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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Mark Kozhaya, OL, Whittier College

Mark Kozhaya is a monster on the offensive line. I love his abilities (Credit: Whittier Website)

NFL Draft Diamonds website has been providing our readers Prospect Interviews over the past 3 years and this year we mixed things up a bit. Our questions are designed to give our readers a little more insight on the draft eligible player. We hope to bring you more than 350 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 to the right.  Now let’s meet our next prospect!!!!

What is your name?

Mark Kozhaya

What is your height/weight?

6’5” 330

What is your position?

Offensive Line

Where do you play college football?

Whittier College

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

I used to help out at a Lineman clinic at my old high school. It was great teaching the youth teams the knowledge you know about how to play offensive line.

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

Econometrics my junior year

Where are you from?

Downey, California

Who is your role model, and why?

My father. He’s always been the man I look up to when it comes to life. He’s a family man, knows how to balance fun and work, and is always there when I need him.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I played baseball all the way from 5 years old to my junior year in high school.

Did you play any other positions in football?

A little bit of defensive tackle

At your position, what separates you from others?

I think it’s my ability to breakdown film and my attention to detail. I always try to perfect my craft and pride myself on being a technician.

When breaking down film, what do you look for?

When I’m watching film, I look for where the DE is lined up. That gives away what gap he is playing. I also look to see how he plays the run and what his favorite pass rush moves are. I also look at LB flow on run plays to see if they are aggressive or finesse. Safety rotation gives away where the pressure is coming from and that is the biggest key to setting the protection and picking it up.

Who is the toughest player you ever faced?

Probably myself. I am the biggest critic of myself and will always try to perfect my craft.

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

Tryon Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. He is the ultimate technician and when he gets his hands on you, you’re done for.

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

I got injured my sophomore year of college in the offseason, and I worked my butt off to get back to the level of play I was at. It wasn’t easy, but with the support of everyone on my team and my family I was able to overcome it and be ready for camp without missing any time.

Do you have any pregame rituals?

Pray before every game

What is your biggest strength?

My football knowledge and IQ for the game, I am able to pick up tendencies easily and know what the defense is doing just based on alignment.

What is your biggest weakness?

Sometimes I catch myself over analyzing things and thinking too much. Sometimes you just have to go out and play.

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

That if you sign me you’re going to get a player that works hiss butt off and is coachable. You’ll never hear me complain and I will be a team-first guy.

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

San Francisco 49ers

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

Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and JFK

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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