Irish dream comes true for Long Island long snapper playing for Notre Dame


Sub-6-foot and listed at less than 200 pounds, Rino Monteforte‘s size seems more comparable to the fiery dudes who historically have served as Notre Dame football’s mascot.

But there he was earlier this season, on the field and suited up in Fighting Irish blue and gold — just another giant helping the college football juggernaut put points on the board against Tennessee State.

The North Babylon native and 2022 Kellenberg Memorial High School graduate is a backup long snapper for undefeated Notre Dame (4-0), currently ranked No. 9 in college football’s AP poll.

Monteforte dressed for games but didn’t play during his freshman year in 2022. This season, he made his collegiate debut Sept. 2, snapping for an extra point in Notre Dame’s 56-3 home win over Tennessee State.

Notre Dame long snapper Rino Monteforte, No. 51, of North Babylon celebrates with Fighting Irish teammates (Instagram/@rinomonteforte)

Heading into tonight’s colossal showdown with No. 6 Ohio State (airing at 7:30 p.m. on NBC), Monterforte sits at No. 2 on the depth chart. He’s the understudy to sixth-year player Michael Vinson, a graduate student who gained an extra year eligibility because he didn’t play as a freshman in 2018 and a second extra year via the universal pandemic eligibility waiver granted for the 2020 season.

Monteforte has played football since he was 5. But he didn’t take up long snapping until after his seventh-grade season.

At football camp that summer, at 5-foot-2, he found himself a bit undersized while playing defensive end. He wanted to give himself the best possible chance to fulfill his dream of playing Division I football, reported ND Insider.

“I tried thinking about playing fullback,” Monteforte told the South Bend Tribune. “Maybe a little tight end. I tried a bunch of different things and it eventually came down to one Google search. I’ll never forget. It was an August night in my room at midnight, and I looked up how to long snap.”

Unique skill set required

For those unfamiliar with the craft, a long snapper’s primary role is to accurately and consistently snap the football, typically over an extended distance, to the punter or placekick holder. Long snappers carry a unique set of skills that allows them to perform accurate and consistent snaps.

By his sophomore season in high school, Monteforte had developed those skills enough to earn an offer to play at the University at Buffalo. The invite from Notre Dame came later.

At Kellenberg High School in Uniondale, Monteforte thrived as a center and long snapper through his junior season. As a senior, he focused strictly on long snapping.

Monteforte documents his (thrilling) time in South Bend, Indiana, on his X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram pages.

Last year, he witnessed the Irish upset then-No. 4 Clemson and travelled with the team to Jacksonville, Florida, for its Gator Bowl win over No. 19 South Carolina. This year, he and the rest of the Irish kicked off the season on Aug. 26, playing Navy in Dublin, Ireland, and prevailing 42-3.

Check him out — he’s No. 51 — entering Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

And here is Monteforte and his Fighting Irish teammates coming into Notre Dame stadium Sept. 2 for the team’s first home game of the season, against Tennessee State.

Photos: Instagram/rinomonteforte

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