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Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Joseph Koonce, DE/OLB, Montclair State University

joe koonceEvery 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?

Joseph Koonce 

What is your Height/Weight?

6ft 4in, 245 lbs

What is your position?

Defensive End / Outside Linebacker 

Where do you play college football?

Montclair State University 

How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?

How did you choose your school?

Montclair State had a winning tradition, both as a program and as the head coach’s history.  Coach Rick Giancola is the winningest active coach in D3. I wanted to continue that tradition and be a part of it.  

Where are you from?

Cliffside Park, NJ 

Who is your role model, and why?

My role model is my father.  My whole life he has worked 2 jobs to be able to support me in anything I do. Whether it is with family or at work, he always gives his all towards what he is doing at that moment. That is why my father is my role model–because he is exactly what I want to be in life. 

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

I have not personally meet with any scouts yet. 

Did you play any other sports growing up?

Growing up I played football, Basketball, Baseball, Track. 

Did you play any other positions in football?

I have played Defensive End, Outside Linebacker, Tight End, and Wide Receiver. 

joe koonce 1At your position, what separates you from others?

What separates me at my position is my tenacity, my willingness to put my body on the line at any moment to make that game-changing play. My leadership also separates me at my position–no matter where I am on the field, my teammates were able to turn to me to put them where they needed to be, to be successful. 

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

When I break down film I always break down my opponents’ footwork, along with their balance. I tally how many times they make the same mistake, even if it is something as small as them standing taller in the stance on run plays vs pass plays. The smallest weakness of your opponent has to become your greatest strength towards them.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

The toughest player I have ever faced is a Quarterback from Morrisville State named Lemar Johnson.  The combination of his speed, along with the scheme that he played in, made him very difficult to defend against. 

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

I would have to say J.J Watt. There may be a size difference between us, but I think our style of play is very similar. The ability to play both the run and rush the passer is something I pride myself on. We both also use our power moves on a pass rush to set up a speed rush to catch the opponent off guard. 

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

The most difficult thing I’ve ever have to overcome is losing my best friend my junior year of high school. We had played football together our whole lives. During a summer camp practice while doing tackling drills he was just hit the wrong way went down and never got back up. He was pronounced dead later that day at the hospital. Overcoming this was not easy. I almost hung up my cleats for good after seeing someone I cared about lose his life to this game. Through a lot of support from family, friends and a very tough mental battle with myself I was able to overcome one of the most dramatic experience’s of my life and come out the other side stronger then before.  It’s been a big motivation for me in my football career.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

The only pre-game ritual I have is that I must get my wrists and ankles taped in a specific order. 

What is your biggest strength?

My biggest strength is that I have a very high motor. I never stop coming at my opponent and can do so for the duration of an entire game. 

What is your biggest weakness? 

I’m addicted to working out and my coaches have had to physically make me leave the gym because I didn’t want to leave.

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

I would say I am incredibly determined and hardworking, that coming from a small school is not a bad thing but a blessing because it makes me work that much harder than everyone else, and that the small school label makes me more determined to prove the team that gives me a chance right. 

Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?

My favorite player growing up was Curtis Martin and my favorite team was and still is the Jets.

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

If I could choose 3 people I would pick Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Belichick and John F. Kennedy

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 [email protected]

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