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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Rafael Hidalgo, WR, University of New Mexico

Rafael Hidalgo the wide out from New Mexico is a speedster with elusiveness. He reminds me of Desean Jackson, and he is someone you need to get to know better.
  • Name:
    • Rafael Hidalgo
  • Height:
    • 5’11
  • Weight:
    • 174
  • Position:
    • Wide Receiver/Slot
  • College:
    • University of New Mexico

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love the most about it?
• My hometown is a town that doesn’t sleep, you have to grind and work hard for what you want and need. I was raised in Brooklyn New York, one thing I love about my hometown is how we always find a way to get things done. Hustling is innate, it is the foundation of my work ethic.

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?
• Film Study – Film study comes first to me because you not only seeing where and what you did wrong, but you get to correct your mistakes. You also, get to see your opponent’s strengths and weakness.

Strength and Conditioning – this will be my second on the list because getting your body right and ready for the season. Also, as a receiver we do have to block and get off the line we are always running back and forth, therefore, conditioning is very important.

Practice – practice is my third because it is important but without film, you will not get better and without strength and conditioning you will be out of shape to practice. The practice is very important though because the more reps you get the more natural things to come.

What do you worry about, and why?
• I worried about not finding my mother that I have not seen since I was four years old. This worries me because I am afraid that I will never have closure. At times I sit back and think about this and notice that this is my biggest worry.

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?
• In high school, it was required to pass six regents to get your high school diploma. I was a sophomore and needed to pass my living environment regent and I could not pass it. I failed it three times and was getting upset. Thought I was not going to pass high school and never get the chance to play football in college. I was sad and thought ran through my head telling me to quit. I knew I was capable of passing it if I devoted more time to studying and taking multiple practice exam. My senior year I took three regents and all three had to be passed in order for me to graduate. I knew I had studied so much over the couple of years that I was going to walk out that exam room confidently and with a degree. Come to find out later that day that I had passed all three regents and was able to graduate with my fellow classmates.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
• My character and personality

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

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

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

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?
• Michael Oher because he grew up with no parents and in a bad neighborhood. Michael Oher did not let that define him nor did he carry himself like his childhood friends. He knew what he wanted and knew that football was his way out. Showed love to those that were there for him and always took care of his family.

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?
• my biggest adversity in life was that I didn’t have my parents. I was going from home to home and didn’t have a stable home until the age of 11. At first, it was hard, but I used it as self-motivation to make a name for myself and follow my dreams.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
• My most embarrassing moment had to be in high school I had to fart and could not hold it any longer. When I let it out the whole class looked back and I was acting like it wasn’t me. It was so bad that the whole class had to exit the room.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?
• The most memorable play of my collegiate career had to be when I was in junior college and I lead my team to a bowl game. I started every game and finished the season 8-1. Felt unreal because I was only 17 at the time.

What song best describes your work ethic?
• YFN Lucci – Letter from Lucci/ YFN Lucci – Documentary

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

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?
• My friend Alfredo, we called him Lips. He brought so much energy and good vibes that his presence was amazing. I looked at him as my brother and the way I lost him was hard to get over if I could see him one more time it would be amazing.

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it?
• Ralph’s Boom Boom Room

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?
• Tryann Mathieu

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?
• Respected because anyone can like you and smile in your face but not respect you. Being like means nothing, being liked is just a feeling you can still like someone and stab them in their back it doesn’t really take much to like someone but to respect someone is an action.

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?
• Marquise Goodwin when he lost his son. This hit me because I know how it feels to lose someone. It is tough and hard to get past that especially when it’s an unborn baby.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?
• Love to win because a good winner knows how to lose

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?
• I have always self-motivated myself to be the best I can but the biggest influence in my life I would have to say, Kobe Bryant. His work ethic has always motivated me to do the same and his mentality. To be great you have to do things that no other will do Kobe Bryant would work out until he passes out and would not care about what others have to say about him.

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

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