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Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Willie Downs, WR, Valdosta State University

willie downsEvery 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?

Willie Downs 

What is your Height/Weight?

6’2″  205 lbs 

What is your position?

WR is my primary position but have the ability to play secondary as I did in my 2009 Army All-American game

Where do you play college football?

I originally committed to Florida State coming out of high school as a nationally ranked recruit but later finished my career at Valdosta State University

How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?

In addition to Florida State, I was recruited by Clemson, Florida, Miami, Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, and others

How did you choose your school?

Family, location, coaches, and the opportunity to play as a freshman

Where are you from?

Tallahassee, Florida

Who is your role model, and why?

My parents are my role models because they instilled important values in me like work ethic, honesty, and integrity

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

I have met with several scouts from the NFL since my Pro Day. Most have been saying that my size and speed will be an asset at the next level

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I also played basketball and baseball growing up

Did you play any other positions in football?

I’ve played every position except on the offensive and defensive lines. I even kicked field goals and punted and wasn’t too bad at either (laughter)

At your position, what separates you from others?

What separates me from others is my size, speed, and the way I attack the ball. I also have tremendous body control to adjust to passes. My football intelligence and understanding of the game helps me to find holes in zone defenses and allows me to beat man coverage.

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

I look for certain players and tendencies. Learning these tendencies and having the intelligence of the game allows me to take full advantage of the opposing scheme. My preparation allows me to really slow the game down.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

The toughest player I ever faced was Nigel Bradham, who is now a NFL linebacker for the Buffalo Bills.

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

Physically, I compare myself to Andre Johnson because of our size and athleticism are very similar. Mentally, Steve Smith Sr. because of his attitude and passion for the game.

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

My biggest obstacle was not attending the college I originally committed to and furthering my career for the NFL. I took a different route but the adversity has made me stronger and prepared me for the expectations of the NFL. 

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I didn’t really have a pre-game ritual growing up but now that I have a little girl, I make sure I talk to her before every game.

What is your biggest strength?

My biggest strength is my versatility. I love to have the ball in my hands when the game is on the line or when we need a big play. I want to be that go-to-guy and the type of player that a team can rely on in the clutch.  

What is your biggest weakness?

When I come to learn of my biggest weakness, I will let you know (laughter)

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

I’m that type of player that the NFL and fans have been waiting for. Every team could use a player like me both on the field and in the locker room. I have been apart of a championship team and promise to bring a champion’s attitude everyday. As Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a something thing; it’s an all time thing.” 

Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?

My favorite player was Sean Taylor, RIP. My favorite NFL team growing up and to this day is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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

Sean Taylor, Roger Goodell, Deion Sanders 

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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