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ROOKIE SPOTLIGHT: Matt Ioannidis

Posted Aug 3, 2016

During training camp, Redskins.com will provide an in-depth look at the drafted rookies, both on and off the field. Today's spotlight is on Matt Ioannidis, a fifth-round pick.

During training camp, Redskins.com will provide an in-depth look at the drafted rookies, both on and off the field. Today's spotlight is on Matt Ioannidis, a fifth-round pick.

Matt Ioannidis loves being a football player.

“This is a really great lifestyle,” Ioannidis said. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Coming out and getting your first job as a football player, you can’t ask for much more than that.”

In college, Ioannidis was known as “The Professor,” for his dedication to the game, and his studious nature is helping him pick up the Redskins defense in his rookie season.

“We ran a really advanced scheme at Temple, so I was fortunate enough to play in Coach Snow’s defense because it helped me transition to this early on,” Ioannidis said. “There’s still going to be some hiccups along the way, but overall it’s been a good transition.”

General manager Scot McCloughan called Ioannidis a “tough son of a gun” when he drafted the Temple product in the fifth round of this year’s draft, and that toughness has impressed his positional coaches and veteran teammates.

"He's gaining ground,” defensive line coach Robb Akey said in June “He came in here with a great, burning desire and he working his tail off. He's growing mentally at this point in time and I expect that to continue to be the case. He's going to be an option in [the nose tackle position]."

Head coach Jay Gruden is curious to see what Ioannidis can do at nose tackle, where he has made some nice plays on the second-team in the first few days of training camp, including a fumble recovery off of a botched snap.

“This will be the best test for these guys when the pads come on,” Gruden said. “Matt’s done good. He’s just like (linebacker Steven Daniels). He’s learning, trying to get in the right gap and get in the right front and all that stuff. We’re putting him at nose guard quite a bit, trying him there. I think that’s the starting point, that’s where we see him right now. We’ll see how he adapts to the speed of the game and the big guys with the pads on coming down on him – the Spencer Longs and the Brandon Scherffs and Kory [Lichtensteiger]. We’ll see how he responds but nose guard right now is where I think he’s going to be.”

Regardless of his eventual role, Ioannidis is determined to help the team in whatever capacity that he can.

“Honestly I can’t say I know my role yet," Ioannidis said. "I’m just coming out every day trying to get better so when my time comes and when my role is established I can let you know, but I’m not sure yet.”

Major Keys from the Rookies

Who are you listening to right now?

“I listen to Future, If it’s the summertime I’m probably going to put on some Third Eye Blind, some Pearl Jam. Right now the stuff that just came out, Future obviously, the new Drake album, whatever’s on the radio.”

What show do you binge-watch?

“I can’t say I binge watch Game of Thrones but I watch Game of Thrones. It’s my favorite show still on the air right now. (My favorite character) has to be Jon Snow."

What was your favorite purchase after signing your contract?

“I haven’t made a big purchase yet. I’m trying to save my money. Playing with the end in mind.”

Off the field, how has your transition to the NFL gone so far?

“Moving is something you kind of expect. It’s really just a change of lifestyle truthfully. The biggest change is you stop going to class, which is a good thing in my opinion, but that’s a big change. Now you can just dedicate your entire day to football.”

How similar is studying for class to studying the playbook?

“I consider myself a good student, so I consider myself a student of the game. I hit the playbook pretty hard so it’s been a good transition.”

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