — he’s registered seven tackles for his career, including three on the road versus LSU in 2014.
Since the 2014 season, Cole has been consistently ranked as the best long-snapper prospect by NFL draftniks. It is not a position that typically garners much interest, but last winter he graded out well enough such that he almost left school early for the draft. There have only been four long-snappers to ever be drafted in the modern NFL, but Cole Mazza stands a very good chance of getting a phone call in the late rounds this year. Even if he is an UDFA, there is practically no chance he won’t be a decade-plus player in the NFL.
Those NFL teams, no less than Nick Saban demand perfection, and Mazza has been nothing short of it during his wonderful career at Alabama, one that that saw him earn his degree on Saturday, and punctuated by three playoff appearances, three SEC championships, and a national title.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Mazza’s outstanding Alabama career. When he’s doing at his job, you never even see him. Replacing him next season will be a crucial part of Alabama’s rebuild on special teams.
Roll Tide, Cole, and congratulations on your degree and your very long, very anonymous pro career to come.