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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Chris Merchant, QB, University of Western Ontario

Chris Merchant is a solid quarterback from the University of Western Ontario, and I love this kids play making abilities.

•           Name: Chris Merchant

            •           Height: 6’3”

            •           Weight: 210lbs

            •           Position: Quarterback

            •           College: University of Western Ontario

            •           Twitter: @cmerch12

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

            •           I am from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It is in southern Alberta a few hours north of Montana and just east of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. What I love most about Calgary are the people. Everyone I know from my hometown has an unbelievable work ethic but they are also the nicest people I have been around in my lifetime. You won’t find anyone or anything but the best where I’m from. 

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

            •           The most important of these three is film study. If you can know what a team is going to do and make adjustments based off of that there is nothing that can be done to stop you because you will always be one step ahead. Tom Brady might not have the strongest arm, or be the most athletic quarterback, but most of the time he makes on the fly adjustments to go at the weaknesses of the opposing defenses.

            The next most important of these three is practice because mastering your craft and being on the same page as your teammates is obviously important. All 11 guys need to be on the same page whether it is offence, defence, or special teams and this communication is built on the practice field.

            Strength and conditioning is last on my list but it is still vital to being a successful player. Making sure your body is strong and healthy will always be a priority because if it is not you will not be able to last long playing at a high level.

What do you worry about, and why?

            •           I worry about the present and what I can do in the present to help my future. I don’t focus on the past because there is nothing I can do to control or change that. I just try to learn from it and move on.

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

            •           In 2016, we lost our conference championship on a last-second field goal after being up for the entire game. It was by far the hardest loss I have had to swallow but it has been used as motivation ever since then and our team followed up that loss with a National Championship the next year.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

            •           My teammates would say that my competitiveness is my best quality. No matter what the situation is I will always put my best foot forward because I believe that there is no point in doing something unless you are giving it your all.

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

            •           Mathieu Betts for the Laval Rouge et Or. He is by far the most explosive and well-rounded football player I’ve ever played against. As a defensive end, he was explosive off the ball with multiple pass rush moves that would keep our tackles guessing where he might go. 

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

            •           If I couldn’t play football I would be a high performance trainer and specifically work with quarterbacks. There are lots of specific quarterback coaches/gurus in the U.S. but there are not a lot in Canada yet and I am hoping to help the next generation of players.

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

            •           I would clean my desk first because this is where I get my work done. Being able to sit down and focus on whatever I need to get done is important and I find that a clean desk helps me focus better.

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

            •           I would choose save a family member. To me nothing is more important than my family and nothing could every come between that. They have given up so much to give me every opportunity possible, and there is nothing I can do to ever repay that. If the opportunity arose to go back and save the other three strangers even if it meant giving my own life then I would do that after making sure that my family was safe first.

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

            •           Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. He wasn’t a main character or the hero of the movie but he was always making sure that his friends were okay and that they achieved their goals. He was selfless and in his own ways, heroic at all times during the movies, and in my opinion was the greatest character in those movies.

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

            •           Transferring from the University at Buffalo due to unforeseen circumstances was definitely the biggest adversity I have had to face in my life. I had made Buffalo my home and worked my whole life to get to that point but I knew that it was not a place where I would have the most success and decided to transfer to Western University. Having to adjust to a new school and team in a short period of time was difficult but I am glad I made the decision to do so.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

            •           My most embarrassing moment was playing a role in our 2016 conference championship loss. After being up big for most of the game, our offence stalled for most of the 4th quarter and I take responsibility as the quarterback for not doing more to prevent that. We ended up losing and I have never felt more embarrassed or felt like I let my team down.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

            • The most memorable play of my collegiate career was our opening touchdown in the 2017 National Championship. It was a zone read from the opposing 13 yard line and we were able to get the defence flowing one way while I pulled the ball and walked into the end zone. Everyone did their job to perfection and made my read extremely easy and it set the stage for the rest of the game.     

What song best describes your work ethic?

            •           Remember the Name by Fort Minor. In the song, they say “it’s not about the salary, Its about reality and making some noise, Making a story” which resonates with me because of when I got into football it’s because I loved the game, not because I wanted to make it big and make a lot of money. Every day I train and practice is because I want to continue to create my own story and build a legacy that people will remember.

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

            •           Mental toughness is definitely the most important trait someone can have. No matter what happens or how bad things get, a person with strong mental toughness can always come back and make plays while also lifting their teammates up to be better.

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

            •           I would bring my grandfather back because I only got to know him when I was very young and don’t remember a ton about him. However, hearing about him from other people makes me wish I could sit down, hear his life’s story, and learn as much from him as possible. He lived a long life filled with many stories, but more importantly, he gained and earned the respect of everyone he was around.

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

            •           The Pigskin

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

            •           As hard as it is to believe, I still think Tom Brady is the most underrated player in the NFL. He has had nothing but success since he stepped in to the league and yet people still doubt him. People try to find excuses for why the Patriots have the success that they do, but in my opinion it is simple; Tom Brady knows what the defence is going to do before they do it and he takes full advantage of that.      

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

            •           I would rather be respected. You may not always be able to make great friends on the road to success because a lot of the time you are going to have a different agenda than other people. You can, however, earn the respect of others on that path as they look up to you and your work ethic.

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

            •           I feel badly for Colin Kaepernick. I may not necessarily agree that the way he did things was the best way, however, he stood up for something he believed in and it was the starting point to the end of his NFL career. Most other players have their careers ended by terrible decisions that hurt other people or themselves but Kaepernick stood up for an issue that affects a lot of people every day.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

            •           I hate to lose and every day when I am working I think about the losses I have had in order to motivate me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about some of the losses I have had and what I could have done differently to help put my team in a better position to win. I don’t dwell on the loss, but I use it as a learning material to get better so that if a similar situation arises in a different game, I’ll be ready.

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

            •           My father is my biggest influence and inspiration because of how hard he works to make sure that my mom, sister and I can have every opportunity to succeed. He is selfless and always puts others in front of himself. I hope that someday I have enough success so that I can give him everything he has ever wanted.

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 nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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