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What is your name? Faysal Shafaat
Where do you play college football? University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
My freshman year, I went to a 6a public school but then transferred to a smaller private school so no schools really knew about me until my senior year when my coach started sending out film, then I had schools coming in everyday including duke, penn, Lehigh, south Carolina, and Illinois offered me and I was committed for defensive end. A couple weeks later they called me and said there four star prospect tight end C. J. Fiedorowicz had decommited and they said they liked my receiving highlights and asked if I wanted to play tight end. Before my official visit I guess, some coaches left and I lost contact with them.
How did you choose your school?
I remember waking up on a Sunday morning and my coach calling me saying some coach from Chattanooga was here if I wanted to meet with them or not, and I said yeah I would come in. I had never heard of Chattanooga prior. The defensive coordinator at the time Adam Fuller met with me and said if he liked my highlight tape he would call me back. I told him he would like it, he called me back and said he hadn’t even finished it and they were going to offer me. I didn’t even plan on coming to UTC but when Illinois fell through it was a last minute decision.
Where are you from? Orlando, Florida
Who is your role model, and why? Definitely my Mom. She is the most selfless person, and is always looking to help others before herself. She has never missed one of my games even though she lives 600 miles away, she is truly my biggest fan.
Have any scouts met with you yet, and if so what are they saying?
There are scouts coming to practice and games every week, but the only one I talked to recently was one from the Chiefs and he said he liked what I could do on the field, just coming from an FCS school you have to dominate on this level.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
My first true love was basketball, and I was actually the player of the year in our district my senior year, In fact power house Orlando Christian Prep was in our district. I still have a passion for it and always find time to play in the off season.
Did you play any other positions in football? We ran the wing T in high school so the only time I really got the ball was when we had 3rd and long or were in the red zone and I flexed out for a jump ball. I played defensive end and led the state of Florida my senior year with 20 sacks.
At your position, what separates you from others?
I think it definitely has to be my ball skills, and the strength of my hands. The ability to make tough catches in traffic over defenders. Also savvy to fight off defenders during my route, and set defenders up at the top of my route.
When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?
I look for tendencies in the D-line. How do they play? Are the defensive ends up the field guys, or more sit back and read type. Are they active with their hands, do they fight across your face? As far as the secondary I look what type of coverages they play to different formations and down and distance. Also how the safeties and backers cover, are they hands on, or turn and run type guys
Who was the toughest player you ever faced?
It would probably have to be my first ever game and start as a freshman against Nebraska going against their big defensive end I can’t recall his name though. He was pretty tough to block.
If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be and why?
That’s a tough question, maybe a little bit of Tony Gonzalez because of his ability to make the tough catch in traffic. I like to compare myself to Julius Thomas because of the way Denver mismatches him. They get him isolated on defenders where he can use his athleticism to make plays. And also my history with basketball has really helped me be able to box out defenders in the red zone, just like these two.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
Well one of our teammates who was with us in the spring just passed away a week ago. It was just so unexpected and everybody was in shock. He was the most positive person I have ever met. We just dedicated the last two games for him and went out there a got the two wins for him. He was one of our biggest fans even though he wasn’t on the team this fall.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I just like to put my beats on and listen to some Lil Wayne or Kevin Gates.
What is your biggest strength?
I would say my ball skills, and body control to catch a ball through contact, and to be able to high point balls. My versatility to be split out wide, in the slot, and out the backfield running routes. Also my competitiveness, I live for one on ones in practice.
What is your biggest weakness?
Probably second level blocking and finishing blocks.I have success at the point of attack I just have to consistently stay with it.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
You would get everything I have. When I put my mind to something and set a goal to be reached, I don’t stop, and am a really motivated person, I’ve had to work for everything in my life, that’s the way I was raised. I have always had to prove people wrong when they didn’t believe in me, at the end of the day all that matters if you believe you can.
Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?
I didn’t have cable growing up so I never had the opportunity to watch football until I got to college. I don’t really have a favorite team I just like watching the game, I like the way Tony Gonzalez played the game, and how we was such a professional in every aspect of it. I enjoy the way Jimmy Graham goes up and gets the ball too.
If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would you choose?
Will Smith, Muhammad Ali, and Tony Gonzalez.