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Prospect Interviews

2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: James Smith-Williams, DE, North Carolina State University

James Smith-Williams the pass rusher from NC State Wolfpack recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds very own Jonathan Joyce.

Student-Athlete Profile:

  • James Smith-Williams
  • North Carolina State University
  • DE
  • 6’3”
  • 270lbs.
  • Hometown: Raleigh, NC
  • Twitter: @jacsw3

2018 Accolades & Statistics:

  • 2018 All-ACC Academic Football Team.
  • GP: 12
  • Total Tackles: 40
  • TFL: 9.5
  • Sacks: 6.0
  • FF: 1
  • FR: 1
via ACC Digital Network

As an athlete, what is your motivation?

I was raised in a single-parent household, so for me, my motivation has always been my mother. She sacrificed a lot to put me in the position I am in and I want to repay her for what she has done for me.

What defines success for you?

Every year I create a goal board for all areas of my life, so success for me is achieving the goals I have listed. Athletically success will often be me excelling with the purpose of helping my team win games. Off the field, success is defined as anything that helps me to grow as a man and achieve the goals on my goal board.

Coach Doeren recently announced that you will wear the No. 1 jersey for the Wolfpack this season, which recognizes a member of the football team for his work ethic, character, leadership, and accomplishments. What does it mean for you to be given that honor?

It is a huge honor. I have had the opportunity to play with the guys who wore it before me. They were always the hardest workers and the most driven, athletically gifted and mature guys on the team. To be recognized by the staff and my teammates for those traits means the world to me.

What would your teammates say about the type of player and man you are?

My teammates would say I am reliable, dependable and a high-character guy who is driven to win games and achieve success. I think they would also say I am always good for a laugh.

Who is the toughest player you’ve competed against during your collegiate career?

I actually was a freshman when Joe Thuney was a senior. He has to be one of the most talented offensive linemen I ever played against.

Finish this sentence. The best player in the NFL is _______.

Aaron Donald.

Tell me about your 2018 Summer internship working in robotic automation with IBM.

It was a great experience. I learned a lot from working at IBM. I had the ability to work on a lot of different projects from Blockchain, Ariba, and robotic automation. I met some phenomenal people and it was extremely eye-opening to what the “real” world looks like.

Speaking of IBM, I’ve read that you’ve already been offered (and accepted) a position within that organization once your football career has ended. What excites you about an opportunity like that?

Our program is centered around chasing two dreams: life with football and life without football. It is my dream to play in the NFL and have a 10-year career. But you have to have a backup plan, so the opportunity to work at a company like IBM really excites me. It allows me to focus on my goals athletically, knowing that I have already set myself up for success in other areas.

What is your team of choice on Madden, why?

Carolina Panthers. I’m a huge Cam Newton fan and their defense is phenomenal. I also grew up a Panthers fan.

Are you afraid of failure?

No. I think your best opportunities for growth originate in failure. You have to approach every obstacle as an opportunity to grow and develop, so I welcome those challenges.

Is there a current/former NFL player that you model your game after?

Von Miller, Khalil Mack, and my former teammate, Bradley Chubb.

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

Steve Jobs, I would love to pick the brain of one of the most successful people to live. Especially in the unconventional way he achieved it.

In 15 words or less, why should an NFL team invest in you?

I will make plays to help the team win championships.

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