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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Malcolm Cook, LB, University of Virginia

Malcolm Cook of Virginia recently interviewed with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot

• Name: Malcolm Cook

• Height: 6’1

• Weight: 235

• Position: ILB/OLB

• College: Virginia

• Twitter: Malcolmcook27

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

• My hometown is Richmond,Virginia- born and raise. What I love about my city is that it is so diverse and you get to meet new people from all walks of life and it helps you to understand many cultures. Also, the Richmond city views are beautiful and historic sites are amazing.

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

• I would list is film study first, by far, because I am a film rat. I’m constantly trying to find ways to steal plays or gain the edge on the opposing team. Second, would be practice so I can apply what I see on film into action and understand the schemes in relation to the game plan. Last, would be strength and conditioning because you won’t always be the biggest or strongest player on the field. However, that’s where film study and practice give you the mental advantage.

What do you worry about, and why?

•I worry about failing on obtaining my goals, not only to make it as an NFL player, but in everyday tasks I set for myself.

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

• My example of failing should be considered “perseverance.” In 2016, I discovered I had a heart condition, at that moment I thought my football career was over. I was hurt mentally, physically and spiritually. Despite the setback or “failure” to finish out that season, I fought back with everything in me to get my mind and body right because I wasn’t going to let an injury define my football career. My “failure” showed my ability to preserve; it proved my toughness.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• My teammates would definitely say I’m a team player because of my versatility and coachability. For example, I played any position that the coaches ask me to play. They would also say, I am a playmaker with a nose for the football. Lastly, that I’m a great teammate who wants to see everybody shine and I show them hope because of the journey and perseverance.

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

• The best players I’ve ever played against was Lamar Jackson.

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

• If my football career didn’t work out, I would pursue a career as a superintendent over a construction company. I have grown an appreciation for learning and helping blueprints come to life.

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

• I would clean my room first because that’s where I lay my head. Secondly my car because I spend so much time going from place to place and then my desk. 

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

• That’s a difficult question to answer. However, I would save my family member because I know I them, their hearts, their intentions. I care for my family. I am extremely loyal to my family.

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

• “Rocky” because I’ve always been the underdog and it’s never easy but i always found a way to win at the end of the day. I’m a fighter no matter what.

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

• My biggest adversity came in 2016 when I discovered I had myocarditis (heart condition). In the beginning, I didn’t handle it too well because I knew I couldn’t play football for that year, possibly never again. However because I was about the team and Coach Mendenhall, I took that time to stay engaged with my team and coaching staff by becoming a helping to call plays from the sideline. Through my adversity, I grew a deeper understanding of the game.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• My most embarrassing moment was in the 3rd grade. I got in trouble at school. My Mom came to school with dirty clothes. I can see her outside the school window rubbing the clothes in all the dirt and cutting up them up. She then comes into the school, takes me to the bathroom and tells me to take off all my clothes and put the dirty ones on. I clearly can’t tell my mom no. So, there I was in dirty, cut up clothes. It was so embarrassing.
What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?•The most memorable play of my college career was getting my first career sack after having to sit out for a full year. That game I lead the team in tackles, with 13, and 3 tackles for loss. At that moment, I felt like I was myself again. I was back where I left off.

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Fabulous- My Time

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

•My most important trait that could help me on the next level is my “IQ” of the game itself. I’m a nerd when it comes to the game of football. That’s why I love the film room so much. It allows me to study my weaknesses, my strengths, as well as the oppositions. The I obtain from film study is the biggest asset to my physicality.

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

•My uncle. My uncle just passed in March of 2018 (3 days after my birthday). I would bring him back because life isn’t the same now that he’s gone. He was one of my biggest supporters. When I doubted myself because of injuries, he would always tell me think positive because we both knew what I was capable of doing. I miss him and I love him.

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

•I don’t like clubs but if I was to open it would be called “Paradise Lounge.” I would want the name to reflect a relaxed and welcoming vibe.

Who is the most overrated player in the NFL?

•I honestly don’t think anyone’s overrated because they are in the league for a reason. Someone saw something in them to not only give them a shot but let them keep that opportunity.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

•I would rather be respected. To be liked means nothing. Not everyone is for everybody. You won’t always be friends with the next guy. Whether personalities, cultures, politics, etc… are liked or understood by others shouldn’t matter. Respecting others, similar or otherwise, should be a universal rule.

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

•Colin Kaepernick. I felt that he stood up for his people and what he believed in. And he shouldn’t be punished for that. In no way was he problematic in the locker room or off the field. No violent or drug-related offenses. He simply had a different viewpoint than others.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

•I definitely hate losing with a passion! I expect to succeed and win. I pour my heart into what I love, so if ever I lose, although it hurts, I learn from it so the outcome is different the next time.

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

My biggest influence on my life is my mom, by far. She been through so much- yet, never cried or complained about anything. She is the definition of resilient. She stayed focus, kept her head up and made sure our family never wanted for anything. She taught me to be tough. She’s made me into a man.

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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