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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Gerald Hearns, RB, Florida Atlantic University

Gerald Hearns of FAU is a beast who recently took time out his busy schedule to sit down with NFL Draft Diamonds scout Jonathan Joyce.

Player Profile:

What is your favorite song to listen to prior to competing?

My favorite song to listen to prior to competing is Ace Hood song Undefeated and his song Hope.

How would your teammates describe you as both a player and person?

My teammates would describe as a hardworking and business minded person. They would describe me as a reliable and hungry individual that they can gravitate to.

How do you and your teammates make practice and film study fun?

In our running back group, I would typically text the guys to see what is their availability to watch film. We made it fun by critiquing ourselves on our footwork as to what Coach Smith expected and see how we could of made someone miss to get to second and third level. We also would find other people on the field that may have got beat on a play or a coach on the sideline hyped up on a play and seeing who competed best on special teams at times to make it fun.

When you are studying film, what is your main focus to gain a competitive advantage?

When studying film, I am honed in on the details rather than what big plays I made. Constantly thinking to myself how can I become a better player and show production on the field. I critique my footwork first and foremost. Watching to see if I took the right steps, did I have square shoulders to get the linebackers to shoot downhill, did I have the proper aiming point, and seeing if I had tempo or did I move too fast from setting up my blocks. I am big on pass protection. I analyze defensive guys and call out the protections at times before the quarterback as to how our offense was set up, running backs made calls too. I would focus on making sure I used my peripheral vision to see any cornerbacks, outside linebackers and safeties on the backside of the protection into the boundry while scanning the field and checking the hashes.

While at the Collegiate level, who has been the toughest player you have competed against?

At the collegiate level, the toughest player I have competed against is Denzel Perryman from the University of Miami.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

In my life, I am most grateful for being blessed with a mature mindset at a very young age as I have dwelled on my journey to see how far I have come and the grind I have put in as far as life in general and making the most of my opportunities.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

If I could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, it would be to continue serving others, putting people before myself, realizing that life is not about me, but the things I can do for others and how can I learn from impacting others.

What do you value most from your Collegiate experience?

Throughout my collegiate experience, I value being a walk-on. To know my journey of playing organized football in pop warner, to high school football at William T. Dwyer, to applying to 96 schools and emailing 121 college football coaches with a bio of myself, my academic transcripts, and more, and earning an opportunity to play for a D1AA university to full D1 two years later and earn a college ring and the awards I have been nominated for from my hard work as a walk-on goes a long ways for me.

Who is your personal hero?

My personal hero is the Lord, as I am so grateful for the blessings, the struggles, the experiences I have faced for me to be alive and work towards greatness.

Tell me something about yourself nobody would know.

Something about myself nobody would know is that I know how to ice skate and roller skate.

How do you work on yourself?

A few ways I work on myself is first off making sure I have a spiritual connection with the man above, understanding that no one is perfect and we all do things at some point in our life that we would reflect on differently. I do yoga three times a week, I stretch every single day, mentally and physically putting my body in a better comfort for whatever I do on a given day. I also work on myself by keeping myself involved in positive things such as business endeavors, learning and growing, networkinging with people and gaining knowledge.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

If I could have dinner with anyone in the world, it would be Mr. Richard Kurtz from Alpine, New Jersey.

If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?

If I could have any superpower, it would be my work ethic. Being a self-driven individual, vibrant, and relentless, I believe in no matter if a person is stronger than me, have more knowledge than me, quicker than me, or even bigger than me, that person will not outwork me.

What would constitute a perfect day for you?

A perfect day for me would be getting a great workout or practice in, an hour to two hours of my day of stretching, a few great meals and few snacks, at least spending 5-8 hours of my day working on business stuff, connecting with new people building relationships, working on my first book I am currently writing, and getting some great sleep at night.

Who inspired you as a young athlete?

As a young athlete, I was more inspired by the simple fact of playing street football and everyone either picking me on their team because I have huge calves and thighs or because they knew my hunger, which led me to wanting to play pop warner. My environment inspired me to know that whether if it is football and or business endeavors, that you do not have to sell drugs or do crimes to make money.

What are the positive attributes that you bring to a professional football team?

The positive attributes that I bring to a professional football team is my integrity, the passion, the leadership, the positivity I bring to a team despite wins and losses, keeping guys motivated. The humbleness I have as a person of understanding that the NFL is a production business. Any coach will love a player with character, but want to know what can you do to help us win. My competitive edge I have by playing physical, gathering the guys to watch extra film, holding everyone around me to a higher standard, doing it with a positive attitude rather than coming off aggressive or assertive. From a community standpoint, I am highly involved in the community as I do different events to serve others. I also serve on the board for Habitat Housing Solutions as we partner with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for low income families. I am also the President Advisor for a nonprofit called Student ACES Leadership Organization. I also have my own business, where a proceeds of the profits go towards helping students of autism, Student ACES, and Habitat Housing Solutions. An NFL team could have me represent their team by supporting the few things I am doing in the community and me getting involved with the positive things the NFL is already doing in the community, that could also generate for sales for a team. From an athletic perspective, I am always willing to learn, I am very wise with my decision makings on and off the field holding myself to a high standard. I am a running back that finds pass protection fun no matter if a player is bigger or stronger than me, I am willing to put my body on the line for my team. I am pretty fluent with catching out of the backfield and running routes, while also being physical to get tough yards when needed. I understand what it takes to work my way up on a team. I worked my way from 13th on the depth chart to the 3rd running back behind Devin Singletary and Kerrith Whyte Jr. at Florida Atlantic University. I love competing on special teams, and earning my way onto the field, seeking no handouts or entitlements.

Tell me about a time where you overcame a challenge.

A time I overcame a challenge was when my little brother and father got murdered in front of our old home and body dragged down the street. While being the second baby, fourth oldest of our household, that situation challenged me to be a mentor and positive role model for my little brother and also take the initiative of being the man of the house while balancing being a child myself. Through the challenges we faced after that as I got to high school, I continued my business endeavors to positively hustle selling candy and snacks, saving my money to help my family at times, also investing a great amount of that money into my college education while being a walk-on as I would take the city bus as my primary form of transportation and walk to the bus stop to get to Dwyer. Even after practice, I would have to walk over 6 miles a day to get home after practice. The many stories of this journey, the success was me earning my Bachelors Degree from Florida Atlantic University in Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

What one skill would you like to improve on? What’s your plan for doing so?

One skill I would like to improve on is my top speed and learning different positions on special teams. I am training at XPE Sports getting speed training from Bill Welle and Tony Villani to guide me in the right direction of increasing my speed with technique. I also continue to do yoga and I train on the beach sand and run hills. I continue to stretch at least two hours a day and take care of my body with treatment for prehab and rehab after workouts, such as massages, hot tubs and cold tubs, mobility work, and full body massages.

If you could go back to your Freshman year of high school, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know about life now?

If I could go back to freshman year of high school, the advice I would give myself as to what I know now would be, “play running back now and have no fear of failure only a desire to excel.” Freshman year of high school I played fullback, linebacker, and special teams, but not running fearing at the time I would not understand the plays. As I got older and got a feel for the game more when I applied myself I began to understand fronts and schemes of the offensive lineman blocking the more I worked in the film room in the off season and questions I asked my coaches and peers. This advice would have given me a higher competitive advantage during my senior year when I fully got my first full taste at running back before going to FAMU earning the starting job my freshman season in college.

What current/former NFL player do you model your playing style after?

I watch guys like Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Marshawn Lynch, Trent Richardson, Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman to name a few.

What is the best part of your hometown; West Palm Beach, FL?

The best part of my hometown, West Palm Beach, Florida is the beaches. We have a few of them.

In 15 words or less, give me your pitch to an NFL GM on why you should be a part of their organization.

I am a man of integrity, tenacity, self-driven, hard working, coachable, and dependable.

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