The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

De Anza’s Football star defensive end Jason Schwartz

Mountain Lion player explains his journey to fame
Alexander Stoev
Jason Schwartz, Mountain Lions football player, outside the Starbucks on Stevens Creek near campus on June 18.

It was a rough season for De Anza College’s football team last year, finishing with a record of 8-2, but that didn’t stop the star defensive end, Jason Schwartz from having an outstanding season.

Schwartz, 20, economics major, finished off this past season with a total of 25 tackles, 3.5 sacks and even an interception. All being done in just his first full year of playing time after red-shirting in 2022.

The six-foot three-inch, 260-pound defensive lineman had quite the road to get where he is now, stating that he was quite a bit lighter in 2022.

“Over the last year and a half I really started putting on more weight to become a better defensive lineman,” Schwartz said. “I was a little bit smaller last year at about 230 or 240, and I bulked up a little bit so I can be stronger and not get pushed around as much.”

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Schwartz did not start off as a defensive end. In fact, when he first came to De Anza, he tried out for the team as a tight end.

“I trained for it for six months, and I ended up going through a few hamstring injuries that didn’t heal properly,” Schwartz said. “About six weeks before the season, I switched to defensive end because I played it in high school and tight end wasn’t working out.”

Football was not Schwartz’s first choice of sport; he started off playing baseball when he was five for about two years. Then, he first got into playing football in seventh grade when he played flag football.

“I originally started playing baseball when I was 5, then took a break and played soccer for a year and didn’t really like it,” Schwartz said. “When I was playing baseball, I wanted to be like Buster Posey (former San Francisco Giants catcher), hit home runs, I pretty much wanted to be everything he was except the catcher part.”

The Leigh High School graduate of 2022 first started playing tackle football during his freshman year and has loved it ever since. De Anza was not his first choice for college after high school. He hoped to go to UCLA or LSU right out of high school.

“I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, I didn’t think about it until COVID hit, then I was like ‘I need to start thinking about my future for both school and football,’ and I thought maybe LSU or UCLA that’s probably my top two schools,” Schwartz said.

Even though the football team had a tough season, they still put together two massive wins, one of them being a 49-10 win over Yuba College on Oct. 14, 2023, where Schwartz had his best game. It ended with three tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, resulting in 17 yards lost, and one pass breakup. Schwartz mentioned that the intensity for him and the team after that game was great.

“It was really good, it was a hard drive up there, about four hours and it was a hot day, but my teammates around me were being really intense and getting me into the game, and that gave me motivation,” Schwartz said. “I remember Robert LaVigne (De Anza football cornerback) had two pick-sixes that game and that kinda injected a jolt of energy into the defense as a whole including myself.”

In the 38-0 shutout win against Gavilan College on Sept. 9, 2023, Schwartz had his only interception of the season, and he mentioned how it felt great to win after losing in week one, especially after winning so much in high school with Leigh.

“The win felt great, especially after losing to Cabrillo College 21-5,” Schwartz said. “In high school my last two years we won a lot, we only lost like two games my last two years. It felt weird to lose like that because I wasn’t used to it.”

Schwartz’s daily routine is pretty jam-packed, but that is expected of a collegiate football player.

“I wake up around 8:30, then I have some online classes and homework to do. Then after that, I have weightlifting at 2 p.m. and that takes an hour. After that, we have our study hall program, and sometimes Coach D (D’Agostino) will bring in guest speakers to talk about certain things. Then after that, we have team meetings then head out to the field for our usual practice, individual and team, then conditioning after.” Schwartz said.

Other teammates have pointed out Jason’s great character on and off the field.

Mustafa El-Khatib (Zayn), 19, kinesiology major, mentioned how Jason always makes sure that the people around him are always doing their best.

“Jason is a standout person on and off the field, he makes sure the people around him are always at the top of their game and pushes people to become the best version of themselves,” El-Khatib said.

“Jason is never absent or never tries to get out of any workouts or activities and will always be there 100% of the time,” El-Khatib said. “That’s why other fellow players and myself picked him to be our team captain.”

Another player on the football team, Kevin Lee, 21, economics major, also said that Jason is motivated and that he helps players outside of the sports setting.

“He’s one of the hardest workers on the team,” Lee said. “He’s a great player not only for his skills on the field but also for his character on and off the field. He would give me rides to practices when I needed help and he never said no nor ever showed emotions that he didn’t want to.”

Like any other athlete, Schwartz has gone through some obstacles himself to get to where he is right now. He recalled that when he first got to De Anza, he thought he wasn’t prepared and that he was very close to quitting, but a few words from Coach D’Agostino shaped him into who he is now.

“The landscape of the team was a lot different than it is now, but when I got here I felt out of place. I felt like the team was already gelled together and because of that I felt like an outsider,” Schwartz said. “So I talked to Coach D and I almost quit two weeks into summer camp and he told me to redshirt and that really helped me get my feet set on the ground.”

Schwartz said he looks up to 49ers superstar defensive end Nick Bosa. He learned his technique, stance, and pass rush moves all from the NFL superstar.

“I look up to Nick Bosa because since we’re both defensive lineman, I really look up to his technique,” Schwartz said. “I copied his stance, studied his pass rush moves and all that stuff just because he’s so good.”

Schwartz also mentioned how difficult it is to rebound from a huge loss. After De Anza’s 51-13 loss to San Jose City College, a 55-14 loss to Los Medanos College, and a 44-0 loss to Siskiyous College. He stated that from the start of the season, after each big loss, more players started losing faith and trust in the coaching staff.

“From the start of the season, there were some guys who didn’t really trust the coaches as a whole coaching staff,” Schwartz said. “There’s a lack of trust in the beginning, then after each big loss more and more people started losing faith, and for a football team to be successful everyone’s gotta be on the same page.”

In the end, Jason hopes to take his talents to colleges like University of Washington, University of Oregon, UCLA, San Diego State and even University of Colorado, Boulder where NFL legend Deion Sanders is the head coach.

Schwartz gave advice that he would give to the younger generation getting into football in general.

“No matter how hard the grind gets, just don’t stop, don’t quit,” Schwartz said. “I’m at a point right now where I’m like the seasons right around the corner and I’ve done so much practice and I’m a bit tired, but you just gotta keep going, see it through and keep going,” Schwartz said.

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About the Contributor
Alexander Stoev
Alexander Stoev, Staff Reporter
I’m a very big sports guy; I hope to become a sports analyst one day for either basketball or football, or both. I hope La Voz will help me towards that.

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