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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Jeffontae McClain, DB, Franklin College

Jeffontae McClain of Franklin College is a gamer

Name: Jeffontae McClain

Height: 6’0’’

Weight: 206 pounds

Position: Defensive Back

College: Franklin College

Twitter: iJayKing19

Tell us about your hometown and what you love most about it?
I’m from Louisville, Kentucky. What I love most about my city is the
unity and push among the city’s athletes. Each athlete around the city
knows each other and pushes one another to make a name for themself
and put Louisville on the map. Athletes such as Muhammad Ali, D’
Angelo Russell, Dalyn Dawkins, Reggie Bonnafon, Keelan Cole, Rajon
Rondo and many others have already paved the way for many more in the
future to succeed.

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength
and Conditioning and Practice?
Strength and Conditioning, Practice then film study. Without a solid
strength and conditioning foundation one cannot possibly play in the
NFL and succeed. The NFL season is long and rigorous and one must be
able to handle the workload. Next is practice. As one of my coaches
once said”perfect practice makes perfect.” The purpose of practice is
to craft and perfect your skill, technique and to be able to execute
your gameplan. Last is film study. Now none of these are as far away
from another as they may seem. But to me film study is the final piece
to the puzzle. Film shows you what you can improve on as well as
opponents tendencies. When preparing for your opponent film is the
study guide for the test (game). It gets you acquainted with teams
favorite formations and plays are and makes it easier to recognize
when in the game.

What do you worry about and why?
I constantly worry about my family. I am a very family oriented man.
Being that my family doesn’t come from the best neighborhood I have
made it a lifelong goal to provide my mom, dad, younger siblings,
nieces and nephews with better resources and opportunities to live
life and achieve their dreams.

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react
and how did you overcome failure?
My junior year in college I failed at winning the starting nickelback
position over another teammate. At first I was frustrated, did not
understand why and I questioned my coaches. I even thought about
transferring. But after talking with God and my father I realized I
had to weather the storm and not quit. I had to instill a trust within
my coaches proving to them they could count on me no matter the
situation and force them to find a place for me on the football field.
So for the rest of the year I grinded made the most of my
opportunities and earned the position my senior year.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My teammates would always tell me my best qualities were my
intelligence/ knowledge of the game and my competitiveness. I always
got after my teammates to compete in practice as I saw the direct
correlation carry over into the games and I was always eager and
willing to teach my  teammates when they needed help.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Deontez Alexander is the best player/ athlete I played against in
college. He’s tall, extremely fast and very athletic.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football?
I would either be a football coach or sports psychologist. I love
working with athletes and to be around sports if I myself could not
play them.

Room, desk, and car – which do you clean first?
I clean my room, desk, then car in that order. My room is where I
spend majority of my time and is the first thing I see when I wake up
and last thing I see when I go to bed. A clean room instills
discipline. Next is my desk. My desk is where I spend my time
studying, watching film, reading books, etc and it is beneficial to
have a clean clutter free area to do that. Last, is my car. It is
important to have a clean car because that speak on the cleanliness
and responsibility of a person.

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or
one family member, which would you choose and why?
As I stated earlier I’m a family oriented man. So without a doubt I am
saving a family member first.

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?
I would be Robert McCall. I love giving back to and helping the
helpless if I am in a position to do so. And that is what Robert
McCall (Denzel Washington) prides himself on in the Equalizer series.

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with
it and overcome it?
This past year I lost my uncle, cousin and grandmother all within a
month. This was easily the biggest adversity I have ever faced in
life. I was at my lowest point in  life and felt so alone that was
ready to break but then I found God again. God helped me cope with the
loss of my loved ones, restore my faith and realize I was not alone.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
I’m not one that really gets embarrassed. I am a man of great
humility and I am comfortable with myself so embarrassment is not
something I have truly experienced in life thus far.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?
The most memorable play of my collegiate career was during my
sophomore year at Mount St. Joseph University. Going into the game
both my team (Franklin College) and MSJ were undefeated in conference.
The winner of the game would take conference. In the 4th quarter MSJ
was just outside of field goal range and decided to go for it on 4th
and short. As the offense broke the hudl I recognized the formation
and personnel that came with it from film. I was playing weakside
linebacker at the time and immediately turned to my middle linebacker
and told him to scrape over top as soon as the ball was hiked so I
could shoot the weak side B gap as soon I saw the guard pull in order
to force the running back to bounce the ball to the outside freeing
him up to make the tackle for loss. After the play it was just a great
refreshing feeling knowing all the hours in film study paid off as we
would head to the playoffs later that season.

What song best describes your work ethic?
Go Get It by T.I.

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or
Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level?
Perseverance. At times things are going to be hard. But you must be
able to persevere through the bad times as nobody is immune to them.

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who
would it be and why?
My grandmother, May King. I would just want tell her that I am living
out my dream and that I have found God and know he’s there every step
of the way with me. She was very religious and emphasized the
importance of religion since I was around the age of 5.

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it?
Vibe. I am a person who acts off of other’s vibes. I feel the way the
one carries themselves and acts say a lot about them. So I would want
my dance club to promote positive vibes and be a place people can come
enjoy themselves in a drama free environment.

Who is the most overrated player in the NFL?
I don’t feel that there is a overrated person in the NFL. The NFL is
not a easy league to succeed in and I believe everyone who is a part
of the league has rightfully earned their spot there.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?
I would rather be respected. Not everyone is going to like you in life
but everyone can respect you. Respect means that even though others
may not like you or agree with you they admire you for your morals,
views and abilities.

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you
feel for the most and why?
I feel the most for Josh Gordon. Mental health is a serious issue that
I feel is overlooked in society. Instead of people ridiculing Gordon
or degrading him I think they should realize that he to is a person;
not just a football player, but a son, brother, father etc. So instead
we should encourage him to seek help to deal and cope with his mental

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?
I hate to lose. The purpose of playing any game they keep track of the
score to is to win. Anytime I play a game I expect to win and losing
is not something that crosses my mind, no matter what.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?
My parents. Each of them have instilled a discipline in me that I
could not have gotten anywhere else. Each discipline unique. My mother
taught me consistency. You have to be consistent in what you do to
gain what you want. My father taught me to never get too low and give
up. Everybody is faced with adversity but it is those who are able to
overcome the adversity who prosper.

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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