Diamont will graduate, end football career

Of course there was a victory cigar.

Surely, you remember Zander Diamont’s first win as a college quarterback two years ago in the Old Oaken Bucket Game. Afterwards, he celebrated in legendary fashion, lighting a cigar in the IU locker room and posing for a picture with the Bucket itself.

Asked Saturday if he had another cigar ready to go, Diamont merely winked. But a photo posted to the team’s Snapchat account revealed Diamont did, in fact, light a cigar and pose with the Bucket in the IU locker room after the game.

It was a good way to go out.

Diamont, a junior, went through IU’s Senior Day festivities on Saturday with plans to graduate next summer and end his football career. Yes, Diamont is ready to walk away from football, citing a desire to get out with his health intact.

“To be honest, I’ve had a lot of concussions over the course of my career, a lot of which were in high school,” Diamont said. “With the way that I play, and at my size, I’m not going to start being the guy that slides and steps out of bounds. That’s just not my style. If I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out my way.

“I’m not going to alter the way I play in order to treat that side of the deal. I wanted to give 100 percent to the game and respect the game in that way, play the way I wanted to and go out the way I wanted to. I think that for my safety and my future — I’m not going to the NFL — I need my brain.”

Diamont said he came to his decision — which he called “pretty much final” — within the last couple weeks.

“If you put him on the scales, I bet he’s (161 pounds),” IU coach Kevin Wilson said. “He just came to me a week ago. (He’d) been talking about, ‘Hey, I can graduate in the summer and I think this is it. He’s been talking with his family. I even asked him after the game. I said, ‘Are you sure?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I took a few (hits) out there today, coach. One of his gifts is his ability to run. He’s a small guy and he plays with a lot of heart and a lot of courage. That was a decision he and his family came to.”

It was a decision that was difficult to reach, but one that Diamont seems to be at peace with.

“It’s brutal,” he said. “I’ve worked my entire life to play this game and be successful in playing that game. It obviously hasn’t always been that way, but it’s hard. It’s really hard to walk away, especially being part of such a great group of guys. I love everyone in the locker room and IU has been incredible to me. It’s tough, but I feel good going out on this win and the season we’ve had and the commitment to the goals I’ve set for myself.”

10 comments

  1. Good luck and thanks for your grit, determination and a thing called common sense to get out before the stretcher takes you out for good.

  2. Kudos to him. Wish him well.

    The repeated evidence coming to the forefront depicting long term brain injuries from this brutal game has certainly changed things. Every week there seems to be another big name QB simply getting pounded out of action before a season is half over.
    Maybe those with few options will still look to football as an avenue … But the evidence is mounting and it certainly isn’t just an “undersized” participant issue. Linebackers and those in the trenches incur the repeated forces that are causing equal levels of deep concern and evidence with regard to irreversible brain damage.

  3. Zander, first and foremost, congratulations on your impending graduation! Second, thank you for your valued contribution to the football program. You brought courage, vitality, commitment and success. You will be missed but we applaud your decision and best wished for what we are certain will be an outstanding future!

  4. I think Zander has been the most explosive player on the roster since Tevon Coleman’s departure. He has always appeared to be an incredibly positive force for the team on many levels. Good for him for getting out whille the getting is good.

    Head injuries in football are an issue that has not yet been resolved but, before we make it a football only issue, remember that numerous studies
    have shown that long term cognitive deficits are more prevalent in soccer as the unprotected head is used as a contact point. Football has become the boogie man for neurological deficits because we see the hits when they happen on national television with repeated replays. Nobody watches a soccer ball get ‘headed’ all game long.

    Good luck in your future endeavours, Zander. Thanks for the highlights you have given Hoosier fans. You have provided more than your share.

  5. I had a link in there to studies of record at the National Institute of Health that didn’t post but they are easy enough to look up if anyone is intereted.

  6. Maybe Zander Diamont did not have the size and big arm to play QB that fans and media wanted, but Zander did bring plenty of heart, passion and energy to play the game…….Diamont is the type of player everyone wants on their team…he seem to be a great teammate to all the other players….it has been a joy watching you play for football at Indiana University. May the rest of your dreams and wishes come true. “HOOSIER” now and forever.

  7. Zander good luck with your future plans. You definitely brought a spark to IU football any time you were called on. We have one more game to see you on the field and I hope you realize how much the fans have loved seeing you play for the Hoosiers.

  8. He was a spark plug for this team and a lot of fun to watch. His joy and excitement was contagious, and he really made an impact, both on and off the field. I hope he goes out healthy and as a winner after contributing to IU’s first bowl game victory in decades. And given his looks, intelligence and connections in Los Angeles (he was a model while still in High School), I get the impression that we may not have seen the last of Zander Diamont.

  9. How many IU football players can say: they never lost to Purdue and scored a couple crucial touchdowns plus made other key plays in the games to secure IU victories, all while coming off the bench. What an example of a great high energy positive attitude team player playing to his strengths.

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