One on One: Yianni Grupen ‘11 - Wide Receiver - Deerfield Academy
We caught up with Deerfield Academy Senior Wide Reciever/ Defensive Back Yianni Grupen.
Grupen is an atheltic WR who is being recruited by Columbia, UPenn, Cornell, Bucknell,
Holy Cross, Colby, Middlebury, Amherst, Williams, Johns Hopkins, Washington and Lee, and UChicago.
Q- How and When did you begin playing football?
A- Originally I played soccer. My dad got me into it because he played soccer at the college
level and loves the game. I switched to football when I was 9, some of my
friends played and I wanted to give it a try and see what all the hype was about. From the
beginning I loved football. I have a lot of memories of getting up early on
Sunday mornings to travel around the state to different games, including a trip to the state
championship game of the 11-year-old division in Worcester. I have also played basketball
and baseball from an early age through high school.
Q- Who have been the biggest influences on your life?
A- My parents have always been my biggest influences and supporters. Both my mother and
father have always pushed me to excel in not only football but also in
everything I do. I have always been a die-hard supporter of the New England Patriots and
recently, I've become a big fan of receiver and return man Julian Edelman. I
really enjoy the way he plays and try to mimic the same style of play in my own games.
Q- Did you play any other sports along with football?
A- I actually focused on basketball during my early years in high school, and have heard from
some Division 3 schools regarding hoops, but by my junior year I excelled
the most in football and started hearing from more schools. Before Deerfield Academy, I was
an all-intercounty league defensive back.
Q- How have you progressed during your time at Deerfield?
A- Ever since football ended right before Thanksgiving, I have been working hard in the weight
room and on the field. I am able to stay in good shape during the year because of basketball
and baseball. This summer, I have worked hard on my speed, my 40 time, and
my agility while getting much stronger in the weight room. I have also
improved my fundamentals on both sides of the ball. On offense, I have improved my
route running ability and on defense, I have sharpened and quickened my footwork at
corner. So far, the hard work has paid dividends for me.
Q- How does your team look this year?
A- This year, our team looks promising as we get closer to preseason. My sophomore
year, we had a great season but just missed a bid to the New England Class A Super Bowl.
Last year, unfortunately we weren't considered for the Super Bowl. This season, the common
goal is to finish atop the NEPSAC Class A standings and hopefully get invited to the Super Bowl.
In terms of players, we have a good number of returning starters on offense and defense and
we have a handful of Post Grads coming in that can really help the team, including a talented
quarterback. Our coach, Mike Silipo, is doing a great job motivating us to return to the top of
the league this season.
Q- What are your personal goals for the upcoming year?
A- My goal is to have the opportunity to attend and play football at one of the top academic
schools in the country. As great as it would be to play football for a competitive Division 1
school,I value the academic aspect of the school as much as the football program it offers.
I would prefer to go to a larger school, but if given the opportunity to attend and play at a
smaller school that is academically better renowned, that is likely what I would opt for.
Q- What are your team goals for the upcoming season?
A- Our team goal will be to blend together as a unit as quickly as we can. After a few days
of preseason, we start right off with scrimmages and shortly after we have our first game,
so we don't have a huge time frame for preparation. Personally, my goal is to have my
best season yet at Deerfield. I want to try and improve on all my numbers from last
year: anything from touchdowns and catches on offense to tackles and interceptions on
defense. I want to improve on everything and anything I can do to help our team win.
Q- What are your interests outside of football?
A- Outside of football I like to spend a lot of time with family. I also enjoy hanging
out with my friends in the Greer (Deerfield's student center). Favorite food- My mom's lasagna.
Favorite movie- Good Will Hunting.
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