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Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Justin Tukes, TE, University of Central Florida

justin tukesEvery 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?

Justin Tukes

What is your Height/Weight?

6’4 1/2 260

What is your position?

Tight end

Where do you play college football?

The University of Central Florida.

How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?

6 teams

How did you choose your school?

Program history, coaching staff and what they asked of the tight end position in that program.

Where are you from?

I’m from Sylvester Georgia

Who is your role model, and why?

I actually have two, both are my cousins Joshua Scott and Robert Smith. I had the opportunity to go stay with a little bit before college started. The way they carried themselves and kept a steady head throughout any situation whether it was positive or negative.

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

I have met with a few scouts and they ask a lot of background information on you- about your family and where you are from and as the process goes on they are focused o n football. I am blessed to have this opportunity to go through this process.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

Yes, I saw myself primarily as a basketball player

Did you play any other positions in football?

I also played defensive end and have been working on my long snapping skills.

At your position, what separates you from others?

The little things I do without the ball that goes unnoticed like cutting off linebackers aligned deep inside and communicating all indicators that other guys on the line can’t see. Playing to the whistle.

justin tukes 1When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?

Alignment of the defensive line for gap responsibility, linebacker depth when they rush compared to dropping, safety location- middle field open, middle field closed, if the safeties are caping linebackers, helmet stripes of the linebackers, stance keys. Any little thing that will give me the upper hand to know where my opponent is going.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

Darius Nall of the University of Central Florida.

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

Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys.

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

Mine would have to be living in Orlando preparing for the season and my mom sending me a text saying they may be losing the house. They were living check to check and she became I will then.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I use to go on YouTube and watch inspirational speech videos over and over again right before we went out on the field.

What is your biggest strength?

My size, ability to block in space as well as on the line, my ability to feel out the game and decipher where defenders will be based on film and gap responsibility.

What is your biggest weakness?

I have worked very hard at perfecting my route running and leverage and have focused on finishing the plays. My junior year, I had more opportunity catching the ball and if the opportunity doesn’t happen in a game you have to continue to perfect it in practice. These are two things I’ve focused on during this training process with some former NFL coaches as well as from players like Jared Cook of the St. Louis Rams and Jordan Thompson of the Detroit Lions.

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

I’d say I going to go work harder than anyone else and going to come in shape, ready to learn with a lunch pale mentality. During all my down time, I will be in my playbook learning the offense. As a TE, it is your responsibility to know everyone’s responsibility on the line and I am going to work hard to learn it as fast as possible. I am going to work my w ay on all specials teams and learn what my special teams coach wants of me. During practice, I am going to make every rep count whether it is 1 or 15. When I’m not in, I will betaking mental reps to make sure their is no drop off when I get in and I will make sure I a m ready when my name is called in practice and meetings.

Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?

Shannon Sharpe- Tight end for the Broncos and Green Bay. I didn’t really have a favorite team, I would always choose from the teams that were playing.

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

My Grandma, my Grandpa and Albert Einstein.

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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