Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Jared Koster, LB, New Mexico Highlands
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What is your name?
Where do you play college football?
New Mexico Highlands University (UCLA transfer)
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
UCLA, Arizona State, San Diego State, Colorado State, Cal, UNLV
How did you choose your school?
UCLA was close to home and I felt we had the best chance to win. When I transferred I chose to go play with Jordan Campbell who had transferred from USC and who I had played high school football with.
Where are you from?
Who is your role model, and why?
My role model is Brian Urlacher because he was a hard nosed undersized linebacker who became a legend in the NFL.
Have any scouts met with you yet, and if so what are they saying?
I’ve met with the Panthers and Packers to take my Wonderlic test. Also I met with a Rams scout during season and he told me he would like to see me at 240 and that my 6″1 frame could carry that weight very well.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
Soccer, basketball, football, track
Did you play any other positions in football?
In High school I played left guard as a sophomore for the Norco CIF championship team. My junior year I played defensive end and my senior year I played middle linebacker. At UCLA I played outside linebacker. In my 3 seasons at NMHU I played the Sam, mike, and will linebacker positions (1 season at each).
At your position, what separates you from others?
My speed and my football IQ. Also my block shedding is top tier. I scrape sideline to sideline very well and am very experienced at reading the offensive line.
When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?
When I break down film I look for formation tendencies as well as down and distance tendencies. When does a team pass and when does a team run? What does their play action look like in contrast to their run?
Who was the toughest player you ever faced?
The toughest player I ever faced was Jonathan Franklin at UCLA. He was a very explosive back who read holes very well. No one at the d2 level compared to the talent I faced my 3 years at UCLA.
If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be and why?
I would compare my play to a faster but smaller Vontaze Burfict. I played vs him in high school and averaged more tackles per game then him in the same conference. We both have a nose for the football and play every down until the whistle blows. However, I am more cautious about not getting personal fouls.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle I ever had to overcome was experiencing several injuries during my career at UCLA and eventually having to transfer in order to get playing time after getting lost in the system due to the aforementioned injuries. I responded by garnering 103 tackles and earning 1st team all conference and 1st team all super region 4 my first year at NMHU. In my last season I broke the NCAA record for solo tackles in a season (104) and led d2 in total tackles with 172. Also, I led the conference in TFLs (16) and forced fumbles (4), finishing with two defensive Tds as well.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I listen to hardcore rock music before the game on my dre beats along with Hip-Hop. That’s the only time I listen to hardcore rock. Other than that I just trust my preparation.
What is your biggest strength?
My speed both lateral and straight ahead (4.4 40 and 4.0 shuttle). Sideline to sideline tackling and block shedding with excellent MM coverage on running backs, TEs, slots, and great underneath zone awareness.
What is your biggest weakness?
My weight . At 6″1 225 I want to gain another 15 lbs to play inside LB in the NFL.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
That I am a smart, coach able, fast and hard nosed linebacker who dedicates focus and time on and off the field to become the best player for his team.
Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?
My favorite player was James Harrison and my favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would you choose?
Steve Jobs, Sean Taylor, and Barry Sanders.