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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Sam Mays, WR, University of Illinois

Sam Mays of the University of Illinois is a big target who could be a great sleeper in the NFL Draft

• Name:  Sam Mays

• Height:  6’3

• Weight: 205

• Position: WR

• College: Illinois 

• Twitter: @sammojayy

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

•  I’m from Missouri City, Texas right outside of Houston. I love the food, the people there and the weather of course.

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

•  Strength and Conditioning because you have to make sure your body is right to play at the NFL level. You have to take into account that people will be bigger stronger and faster at the next level so you have to make sure your body is right for that kind of game. You also want to be stronger and in better conditioned for late game situations and injury prevention.

-Practice is where you prove to the coaches that you will make those plays in the game. With things like rookie minicamp coming up you want to make an impression in practice so that you gain trust not just from the coaches, but from the QB and your other teammates that you will come through in the clutch and make plays in the game. 

-Film Study is important because it makes the game slow down for you. If you can look at game footage and get tendencies of the DBs you are about to face, it gives you a little edge going into the game to have a plan on how to beat their techniques.

What do you worry about, and why?

•  I really don’t worry things honestly, I have a lot of faith in God so what’s meant to be for me will be. 

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

•  One example I can think of was back in college when I had a midterm that was a large percentage of my grade. I studied a lot but did not get the grade I wanted. I was mad because of the fact that I knew I studied hard and still got a bad grade. So when the final came back around, I tried to do things differently in my approach to studying and got a B which raised my grade to a B in the class. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

•  I would say my poise. When things are not going good, I have the ability to stay calm and calm everyone else down while still being able to maintain my level of play and performance. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

•  I’ve played a lot of good players throughout my career, but I’d probably say it was Amani Oruwariye from Penn State this year.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football? 

•  Not really sure, but I am interested in Marketing. So anything down that alley is an interest for me right now. 

Room, desk, and car – which do you clean first?

•  Gotta clean my room first. My mom always told me that you’ll always start your day off good or end it good if you make your bed up and have a clean room to come home to so I’ve stuck to that since I’ve been in college. 

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

•  I would try to save everyone, but It would probably be my family members.

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

•  Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I always loved that show growing up and I kind of have the same personality and family atmosphere as Will on the show. 

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?

•  It would be the death of my grandmother. That was really the first time I was old enough to really have a strong connection with someone and seeing her die was a tough time to get over, but I have and I still love her dearly and remember a lot of the things we used to talk about. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

•  Accidentally walking to the wrong building/classroom on the first day of class in college. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

•  My game-winning touchdown vs Michigan State my sophomore year. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

•  Dreams and Nightmares- Meek Mill

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level? 

•  Being coachable. I feel like people get there and want to do their own thing or think they are entitled to being in the league and I don’t wanna be that guy. I think that being coachable goes a long way, aside from the God-given abilities that I have. It’s all about networking and you could get a chance with another team because a coached remembered how you were when you played for him. 

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

•  I never really believed in that kind of stuff. But it would probably be a family member so I could learn more about our family history. 

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it? 

•  “The Spot” or something simple like that. 

Who is the most overrated player in the NFL? 

•  You trying to get me kicked out before I get in the league haha. 

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

•  Respected of course. Everyone is gonna have people that don’t like them. I would rather have the respect of my teammates and other players for who I am as both a player and a man. 

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

•  Probably Josh Gordon. As talented as he was when he was using, he was in the talks of being the best WR in the game. It’s good to see him back in the league and doing well with the Patriots now though. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

•  HATE to lose. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

• My father. Growing up, I feel like he’s made me who I am today and I hope I can pass that on to my future kids. 

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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