Family, Football, and the Force: A Lieutenant's pursuit of the NFL dream

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
As Airmen, we strive to achieve excellence in all that we do. This core value not only applies to our military lives, but also to everything that we do out of uniform.

For 1st Lt. Connor Dietz, 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron material management flight commander and Columbus, Ohio native, it means continuing to work hard and push towards his dream to compete at football's highest level - the NFL.

Dietz laughs as he recalls the word "ball" as his first word. Football has been an important part of his life since third grade and he credits his father and brother, who both played, for teaching him the game. In high school, he lettered three years in the sport, establishing himself as one of the top players in his district and also helping his team to the 2006 Ohio Division 1 state championship. His quest for excellence didn't end there however. Dietz also served as a captain on his football and basketball teams, was selected to all-star games in football and lacrosse, and was a member of the National Honors Society.

"I'm a very competitive person," said Dietz. "God has blessed me with a lot and I try to do my best with what he's given me."

In 2008, Dietz made the decision to sign a national letter of intent to play for the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Not only would he be competing as a Division 1 college athlete against some of the top programs across the country, he would also be attending one of our nation's most prestigious institutions. During his four years, he would be required to balance a demanding academic curriculum while also navigating cadet life and staying in top physical condition for football.

According to Dietz, the older cadets around him helped ease his transition into cadet life and Air Force football.

As a cadet, Dietz was privileged to play in meaningful games, including the Armed Forces Bowl his senior season and rivalry games against the Army and Naval academies, and gain some valuable experience to help prepare him to lead in the operational Air Force, for a potential football career, and ultimately for life after the academy.

"I not only learned how to lead others, but also myself," said Dietz. "The support from all the guys in the locker room, coaches, faculty, staff and just everything around there made it an unbelievable experience."

Following graduation and his commissioning as a second lieutenant, Dietz was assigned to the 6th LRS at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida in March 2013. In pursuit of his dream, he has received support from all over the installation as well as his family and friends.

"The support I have received here has been overwhelming," said Dietz. "I wouldn't be able to pursue my dream without it."

Dietz has two trainers, one for diet conditioning and the other for football, who he trains with five to six days a week. Despite his dedication and rigorous training, however, he doesn't allow football to interfere with his duties at work and to his country.

"I work normal hours and then after it's straight to football," said Dietz. "I always try and not let football interfere with my duty because that comes first."

Dietz has participated in a pro day for various NFL scouts and has also worked out with a few teams. He says that his present goals are to get into camp with a team and eventually make it onto a roster.

"I'm just trying to do my best, make it into the League, and be the best I can be," said Dietz.

At the end of the day, Dietz says his faith is strong and the love for football is in his blood.

"When you're out there on the field, there's no other feeling like it in the world," said Dietz. It just feels right...I feel at home."