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Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Richard Aiyegoro, WR, Howard University

richardEvery 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?

Richard Ademola Aiyegoro

Where do you play college football?

Howard University

How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?

About 5 teams were recruiting me.

How did you choose your school?

I originally started at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, I went there first because I got my test scores back late and that was the only school that accepted me, then I transferred to Elizabeth City State University. I went there thinking it was a spread offense and it wasn’t. Then I transferred to Howard University in the Spring of 2012.

Where are you from?

Both my parents are from Lagos Nigeria, Africa but I was born in Landover, Maryland at Prince George’s Hospital.

Who is your role model, and why?

My role model is my mother, my father passed away when I was in the 7th grade and he was a professor at Howard University. At an early age I had to become a man and take care of my mother. She is my role model because of all the obstacles she has faced since then raising a boy into becoming a man. She was the first one to put a football in my hand, she was the first one to take me to the football field at the age of 5 because I’m an only child and she didn’t want me at home doing nothing like the other kids growing up in a not so good neighborhood. She was also the first one to put me in track and field which I now thank her for more than ever even though practice was tough because it helped me with speed growing up. She told me since I’m smaller than every one that I have to be faster than them so they would never catch me. She is my role model because of her relentless faith in God and her ability to manage putting me in school without a scholarship being an only parent until I got to howard and I walked on the team and earned a scholarship. Her day in and day out consistency of being a strong African American woman motivates me to know that if it’s something I want in life no matter what it is..I could get it if I worked hard enough. She always tells me, you can’t beat hard work and you can’t buy speed and your dream will only work if you do

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

Yes, some scouts approached me during my FCS Bowl game I played in down in Maimi, Florida on December 7. They where telling me I have what it takes to play in the NFL and my speed is in my favor because I’m able to change gears at any moment. They said I would also make a great punt returner and kick returner and that I reminded them of Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Ravens

Did you play any other sports growing up?

Yes, Growing up I played just about every sport. My mother wanted to keep me active year round. I started playing flag football at 4, then I played tee ball. I didn’t really like it because I couldn’t hit the ball very far for a home run. Then I played basketball every year until my father passed away because it would be hard for my mom to go from taking me around during football season to doing the same for basketball season. Every year after flag football I started playing contact football and never missed a year. I started running track at 6 and have been running every summer for club teams until I got to Eleanor Roosevelt High School. There my team competed every year for state championships in both the 4×1 and 4×2.

Did you play any other positions in football?

Yes, growing up in football I played just about every position except for O-line and D-line. I started playing tight end because I was small enough to get reverses and they wouldn’t see me behind the offensive line and on defense I played safety and corner. As I got older around 11 and 12. I played more of safety, quarterback, and running back for about 3 or 4 years. Once I got to high school I only played running back, punt returner, and kick returner. Then once I got into college my coach my freshman year change my position to slot receiver, punt returner and kick returner. Now finishing up in college I played both inside and out side receiver, punt returner and kick returner and I was also the quarter back on scout team when I was in my redshirt years at howard and I held field goals and PAT’s my senior year for the Bison.

richard 1At your position, what separates you from others?

At my position what separates me from others is the ability to be a team player and also a motivator to push the other receivers to get better each and every day, there’s never a day that goes by that you can’t find something to get better from. I used to always tell the receivers today we gotta work on catch the ball with only our hands or today we have to focus on our releases. My versatility to be able to move me in the back field then motion me out to the slot adds a more dynamic scheme to any team. Also my ability to play both inside and outside receiver, I’m not limited to only playing the X, Y, Z or H back. I also thinks what separates me is my ability to know what’s going on in every situation of the game whether it’s 3 & 12 meaning I have to run my route to get to the sticks or if it’s a 2 minute drill and that means getting out of bounds or staying in bounds and getting back lined up quickly. I also think out of me you get a player that will give his all no matter what the situation is whether it’s raining sleet or snow or sunny I’ve played in all conditions and it doesn’t matter to me, I just want to win by any means necessary. Also with my size I’m able to create match ups with bigger safeties or corners because a lot of times those guys can’t run with me especially in the slot, I utilize my speed to create separation on the deep balls or the crosser routes or intermediate routes.

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

When I break down film before I even start to evaluate the person going against me, I like to break down the coaches tendencies, what they like to do in different situations whether that means down and distance, which quarter it is, depending on the score or the type of game it is, they type of defenses they like to call. Is the coach an aggressive play caller, I look for if he likes to change coverages up a lot or does he like to play it safe and run man coverage all day. For special teams i like to look at if the kicker/punter likes to place the ball in a certain place. How far he can kick, his averages, depending on weather, is he left footed right footed the ball may spin differently. I think that is what’s most important. Once I do that it makes the player a lot easier because you know the tendencies, now I watch the safeties and corners posture, what type of technique they like to play inside or outside. Do they like to get hands on and be physical or get hands on and play trail technique. Then I watch how they react when the ball is in the air do they attack it or let it come down, do they like to come up and make a big hit or are they the type to just dive at the ground. All of those things play an important role on watching my opponent day in and day out preparing for each game.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

One of the toughest players I have ever faced is my teammate Julien David who plays safety but suffered a knee injury this season. We worked together so long he knows what I like to do and vise versa. So it was kind of like an iron sharpening an iron, and both of us like the competition.

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

I think the one player I would compare myself to is Tavon Austin of the St Louis Rams because not only the way he plays on the field but how he carries hisself off the field. I think it’s important because being a smaller player we have a lot of weight hold when it comes to having respect by other players in the league. His play on the field is explosive and he is able to make a big play at any time and I see myself the same way.

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

That’s a tough question, I think the biggest obstacle in my life that I had to over come was when I lost my father. It really hurt me because of all my friends that didn’t have fathers, I was fortunate to have one. The day I lost him my world came crashing down and it really set me back for a while. Often I found myself not caring about school or my grades, I didn’t really love or know why I was doing anything in life because I thought that not having a father growing up meant that you were not going to mount up to nothing or even be as successful as him which was filling big shoes. My father was a professor at Howard University, he had his masters and his PHD. So i knew if I couldn’t get that i would still have to be great in something if it wasn’t school. So I turned to football.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

My pre game ritual which has been the same since I was younger was to just pray. Every time I step on that field just pray that God will give me his strength and I will perform as best as I can for him.

What is your biggest strength?

My biggest strength is the ability to be a leader and help people. I think I was put on earth to be a natural born helper. I try to help as many people as possible whether I know them or not and I don’t expect anything in return because I know that God sees it and other people see it to. Also my ability to work with any group of people, throughout all the schools I’ve been too I still have friends from those schools and we still keep in touch because they know I would do anything for them.

What is your biggest weakness?

My biggest weakness is people take my kindness for granted, in which I take it out on the football field, but every lesson is learned and I’ve learned you can still help people, but you just can’t treat everybody the same because some people don’t value what your doing for them.

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

If you where a GM, I would say, Good evening Sir, adding me to your franchise you get a team player, a complete well rounded and smart person. One who understands the game and is not interested in being flashy or a cancer to the team. One who will give there all for the whole organization and the city the team is in and to put my life on the line to win as many football games as we can this season. And most importantly make sure if i have something to do with it, we will win this football game.

Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?

My favorite player growing up was Champ Bailey and he played for the Redskins my hometown favorite team. My mother and father called me Champ growing up and my mother still does because she says im a champion and hasn’t been wrong ever since.

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

If i could have dinner with 3 people it would be my mother, my father, and my grandmother because I’m her favorite grandson.

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 nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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