Dominic Gonnella with his parents, Rachel and Joe, on his official visit to USF. (Photo courtesy of USF Athletics.)

Former Bloomingdale football and baseball standout Dominic Gonnella transferred to the University of South Florida (USF) football program in January. The running back played for North Dakota State the last three seasons. The transfer has two years of eligibility left to play in newly minted head coach Alex Golesh’s revamped offense. Gonnella rushed for five touchdowns and 1,134 yards in his career for the Bison.

Gonnella was excited for the opportunity to play for USF’s brand-new coaching staff and thinks he can thrive and be explosive in the team’s spread offense that’s similar to the one he played in at Bloomingdale. He’s also happy to be back in his hometown where the weather is much warmer than North Dakota. The dual-sport athlete relishes the opportunity to help lead the program back to prominence after the team’s struggles the past few seasons.

“I wanted a better chance to showcase my talents and really help impact the team,” said Gonnella. “A lot of the guys are hometown guys too, and I know we’re all looking to really flip it around and make this city poppin’ again and get people to come out to the games.”

The star running back helped Bloomingdale to a 33-13 overall record in his three seasons with the football program while leading the team in rushing. He was also instrumental in the baseball program winning its first district title since 2007 in 2018.

“Dom was a high-motor guy on the field. He was easily one of the most athletic guys I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said Bloomingdale assistant baseball coach Austin Wilson. “His ability to make adjustments and move his body in space is what makes him so good.”

Gonnella is also pursuing a pro baseball career. He’s played for the Arizona Diamondbacks organization the past three years in the summer and during spring when he isn’t playing football. He said that he’s living the dream of trying to go pro in two different sports at the same time and hopes to be an all-star in both someday.

“It’s kind of what I’ve been planning to do my whole life,” he said. “I really just want to see how long I can make it or see if I can really make it to the next level and have a chance to really flourish. I want to try to be as great as I can possibly be.”

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.