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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Jake Payne, DL, Shenandoah University

Shenandoah defensive end Jake Payne has a great step.

Shenandoah defensive end Jake Payne has a great first step.

NFL Draft Diamonds and our staff have been bringing our readers Prospect Interviews over the past 2 years and this year we mixed up the questions and added some fun questions for our readers. We have tons of NFL staff that read our interviews, and we actually received several of the questions from NFL scouts we speak too. This gives them a little bit more information regarding your character. We hope to bring you more than 300 interviews of NFL Draft Prospects this season. You will be able to track them all on the front page of our website in the banner.

What is your name? 

Jake Payne

What is your Height/Weight? 

6’4 272

What is your position? 


Where do you play college football? 

Shenandoah University

Football is about giving back, what is the coolest thing you have done off the field? 

My junior year of high school I went on a missions trip to Guatemala. It really made me realize how blessed I am and appreciate the opportunities given to me.

What was the hardest college class you ever had to take?

Data communications and Networking

Where are you from? 

Catharpin, Virginia

Who is your role model, and why? 

My role models are my parents. They both have worked very hard their whole life and dealt with adversity in order to provide me with the things i need to be able to play football and go to school.

Did you play any other sports growing up? 

I grew up wrestling and played baseball

Did you play any other positions in football? 

We have packages where i am an Outside linebacker and sophomore year i played defensive tackle mainly. I also have played Tight End in our short yardage/goal line package. In high school i played Tight End, then senior year i was moved to guard and was All-State. Defensively i played nose guard, defensive tackle, and linebacker as well. 

At your position, what separates you from others? 

What separates me the most is that I have a non-stop motor and fire off as hard as I can every snap. I also have the endurance to do so on every snap of the game and never come out. I also am very good with my hands and have a huge variety of pass rushing moves.

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

When I watch film i look at the tackles pass sets, how and when they shoot their hands, and if they lean at all at the point of attack.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced? 

My sophomore year I faced a tackle named Will Ferrill from Hampden-Sydney. He was a two time All-American and being scouted for the NFL. He was a tough challenge and got me a few times but I had my fair share of wins as well.

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

JJ Watt. He has a non-stop motor and is relentless in his pass rush. Also Connor Barwin, because he is aggressive with his hands and explosive off the edge.

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

My junior year of high school I was sidelined with a back injury and they had originally said my football career was over. However I saw multiple doctors, did physical therapy, and strengthened my back and was able to return the following year with no issues.

Do you have any pre-game rituals? 

Every morning of game day when I wake up I do a huge stretch and scream I AM ALIVE!!! I know it sounds weird and my roommates hate it but it wakes me up and gets me ready for they day. Also after the coin toss I go to the end of the sideline and say a prayer thanking God for giving me the opportunity to be playing football.

As a small school football player what obstacles do you feel you have to overcome?

The biggest obstacle as a small school player is getting recognition. Many people will say that I only look so good on film because I’m not going against any good competition.

What is your biggest strength? 

My biggest strengths are my explosiveness off the ball, my aggressive hands, and my non-stop motor.

What is your biggest weakness?

My biggest weakness is that sometimes I will think too much, instead of just playing

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

I’m going to outwork my competition both on and off the field. Also, since I am coming from a small school I haven’t had the resources Division 1 players have had, so I have a lot more potential for growth, both physically and in my technique.

Who was your favorite player and/or NFL team growing up? 

When I was young I was a Buccaneers fan and loved watching Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.

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

Moses, Reggie White, Arianna Grande

With your first NFL paycheck what would you buy?

I’d buy a Hyperbaric Chamber, I hear they do wonders for muscle recovery.

Rapid Answers:

  • Spongebob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
  • Backstreet Boys or One Direction?
  • Lifetime Channel or HGTV?
  • Waffles or Pancakes?
  • Snakes or Spiders?
  • Madden or Mario?

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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