Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Cody O’Neill, C/G, South Dakota
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
-I was recruited by about 6 teams: Western Michigan, South Dakota, University of Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.
Where did you choose and why?
-I chose to attend the University of South Dakota. I chose South Dakota because I felt on my visit, it was the place I wanted to be. I felt comfortable; and the players and coaches were really the type of people I felt I would like to play with, and play for. I also attended because they have a great education program and in addition to playing in the NFL, that is what I want to pursue for a career and help kids learn, as well as pursue their dreams no matter what they may be.
What were your goals for your senior year?
– My goals for senior your were really high! My main goal was to do my absolute best, help my team be the best they could be and wanted to be one of the best OL, in our conference. I wanted to make sure that every thing I did, would help put my team in the best position to win.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
-I have not met with any scouts lately. I met a few scouts earlier in our season and they all said about the same thing. They wanted to let me know that a lot of teams were watching me, keep playing hard and have a great season.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
-Playing center, I feel is just as important as being the quarterback. You have to be correct on every play and make sure everyone is going in the right direction. I feel that my knowledge of the game and my innate football sense sets me apart from all others. Also, that if anything goes on with the defense in front of me, I’m able to make adjustment so I can steer my line in the proper direction. Again, my greatest asset is my excellent football sense, IQ, my natural technique and knowledge of the game , as well as reading the defense.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
-What I look for are certain tendencies In the defense, whether or not they are tipping their hat to which type of defense they are in or whether or not they will be blitzing or stunting. I look for certain players and whether or not they play one side of the field and what type of player they are. I like to look at what type of defense is run on certain parts of the field or when they might like to blitz on certain spots of the field also.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
-The toughest player ive ever played against is Garrett Goebel who played HS football at montini catholic in Lombard, Illinois. I also wrestled against him. He played college football at Ohio State and is now on an NFL roster. Garrett is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever played against.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
-I would compare myself to Olin Kruetz, I say this because I feel that I play with the same tenacity and smarts, that he plays with.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
-The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome was when I tore my ACL my redshirt freshman year of college. I over came it by never giving up and working as hard as possible to get back. I’m even better than I was before I got hurt.
What system fits your style of play the best?
-I feel a west coast offense with a heavy run and play action passing is the most desirable style for me.
What is your biggest strength?
-My biggest strength is my knowledge, coachability and quickness. I feel that I study and know defenses well enough that I can adjust and make adjustments on the fly and play quickly.
What is your biggest weakness?
-I don’t feel I have a weakness, but am always striving to get better.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
-I would be a great asset to your team!
Growing up, who was your role model?
-Matt Birk because he was tough and I want to be just as good as he was.
Who is/was your favorite team and player in the NFL, and why?
-My favorite team growing up was the bears because it was dads favorite team and they were always on and I enjoyed watching them play because they were a good team and played with heart and tenacity. Brian Urlacher is my favorite player because he played his heart out every play and was an example of a great football player.
What was the most tragic event that ever happened in your life and how did you overcome it?
-The most tragic event in my life would have to be when my parents got divorced. I overcame it by staying close to family and working hard in my school work and sports to keep my mind off of it. and as I got older I eventually understood the reasoning and have been able to cope with it.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
-I would pay off my student loans and help take care of the people who have helped me, get to where I am today.
NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org