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Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Josh Mann, OL, Old Dominion University

josh mann 1 Every year, NFL Draft Diamonds brings our readers the best in depth interviews on the internet. We specialize in giving players an opportunity to showcase their talents on our website. We conducted interviews last year with over 300 plus players. We want you to enjoy our interviews, because when these young men are in the league, we will not be surprised, and neither should you. 

What is your name?

Josh Mann

Where do you play college football?

Old Dominion University

How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?

I had scholarship offers from Delaware, William & Mary, Coastal Carolina, and Old Dominion.  I was primarily recruited by CAA teams

How did you choose your school?

Old Dominion gave me my first offer my junior year of high school, which meant a lot to me.  The school is very close to home, it has a solid engineering program, and I liked how the football program was a new start up program.  It gave me the chance to help build a legacy and help the program grow.

Where are you from?

Virginia Beach, VA

Who is your role model, and why?

My father; He is the hardest worker I know, and he is a man of high moral value and character.

Have any scouts met with you yet, and if so what are they saying?

I have met with a few scouts, they like my size and skill but have been waiting to see me play my senior season.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I played basketball, baseball, and wrestled growing up, but football was always my favorite sport by far.

Did you play any other positions in football?

I’ve played center since I started playing when I was six years old.  Along the way I have played a little bit of defense, and I played guard in college.  Center has always been my preferred position, though.

josh mannAt your position, what separates you from others?

My awareness and “FBI” (Football Intelligence) and my attention to detail, whether it be on the field or in the film room

When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?

I always begin by analyzing a team’s personnel, who I will be playing and their tendencies.  I look for things like hand placement, alignment, and favored pass-rush moves.  After that I will watch the overall defensive tendencies, which blitzes they run, situational defenses, etc.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

My junior year I played Aaron Donald, who went on to be drafted 13th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.  I was excited at the chance to test myself against the best competition possible, and it was definitely an eye-opening experience.

If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be and why?

My favorite center to watch in the NFL is Jason Kelce, from the Eagles.  He is quick, tenacious, and confident in his play and I always try to emulate that when I play.

What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?

My junior year, I tore my ACL towards the end of the season in a game at Idaho. I had to undergo reconstructive surgery and months of arduous rehab, some of the toughest work I’ve ever had to put in. I ended up getting medically cleared six months later. I made it through with the support of my family and friends, and the determination to return to the football field.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I have to listen to a regimented playlist in order to get into “the zone”

What is your biggest strength?

My ability to overcome adversity; my junior year I tore my ACL towards the end of the season, and returned in six months to have the best season of my career, capped off with first team All-Conference honors for the first time in a D 1-A conference.  This shows up in games and practice too, I am always able to play the next play and stay positive when times are tough.

What is your biggest weakness?

Maybe my experience; I played in the CAA for two years and in C-USA for a year.  Although those are fantastic conferences, they aren’t regarded as top-tier conferences, and I often hear that I am a “small-school” player.

If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?

I am the safest investment you can make: I am a high effort player, I have shown steady improvement throughout my career and will continue to improve, being an engineering major, I have demonstrated that I have the ability to solve problems and think critically under pressure, which is key for an offensive lineman, and I am a consummate professional that will represent your team with class.

Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?

I grew up a Chicago Bears fan and loved watching Brian Urlacher when I was young.  I always admired the passion he had for the game.

If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would you choose?

John Wooden because he is the best Coach of all time and I value his wisdom of sports and life; Albert Einstein because I would love to pick his brain and learn how he thought the way he did; and my father so he could soak it in with me.

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

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