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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Mahlek Roberts, TE, University of St. Francis

Mahlek Roberts the 6040 tight end from the University of St. Francis is hoping to dominate his senior year. Mahlek sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Mahlek Roberts
  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 248
  • Position: TE
  • College: University of St.Francis 
  • Twitter: @mahlekr

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

• I lived in South Holland, IL until I was 13 and then my family moved us to Bolingbrook/Naperville, IL. I hadn’t ever heard of the town until we were getting ready to move but what my family found that a good education was most important and that’s exactly what I got there. It was a little bit of a culture shock at first, but I quickly grew to appreciate the academic and athletic programs that they were so well known for. I didn’t start playing football until I moved there so it is safe to say, it opened up doors of opportunity that I might not have had otherwise.

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

• I have to say film study is going to fall first in order of importance. You may not be the biggest, fastest, or the strongest, but you will always have a leg up being the smartest. Film study, in ways, is a cheat code. Studying and understanding your opponents strengths, weaknesses, and habits, will allow you to be prepared and improve chances to be successful. Next, falls strength and conditioning. You have to be strong and conditioned to play this sport and not just physically, but mentally too. Strength and conditioning programs develop the character of many players across the country. Teaches you a lot of discipline, consistency, and resilience. All of these traits are key to being a successful football player and translate to other aspects of your life off of the field as well. Practice would fall third on this list because in order to make the most of practice, you have to be mentally and physically in shape and conditioned. Great players are created by the things that they do on AND off the field. 

What do you worry about, and why?

• I try not to worry about much, especially things out of my control. I guess you could say I worry about failing but I am a man of faith and I have overcome a lot. I am too blessed to be stressed!

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• They would say either my willingness to put my head down and work without complaint or my willingness to learn and soak up any information that will elevate my game. 

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

• The best player that I can think of would be Krishawn Hogan, a wide receiver from Marian University.

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

  • If not football, I would like to go into marketing consulting or sales. 

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

• My room first every time! My room is my sanctuary, if that isn’t order then it is impossible to think clearly and function while im in there. 

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

• I am choosing my family without a doubt. Family is over everything, without them I would not be who I am or where I am today. 

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

•  I would be Denzel, he is easily one of, if not my favorite actors and his motivational speeches resonate with me heavily. He is a leader and a great example of why hard work will pay off if you have the right mindset and approach to your goals. 

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

• I feel that I have always had to fight from the bottom like the underdog when it came to earning my opportunities while playing the game of football. From starting to play later than most people to battling injuries. I have been derailed a few times but ultimately, I have built up a pretty resilient character and it helped me to work, work, work, until I can change my circumstances. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• I can’t say that I have had too many of those to date!

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• I would say during my junior year, my touchdown against Indiana Wesleyan because it was a one handed catch and that game just so happened to be aired on ESPN 3. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Hustle Hard – Ace Hood

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

• I would say my athletic ability and size at this position allows me to be a mismatch and my route running ability makes me very versatile as far as where I can be lined up on the field and still be effective. 

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

• Bob Marley because I loved his outlook on life and the way that we are to interact with one another and live through love. He was not a man of many worldly possessions despite being famous and he also was a prime example of why they are not necessary to live a wholesome and fulfilling life. I like to try and model my life around service to others. Plus, Bob made some great music.

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

• Vibe

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• I like WR Hakeem Butler from Iowa State. I think he is going to get to the league and make some noise because he has dominant speed AND size at wide receiver. I think he is going to be a nightmare to cover. 

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• There are 7.5 billion people in the world, they are not all going to like you. I do not care about being liked but the way I was raised was that you do not have to like everyone, but I will show them respect. You do not have to like me but you will respect me. 

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

• I would have loved to see what more Aaron Hernandez could have done with his career but as we all know, he had some demons that he couldn’t shake. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I have a winner’s mentality so I am addicted to winning and naturally, I hate to lose. 

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

• The largest influence on my life to date is, without a doubt, my father. My dad is from a small island called Antigua and Barbuda and he did not grow up with much. His father passed away before he could remember him so he and his five other siblings were primarily raised by my grandmother. He was able to get a basketball scholarship to come to the states and was the first of his family to be here and get a degree. Moving from a completely new country and having no family or anything familiar to help when times get tough is a feat not for the faint of heart. He could not afford to fly home for the holidays and despite being a college athlete, found himself sleeping in his car when campus was closed and biking through the snow to work a minimum wage job at subway. Being an islander, those were his first experiences with snow and cold weather in general!  My father has the craziest work ethic that I have ever encountered. My entire life he has been an incredible example of what it means to be a man and to be a dad, especially not having a father figure himself. He put the family before himself and never complained. He raised me and my brother to be kings and treated my mother and sisters as queens. I could not have a better role model in my life. Every day I am on a journey to be even half the man that my father is. 

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 [email protected]

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