Italy’s Firenze Guelfi have re-signed league’s best receiver – Mike Vanucci

Wide receiver Mike Vanucci who led the Italian league in receptions and receiving yardage in 2017 has re-signed with the Firenze Guelfi (Florence Griffins) for the 2018 season.

Vanucci, 5’9″, 190 lb from Bethpage, New York, finished a four year career at William Paterson University Pioneers (NCAA Div. III) in 2015.

The Guelfi suffered through a tough season in 2017 finishing ninth in the 11 team Italian Football League, but with Vanucci catching an average of 110 yards a game, the team was second in passing offense and fourth in overall offense. Vanucci caught 72 passes for 882 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games to lead the league in total yardage, average yards per game, overall receptions and average number of receptions per game.

Vanucci is happy to be back with the Guelfi, as he told the club on their website:

“I’m really happy to be able to go back to wearing purple. Florence is a beautiful place to live and play football. This team has the best chance of doing so in 2017. I look forward to reaching the rest of the players in January and when that happens I’m convinced that I will see a mix between old friends and new faces since Guelph Family has always been proven unsurpassed as it has the ability to accommodate new players inside the locker room. Finally, I want to thank those who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign launched by Indiegogo. “

American Football International spoke with Mike when he first signed with the Guelfi:

AFI: Did you know about American football in Italy or Europe before now?

Vanucci: I learned about Europlayers back in the Winter of 2016, I don’t quite remember how though. Also when I was down in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina for a college all star game, there was a Euroscout there who approached me and gave me some insight about playing professionally overseas.

AFI: What are you looking forward to most about playing in Italy?

Vanucci: I can’t wait to continue my football career, and play with a whole new family. I’m excited to be a part of this team. Being a part of a football team is like being a part of a family, and I’m looking forward to playing alongside my new brothers, and helping our team and program improve from last season and make a run in the playoffs.

AFI: Tell us a little about your career at William Patterson.

Vanucci: I had the opportunity to play for some incredible coaches. Coach Jerry Flora, the head coach, is a tremendous person and a coach who wants his players to succeed. We had 3 ex-NFLplayers on our coaching staff – Coach Shaun Williams, who was one of the main reasons I went to William Paterson, and who was our defensive coordinator. It was an honor to hear him speak about the game, and share his knowledge.

Coach Tank Daniels was our special teams coach and coached me as a punt returner and his passion for the game was second to none. Coach Tony Woods, was a blue collar, come to work, and get after it type of coach. Finally, even though he didn’t play in the NFL, coach David Pinto,was one of the best people I’ve ever had the honor to play for. He coached the offensive line. Playing at William Paterson for these coaches gave me the opportunity to play in two all star games. The first was the Aztec Bowl in Mexico City at the Olympic Stadium in front of 40,000 plus fans. I was able to score a touchdown in that game and that was the best experience of my life. The second game was the DIII Senior Classic in South Carolina, where I was able to win MVP and play alongside some of my best friends from William Paterson one last time.

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