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‘Jackhammer’ Colletto knocking on NFL’s door

Camas, Oregon State grad making his case to be drafted

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 10, 2023, 6:30pm
10 Photos
Oregon State football player Jack Colletto participates in a position drill at the school's NFL Pro Day, Monday, March 13, 2023, in Corvallis, Ore.
Oregon State football player Jack Colletto participates in a position drill at the school's NFL Pro Day, Monday, March 13, 2023, in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman) Photo Gallery

With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State in hand, Jack Colletto’s interviews with companies as a prospective junior engineer are on pause these days.

Instead, the interviews he’s doing are with NFL organizations that include touring world-class facilities and meeting with coaches who have won Super Bowls.

“That’s a big-boy job, in and of itself,” said Colletto, a 2017 Camas High graduate, said last week.

After a five-year collegiate football career at Oregon State that ended with a Las Vegas Bowl victory, a national honor for being the most versatile player in college football, and earning the nickname “Jackhammer”, Colletto is poised to take his game to the highest level of football.

All he needs is an opportunity. The NFL Draft is April 27-29.

In a recent interview with The Columbian, Colletto, 24, shared insights of his preparation for this month’s Draft. He declared for the NFL Draft just days after helping the Beavers cap off a 10-win season with a 30-3 victory over Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl.

For two months, he trained in Los Gatos, Calif., alongside other NFL hopefuls for Oregon State’s Pro Day on March 13. He said he was pleased with his Pro Day performance, testing at linebacker, fullback and tight end. Since then, he’s stayed in Corvallis while working out up to five days per week.

The NFL dream dates back to third grade, and is closer to becoming a reality.

“It’s definitely a crazy process, but it’s also really exciting at the same time,” Colletto said. “It’s a position I’ve envisioned myself being in, and there’s a lot of uncertainty that goes along with this process, especially the last few months.

“You really just have to roll with the punches and take it day by day. Wherever I end up is wherever I end up.”

Colletto has been in communication with several organizations and recently took pre-draft in-person player visits to the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets. He plans to visit the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.

NFL teams are allowed to host up to 30 players for pre-draft visits. While on-field workouts are prohibited, it’s a chance for teams to get to know a prospect on a deeper level.

So far, Colletto said he’s heard good feedback. At Denver, Colletto said position coaches see potential as an “offensive gadget” in their system, most notably at fullback and on special teams.

No doubt, Colletto believes being a multi-position threat is appealing to teams. This past season, Colletto was a first-team All-Pac-12 performer who had snaps at inside linebacker, fullback, receiver, Wildcat quarterback, and also special teams. He was named the Paul Hornung Award winner, given to the most versatile player in major college football.

“I believe with creative minds it definitely sparks interest,” Colletto said. “I think it allows them to be like, ‘OK, well, what can we do with this guy and how can he add value to the team?’ And the fact is I can do a lot of things.

“I believe it makes for a safe pick because I can do a bunch and fill a lot of holes.”

Going back to his high-school days at Camas, former Papermaker head coach Jon Eagle saw Colletto’s value on both sides of the ball. As a senior in 2016, Colletto led the Papermakers to an undefeated 4A championship season behind 2,846 passing yards, 1,253 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns. Colletto also had an interception in the state title win over Richland.

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“Jack was unique in that I’ve never seen anybody put as much time in at his craft as Jack did,” Eagle said.

It’s no surprise, the coach said, to see the ex-Papermaker succeed at the highest level of college football by carving his own path through versatility. Eagle said he also spoke with an ex-NFL scout, who said Colletto has value in the NFL.

“We all hear about big contracts and big-name players,” Eagle said. “What we don’t hear a lot about are the players who have to do the dirty work, be on several special teams that back up more than one position — that adds value to a team.”

While he was recruited by some Division I programs out of high school, Colletto opted for Arizona Western Junior College, then signed with Oregon State in 2018 months after coach Jonathan Smith was hired. Colletto had one start at quarterback for the Beavers in 2018, and when playing quarterback didn’t work out, he still realized the program Smith and his staff were building in Corvallis is where he wanted to be. That’s why he volunteered to play whatever position necessary. Soon the nickname “Jackhammer”, coined by Oregon State’s offensive line coach took off in popularity with the Beaver fan base.

“I loved that,” Colletto said of the nickname. “The biggest thing I’m proud of is the fact I stuck it out, and really, not even myself, but all of our teammates and really taking responsibility and changing the culture and changing the program.

“Just to be able to be a part of a team that went from nothing and ended up becoming something made it more enjoyable.”

Several mock drafts have Colletto pegged anywhere from a sixth- or seventh-round selection to an undrafted free agent. As for the draft-day plans, Colletto said he’ll keep it low key in Kitsap County where his father lives.

“I’ll probably be having a nice bottle of wine and some good food,” he said.

One more thing, Colletto added.

“Go Beavs and Go Papermakers.”