Linebackers Bizzarro, Santos bring different skill sets, but similar work ethic to Mac defense
MacArthur outside linebackers Cory Bizzarro and Matthew Santos have both solidified themselves as critical parts of the Highlander defense. The players are both seniors and both more of the quiet leader compared to some of the more vocal players on the team. However, they play different roles and have taken vastly different routes to get to where they are.
Bizzarro joined the starting varsity lineup as a sophomore. At 6’3, 185, his speed and long frame were what first got him on the field at outside backer. But as he’s continued to mature and hone his craft, the long-haired Bizzarro has tried to rely more on routine.
“Because I was fast, I could beat the lineman, so I was trying to move upfield and get the tackle” Bizzarro said. “Now, it’s more about technique and using the weight that I’ve gained to my advantage.”
Through five games, Bizzarro has proven to be the Highlanders’ top pass-rushing specialist. With his speed and pass-rushing ability, it’s no wonder the player he models his game after most is Lawrence Taylor.
“I’ve got long arms, so I try to extend and swat them down,” Bizzarro said.
A born-and-bred Lawtonian, Cory has been around Mac football for years. He grew up watching his older brother, Cody, play center for the Highlanders. In some ways, Cory gives his brother, six years his senior, credit for putting a chip on his shoulder.
Even though he doesn’t watch a ton of football on the weekends, Cory still focuses on football quite a bit, even in his down time. When he’s not at practice, Bizzarro enjoys working out with friends, including teammate Daunye Thompson. Later in the evening, Bizzarro and Thompson will often log on and play one another in Madden.
After high school Bizzarro wants to go on to study dentistry in college. However, if he chooses to leave Lawton for college, it will mean leaving his parents’ cooking. With Italian roots on his father’s side and German heritage on his mom’s side, Cory said the menu can contain a wide variety. While he loves his dad’s tortellini, it would be a German dish that he would choose for pigging out on a non-football day.
“Probably some greasy schnitzel,” Bizzarro said.