Courtesy of Fordham Athletic Department
Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Carlton Koonce, RB, Fordham University
Carlton Koonce of Fordham has been quite the impact player for the Rams over the past several years. The 5’8, 180 pound back has been really impressive and continued to shine week in and week out during the 2013 NFL season. Koonce has great speed, and the ability to see a hole. I am really impressed with this kids talent because most running backs are not patient, and Koonce has patience like an NFL veteran..
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
I had several teams recruit me out of high school. Stony Brook, Hofstra, Northeastern, James Madison, and Georgia State were all schools really interested in me.
Where did you choose and why?
Before the program was terminated, I attended Hofstra because it was close to home and the location was great for my major, which is Communications. It was important for me to go to a good school and play competitive college football.
What are your goals for your senior year?
My senior goals were to make the playoffs and try and top my rushing total I had last year. I’m proud of the season we had this year.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
I have not met with any scouts up to this point, besides the 2 from my junior day. The Redskins and Cardinals were present.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
I believe the biggest thing that separates me from the rest is my mental preparation and knowledge of the game. I take pride in the mental aspect because it makes the game more fun, and it comes easier when you know your assignments and what your opponent is throwing at you.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
I look for 2 things when breaking down film and that is safety rotation and depth as well as linebacker depth. Some teams are better than others in disguising pressure looks and coverages, but for the most part I feel that the safeties and linebackers can give clues based on pre snap alignment.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
The toughest player I ever faced is the linebacker from Temple, Tyler Matakevich. He just had great instinct. It seemed like he was in on every tackle throughout the game. He was a very good player.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I would say my play can be best compared to a Danny Woodhead, or Darren Sproles. I’m not the biggest guy on the field, but I feel I have good lateral quickness and can catch the ball well out of the backfield.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle in my life was my mom being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Not a day goes by that I do not think about how fortunate we all are that she has her full health back. I over came because I saw my mother was strong, so I had to be strong right along with her.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I believe the spread fits my style the best because it is all about doing your work in space and that is something I feel that I excel in the most.
What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is definitely my mental preparation and my vision. I am not perfect, but I take pride in rarely missing an opportunity the defense presents.
What is your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness is that I am not the most physically imposing person, but I make up for it in other ways on the field. I also would like to get to the point where my catching is 100% guaranteed.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
I would say that I am a good character guy who wants to work hard and compete for a spot just like the next man. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder since grade school for being the longshot, or underdog to be great. I’ve gotten this far so I don’t plan to stop thriving anytime soon.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My mom and dad were my role models because they fought so hard for everything they achieved in life with no excuses. They taught me what it meant to be a leader and to always believe in yourself first above all.
Who was your favorite player in the NFL and why?
Warrick Dunn and Marshall Faulk were two of my favorite players because they both were similar in stature to myself, and they could do it all on the field. They gave me hope in succeeding on any level.
What was the most tragic event that ever happened in your life and how did you overcome it?
My high school football coach, Coach Sal, passed away unexpectedly one night during the offseason. We were all hurt, but we never forgot what he stood for and what he meant to our team. We overcame it together and dedicated the following season in his memory.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
Jim Brown, Malcom X, and Bill Walsh would be my three people to have dinner with. I think that would make for a great conversation.
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
With my first paycheck I would buy myself an apartment. I have longed for the day to be able to support myself in life.