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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Rashaad Cooper, RB, Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College running back Rashaad Cooper is one of the best in his division. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot

• Name: Rashaad Cooper
• Height: 5’11
• Weight: 212
• Position: RB
• College: Dartmouth College 
• Twitter: @Shaadybo_

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

• I’m from Tracy, a small town in Northern California. I love that my town is such a tight and diverse community. Most of the friends I have now are the same friends I’ve had for 15 or 16 years, and most of us grew up in the same neighborhood. I’m proud to be from Tracy and love any opportunity to represent my hometown. I was the first person from my local high school to get a D1 Football offer and the only male athlete in my town’s 2015 graduating class to compete at the D1 level the following year. I feel like we have a lot of talent but are often overlooked. 

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

• Practice, strength and conditioning, and then film study. I put practice first because the most important thing in football is knowing what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to do it. To be able to execute your assignments and technique correctly and efficiently takes hours of repetition. I put S&C next because if you’re not physically prepared to compete, you won’t be able to execute or perform regardless of how mentally prepared you are. I rank film study third because the film room is where you identify what you need to do differently, but this knowledge is only useful if you put in the work at practice and in the weight room to apply it. 

What do you worry about, and why?

• I don’t stress about things that most people do. My friends and family are often surprised by how laid back I am. Instead, I struggle with worrying myself about little things that, deep down, I know don’t matter. I tend to overanalyze things but I overcome this by meditating and practicing other forms of mindfulness. 

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

• My Freshman season at Dartmouth, I did not get on the field. This was frustrating because I felt like I could contribute to my team’s success in games. I never once pouted- instead, I worked hard every single day at practice and took my role on the scout team as an opportunity to compete against the #1 run defense in the country (Dartmouth 2015) everyday. At the end of the season, I was named the Offensive Scout Player of the Year. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• My teammates would say that my best quality is the way I have their backs. I’m not a big talker, but I’m always quick to speak up and show support for my teammates when needed. I also call them out and hold them accountable when I feel like they’re wrong. 

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

• In practice: Folarin Orimolade, Dartmouth ‘17. In game: Nick Miller, UPenn ‘19. 

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

• If I couldn’t play football I would pursue a career in business consulting. 

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

• Room

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

• One family member because family comes first. 

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

• I’d be T’Challa from Black Panther because I feel like it’d be dope to be the king of a rich African country like Wakanda. I also like that Wakanda is connected to Oakland, CA. 

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

• The biggest adversity I’ve faced in my life was my Freshman winter at Dartmouth. On top of experiencing a real winter and the culture shock of an Ivy League school in New Hampshire for the first time, I had some pretty serious issues back home in California that I was dealing with from across the country. I thought about transferring to a school back in California, but I ultimately overcame it by leaning on the people closest to me and sticking it out. I’m glad that I stayed because I feel like I’ve grown here in ways that I wouldn’t have if I was back home in a more comfortable environment. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• Blowing a presentation in one of my college classes. I don’t typically like the spotlight. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• The most memorable play of my collegiate career is my 82-yard TD run against Harvard on our 2nd offensive play of the game. We went on to win the game, beating Harvard at home for the first time in 25 years. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Survive Da Motion x Lil Baby

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

• A will to never quit. 

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

• My grandma on my mom’s side because she passed away before I got to meet her. 

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

• Club Dub

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Alvin Kamara 

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• Respected, because it means that people acknowledge that you’re worthy of respect. For someone to like you without respecting you doesn’t mean much. 

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

• Colin Kaepernick because I feel like he deserves to still be in the NFL, especially considering some of the off-field issues that other players have been forgiven for. I also believe that he’s better than multiple NFL quarterbacks that currently have jobs.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I hate to lose. 

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

• Both my mom and my dad have had the biggest influence on my life. They’ve made a great tag-team, my mom pushing me to excel in school and my dad pushing me in sports. I’m grateful for the values that they’ve instilled in me and their consistent message to strive for greatness. I couldn’t have asked for better role models, not only because of what they’ve taught me to do but because of how they’ve lived their own lives. I’m blessed to have been raised by two honorable, impactful people.

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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