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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Nikolaus D’Avanzo, DE, University of New Mexico

Nikolaus D’Avanzo of New Mexico is making waves in the NFL Draft process

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 500 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? 

-Nikolaus D’Avanzo

What is your Height/Weight? 

-6’3 280lbs

What is your position? 

-Defensive End

Where do you play college football? 

-The University of New Mexico

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

-The coolest thing that I have done off the field would be visiting the local UNM Childs Hospital, just seeing the kids faces light up when you walk in the room is the coolest thing I experienced. 

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

-The hardest college class that I ever took would be…..

Where are you from? 

-I am from Baltimore, Maryland.

Who is your role model, and why?

-My role model is my grandfather, before he passed away he told me to never give up and if I was going to achieve my goals I had to “Just Keep Going” this quote meant so much to me I have it tattooed on my arm.  

Did you play any other sports growing up?

-I played almost every sport there it to play lacrosse, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, and of course football ever since I was 4 years old.  

Did you play any other positions in football? 

-Growing up I played middle linebacker and fullback. When I got to high school I moved to defensive line and running back. Then college I started out as a noise tackle that got moved to defensive tackle/end in a 3-4 based defense.

At your position, what separates you from others? 

-At my position what really stands out and separates me from other players is that I can always have my head around the ball. The amount of time that I put in studying my players is also a great deal that separates me from other players. Ill make sure I know my opponent, technique, and my ability to play football is always at 100% each play.

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

-When breaking down film the first thing that I look for is what my opponent’s keys are, for instance if he moves his hand before getting off the line, does his feet give away which way he is going, when he is pass setting are his hips tight or when he is run blocking how low can he get all of these are things that I look for and this is just a couple of examples from many more. 

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

-I would have to say the toughest player that I ever faced would be that it would be hard for me to say another player, so I would have to go with the Offensive Line at the University of Colorado State.  

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

-Another player that is in the NFL that I would compare to myself would be Ryan Kerrigan and I say this because his focus and strength for the game exemplifies my style of play. For how low and powerful Kerrigan comes off the line is exactly how I see myself in the NFL. 

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

-The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome in my life would be when my parents got divorced, I was 13 at the time just starting middle school and having to face my family not being connected anymore was the hardest thing for me. It made me grow up faster and mature as a man at such a young age.

Do you have any pre-game rituals? 

-I make sure to always say a prayer to God and I really try and connect with my grandfather because I know he is watching every step I take so I ask for his strength and blessing to keep me safe.

What is your biggest strength?

-My biggest strength is my quickness off the line and the sudden change in direction which makes me a relentless football player that is always around the ball. 

Nikolaus D’Avanzo will attend the Ravens local day

What is your biggest weakness? 

-My biggest weakness is sometimes I get to caught head-up with my opponent instead of just rushing half a man.

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

-I would say that if you do decide to choose me I will make sure that I am a great fit for this program and I am not a guy that you are going to have to worry about I will make sure I do what is told without any questions asked, so if you want a football player that is hungry for greatness and change in his life someone who is never going to give up then you as a program will be signing a great player and great human being in the community it couldn’t get any better then this.

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

-My favorite team growing up was the Washington Redskins, my dads side of the family loved them some Skins.  

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

-My grandfather, and my parents.

What will be the first big item you buy once you are in the NFL?

-I will buy my mom a car and make sure I take care of my family and everyone else that helped me along this journey

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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