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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Keyon Washington, RB, Colgate University

Keyon Washington is a little man with speed for days. The Colgate player can play both DB and running back, and has the speed to terrorize opponents.
  • Name: Keyon Washington
  • Height: 5”7
  • Weight: 180
  • Position: RB/DB
  • College: Colgate University
  • Twitter: @Prince_Key7

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

• My hometown, Englewood, NJ, is like no other. Located in northern New Jersey, ten minutes away from NYC, Englewood embodies the feeling of living in a city and suburb. My town has a calm, settled feeling, but is filled with hard-working, lower to middle-class people. That’s what I love the most about it. Everyone in Englewood is seeking to better themselves and see others do well. There is nothing, but love and support in my town. This is rare in most communities. Most people don’t want to see you doing good or better than them, but that isn’t the case here. Don’t get me wrong Englewood is a very competitive environment; however, we all push each other to be great.

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

• Strength and Conditioning, Practice, Film Study

I believe that strength and conditioning are the most important of the three. Before suiting up and stepping a foot onto the football field, you have to make sure your body is properly conditioned and ready to perform. Playing football out of shape is a recipe to disaster and could lead to serious injury. I then believe practicing is the second most important out of the three. Practice makes perfect. Continuously and repetitively working on your craft and technique will only make you a better football player. Film study, which is just as important as the other two, would go last on my list. When you are properly conditioned and practice good habits, then film study should be incorporated. This is where you properly prepare for your opponents and game plan against them. You have to make sure you are physically ready to perform before you are mentally ready.  

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about not becoming as successful as I want to become. I know that I’m going to be successful in life and I have no worries when it comes to that. I just worry about being successful enough to take care of myself and my family. I want to become so successful that my children’s children are taken well care of. I want to set a solid, stable foundation for my family and I. I want to make sure that no one will ever have to financially struggle anymore. This is a lot to work for, but I’ve accepted the challenge, and I’m willing to do everything and anything to make this happen.

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

• I remember in eighth grade, I made it to the championship with my Pop Warner football team. This was the first football championship that I’ve ever played in, and unfortunately, we lost. This was a feeling of defeat that I’ve never felt before, and I would never want to feel again. I was beyond hurt. I told myself that day that this will never happen again and I will win a championship. Later that year, I won the state championship with my recreation team and I haven’t looked back since. I won four state championships in high school and added two league titles when I got to college. Now my record in championship games is 7-1.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• My teammates would say my best quality is my toughness. Standing at only 5”7 180 pounds, I’m often overlooked and doubted, and that is the reason for this huge chip on my shoulder. I am willing to run through a brick wall if that’s what I have to do to win a game. It doesn’t matter! I don’t care how big you are, how fast you are, or how tall you are; my mentality will never change. If you lock me in a room and told me to be the last person standing, I guarantee that I will be the last person standing. That’s just my mentality and the confidence that I have in myself. I actually won the Dick Biddle Award which was awarded to me by my coaches at the end of my Sophomore year. It exemplifies one who is tough and comes to work every day, and that’s definitely the type of player that I am.

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

• There are a number of great players that I played against in college. The best one might’ve been Chase Edmunds. We always had to game plan around him. That is how much of a threat he posed with the ball in his hands. We always tried to put one more in the box to contain him.

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

• If I couldn’t play football, I would still want to be around sports. I would maybe consider being a sports analyst or coach. I’ve played sports my whole life and it’s become a part of my identity. So I would want to stay involved with it for as long as I could.

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

• I clean my room before I clean anything else. My room is where I go to sleep and wake up in. To me, it is supposed to be a place where you’re most comfortable. I can’t relax knowing there is a mess all around me. It has to be cleaned. So I would definitely clean my room before my desk and my car.

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

• To be honest, I would save my one family member. Family is everything to me. I have a big, but close-knit family and we always look out for one another. Of course, I would feel bad for not saving the strangers, but there is no emotional attachment to them. Losing a family member is like a piece of me being taken away. 

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

• If I could be a movie character it would be Chris Comer from Friday Night Lights. Chris was in the shadow of Boobie Miles and was doubted by many before seizing his opportunity when Boobie got injured. He turned out to be one of the best on his team. This storyline is very similar to mine. Because of my measurements, I’ve been doubted my whole life. Coaches have told me I can’t play certain positions because I was too small. However, when given the opportunity, whether that is on the scout team or someone getting injured, I was always able to prove myself. I am always able to show everyone who doubted me, that I can do what the rest of the players are doing, if not more. And if I have to I will continue to prove the doubters wrong. 

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

• The biggest adversity in my life was the moment I injured my knee. It was probably one of the lowest moments of my life. I didn’t know how my knee would respond and whether I would be the same when I came back. I just worked hard, trusted the process, and talked to God to overcome it. It was a long journey, but in the end, it was one that I am grateful for traveling.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• I don’t think I have a most embarrassing moment. However, I do feel embarrassed when I go out to eat for my birthday, and the staff sings happy birthday. I don’t like being the center of attention at places with many people. I am grateful for it, but can definitely do without it.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• My most memorable play from college isn’t all that spectacular, and it’s hard to even see it on film, but I believe it could have very well been the most important. The first Patriot League title that I played in, I was suspended for the first half. The week before I was called for targeting and was suspended for a half in the next game which was the title game. The first half of the game was a dog fight. Both offenses were scoring back to back and neither defense could stop them. The RB from the opposing team was having a field day on us. He couldn’t be stopped.

The second half came, I was able to play and it was still a dog fight. Both offenses kept scoring back to back and the RB was still on a tear. On the final drive, in the closing minutes of the game, the opposing team was driving and handed it to the RB who was dominating us all game. From my Strong Safety position, I came downhill and met him in the hole as he was being held up. I had hit him so hard that I knocked him out of the game. Of course, I’m not happy I hurt the kid, and I didn’t intentionally hurt him, but I was able to knock their best player out the game on the final drive. This turned their offense one-dimensional. They weren’t able to run anymore, just throw. They made it all the way inside the ten-yard line, and couldn’t run the ball because their starter was out. They threw the ball all four downs, and we end up winning the game. I know that if he was still in the game at that moment, they would’ve definitely given him the ball and it would’ve been a hassle to stop him if we would’ve been able to. This play isn’t on my highlight tape or anything, but I believe that this play helped my team secure a Patriot League Title. It was just a small contribution that I made in a large team effort. I just remember it as being an important one.   

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Overtime – Ace Hood ft. Akon & T-Pain

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

• My competitiveness is easily the most important trait that will help me succeed at the next level. I’ve been a competitor since I was young. Everything was a competition for me and it still is. I don’t accept losing. I will do anything in my power not to lose, and that’s with everything in life, not just football. I’m a competitor and that will never change. There is never a time of complacency and I will always compete to continue to better myself.

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. My grandfather passed away about a month before I graduated from college. He was so excited to watch me walk across that stage, but he never got the chance to. I just want to see him one more time to reward him with my degree. He helped me earn it just as much as myself and owe him for that. I also would want to show him how hard I’ve been working to make it to the league. I know he would be super proud of me.

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

• I would name the club, “The Jersey Club.” I’m real big on representing where I come from. I’m proud to be from New Jersey and I would express that through the name. Also, people in New Jersey are known to dance so it would be fitting.

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Jabrill Peppers would probably be the most underrated player in the NFL at the moment. I’ve played against and with Jabrill since I was eight years old. I’ve seen him do things that I’ve never seen done on the football field; on both sides of the ball. A lot of people are still doubting him despite having a great second year. I think this year he will definitely open up a lot of eyes as he did in college.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• I would much rather be respected than liked. Not everyone is going to like you in this world. That’s just the truth. A lot of people will be jealous and envious if they see you being successful and doing the right things. However, people have no choice but to respect you if you are making the right choices and doing things to help others. They don’t have to like you, but they will respect what you are doing. That’s what matters to me. It’s not a popularity contest.

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

• If I had to choose a player, it would be Kareem Hunt. I’ll start by saying violence is never the answer in any situation, especially violence towards women. No man should ever raise a finger to a woman. Kareem Hunt definitely deserved his punishment, no if’s, and’s or but’s. However, I do feel for Kareem Hunt. Coming off of a spectacular rookie season and starting off hot in his second year, Hunt was definitely headed towards greatness. This incident tarnished his reputation and could affect his NFL career. It was something that could’ve easily been avoided if he walked away. However, we weren’t there and don’t know the entirety of the situation. Tempers flare, things are said and people make mistakes. I feel as though Hunt is getting the proper punishment, I just hope that it’s not the baggage that he would have to carry with him for the rest of his career.  

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I love to win! You don’t have to do anything to lose in life, but you must do everything to win. Everyone loses at a point in their life. Adversity is something we must learn to overcome. Although we want to win all the time, losing is something we should learn from to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. In order to win at something, you can’t sit around. You must grind and work hard towards whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. It makes you appreciate the process and all the hard work that you put forth to win. This is one of the best feelings in the world, especially overcoming a loss and fighting back with a win. Like Curtis Jackson said, “Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain.” 

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

• My Dad has been the biggest influence in my life. He introduced me to this game of football when I was just two years old, and it has become my life since. He sacrificed a lot and pushed me a ton to get me where I am today. Without football, I wouldn’t have a great college education that I didn’t pay a dime for. Without football, I wouldn’t have met many of my close friends. Without football, who knows where I would be today, and without my dad there would be no football. So I would like to thank him for that and acknowledge that he has definitely had the biggest influence on my life.  

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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