Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Alex Johnson, DE/OLB, Old Dominion
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
There were no teams that recruited me out of Buckingham County High School. However, I was accepted in the Post Graduate Program at Fork Union Military Academy. While there, I was recruited by University of Kentucky, NC State, Morgan State, Virginia Union University, Chowan and Old Dominion University (ODU).
Where did you choose and why?
I chose ODU because I was offered a full academic scholarship. ODU was a new Division I Program and I wanted to be a part of their history. Also, the other schools said I was either underweight or did not have the scores. Therefore, they offered me a partial scholarship or a preferred walk on spot.
What were your goals for senior year?
My goals for my senior year were to start, make all conference and to get a shot at the NFL. However, ODU entered transitioned from FCS to FBS my senior year, which meant No playoffs, no conference championship, no nothing. We just had a 12 game schedule. We got new coaches also and everything changed. The coaches’ wanted to develop the underclassmen to get them ready for the FBS.
Have any scouts met with you, if so what are they saying?
I have had no 1-on-1 meetings with any NFL teams. I only talked with two scouts after my ODU pro day on March 18, 2014. I have been entertaining a few calls from some CFL teams like Calgary and the Red blacks. I’ve did a BSN Combine February 26th and visited an open try out for the Calgary Stampede on April 5th.
At your position, what separates you from others?
I considered myself a hybrid player. At ODU I played the stud position in our defense. Sometimes my hand was in the ground dropping back into coverage and sometimes I was rushing off the edge. I feel that my get off and motor separates me from others along with my passion for the game.
Tell us what you look for when you breaking down film?
As a defensive player I’m looking for the tendencies of the O-lineman. His stance, his kickback, hips, does he reach, top heavy or bottom heavy when he passes sets, is he turning his shoulders vertical or horizontal. Studying my opponents just makes the game slow down on game day.
Who was the toughest player you ever have faced?
Bobby Massie, starting right tackle for the Arizona Cardinals.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
Von Miller, his “EAT Greedy” mind set, which inspires me to be all I can be.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle was making it out of Buckingham County. Coming from a town of only 16,000 people, I saw playing sports as my only way out. I earned a full ride and graduated with a degree. Making an NFL team will not only make my dreams come true, but I hope to inspire many kids in my home town that it doesn’t matter where you come from. There was also the obstacle of size. I was always outweighed, but I didn’t let that stop me. Ultimately, I just believe in myself and in my dreams.
What system fits your style of play the best?
3-4 pass rusher like Green Bay uses Clay Matthews or a scheme like Pittsburg. But overall, I’m a football player – I can adjust into any scheme. I didn’t always play Defense, but when I made the transition I just had to adjust.
What is your biggest strength?
Get off, High Motor, effort, bending, and football IQ.
What is your biggest weakness?
Size, spend too long on blocks.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
I would tell you that you would not find another team player that is more dedicated than the student to the game of football than me. I may not be the biggest or the strongest, but my heart is something that you can’t measure. I love to compete and just proving and showing people that a little faith in yourself will go a long way. I am the player that you want.
Growing up, who was your role model?
I can’t name just one person, but my Mom, Dad, big brother and my two sisters were great role models.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
I’m a Cheese head. I have been a Green Bay Packer fan my entire life, but if the Bears, Lions or Vikings gave me a shot, I’m sure we can come to a mutual agreement. My favorite player was Brett Favre. His toughness, passion, and play making ability separated him from others. I still think he can play in today’s game.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be?
Brett Favre, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali.
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
My first check will go to my family. They have sacrificed a lot for me, so whatever they wanted to buy would be okay with me. I just want to make them happy.