- Name: Dieter Eiselen
- Height: 6’4’’
- Weight: 308 lbs
- Position: OG/OC
- College: Yale University
- Twitter: @djeiselen72
Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?
• I am from Stellenbosch in South Africa, very close to Cape Town. My picturesque town is renowned for its many vineyards that produce some of the best wine in the world. What I love most about Stellenbosch is the beautiful mountains that tower over the town, the close proximity to the intersection of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and all the great food.
List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?
• Strength & Conditioning comes first in my opinion as this is the base of physical preparedness which is a necessary ingredient to attain the physical and mental condition necessary to compete in this sport. This facet of preparation forms the framework upon which everything else is built.
• Film Study should be ranked second because one has reached the physical preparation necessary, you can utilize the body optimally by studying yourself as well as your opponent. Film study is underutilized by football players and it truly makes a big difference in terms of allowing you to identify little tells which can end up making the difference between winning and losing.
• Practice is third because it should be the culmination of the previous two areas of preparation. Practice should function as the arena in which players fine tune their play in the lead-up to games. I do, however, believe that practice is absolutely essential but that it cannot effectively be performed without the two aforementioned areas.
What do you worry about, and why?
• I worry about not making the most of every single second of the short time that we have here on Earth. I want to live life as fully as physically possible and I worry about not having enough time in order to do everything that I desire to do in life which is so fleeting. I counter this fear by effectively managing my time and being very proactive in all the different areas of my life so that I can one day hopefully look back with a smile.
Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?
• The toughest failure that I had to endure was my first season at Yale when we had an abysmal year as a team. I was able make my first collegiate start in our fourth game of the season but everything was overshadowed by our woeful performances in games throughout the season which was painful to endure. The one bright spot of the season was that we were able to defeat Harvard for the first time in 9 years in our very last game but it was bittersweet due to our failings throughout the season. We were able to harness this awful season, however, as fuel for the next season in which we became outright Ivy League champions for the first time in 37 years. The quick switch-up was due to a collective mentality that did not allow for any negative energy which allowed us to harness powerful energy as a team to dominate our opponents. I am excited for my last upcoming season as a collegiate player and believe that we possess what it takes on our team to mimic that season in which we finished as champions.
What do your teammates say is your best quality?
• I believe that my teammates would say that my best quality is my leadership through example whereby I utilize maximum effort in all that I do. I never want to take a single play off no matter the situation in order to lead all those who look up to me to the best of my ability.
Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
• Foyesade Oluokun, my teammate from 2 years ago with whom I was able to win an Ivy League Championship. He is currently doing very well at the Atlanta Falcons and he serves as an inspiration to me in terms of what is possible for myself.
What would your career be if you couldn’t play football?
• I have a keen interest in the financial world and would like to pursue it following football. I hope to follow in the footsteps of the many NFL alumni that have successfully broken into the field following their professional careers
Room, desk, and car – which do you clean first?
• Everything starts with having a clean room because I believe that it is a direct reflection of one’s self discipline. This is the reason I make my bed every morning and ensure that everything else is in its correct place at all times. Next would be my desk (which is in my room!), and the lastly a car because I simply do not need or have one yet.
If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?
• My family comes before all else. I owe everything that I have been able to accomplish thus far in my life to my family. They are my support network and will always be there to support me and steer in the right direction if need be.
If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?
• Although it is a cliché, being Bruce Banner and/or the Hulk seems like it would be a lot of fun. I really love that the character has the two opposite sides of smarts and brawn which he uses in different situations. I feel as though I can relate to that as an offensive lineman where my job is to forcibly move people against their will while balancing academics and my other responsibilities. Plus, I think the Hulk would do pretty well on the football field.
Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?
• The biggest adversity I’ve faced thus far in my life has been my pursuit of football and moving to the US. I had my first true encounter with the sport of football when I was 16 and was immediately captivated by it. I started an unorthodox hobby of watching college and NFL football games in the early mornings due to the time difference between the US and South Africa. After about a year of this hobby of mine, I started to develop the dream of becoming a college football player myself because I felt as though I possessed the physical and athletic capabilities required of a college-level football player. Admittedly, this appeared a daunting and unrealistic venture to dedicate myself to when taking into consideration the fact that I had never played football of any kind before in my life. There were certainly times when I was struggling through my decision to not pursue the conventional avenues back home, especially when all my friends started thinking about applying to local universities, but I knew that if I persisted that I would be successful. This is what led to my decision to attend a high school football camp in Virginia halfway through my senior year where I flew 8,000 miles across the Atlantic to try my hand at this game that I had developed a deep passion for over the course of the past two years. I truly enjoyed the camp but did not have the faintest idea what I was doing and I soon came to realize the disparity that exists between watching American football on television and actually experiencing the intricacies of technical play as a player. I garnered some attention from college scouts at the camp and received offers to walk-on, but I knew that if I was able to achieve that with the little to no experience that I possessed that I would be able to develop further and attain my true dream down the road.
After the conclusion of the camp, I did not feel demoralized but rather invigorated with a new sense of motivation to fight even harder for my dream. I did some exhaustive research and stumbled upon the option to do a postgraduate year at a number of American boarding schools. Thereafter, I contacted dozens of coaches hoping that someone would be willing to take a chance on me and, eventually, put me in a position to get seen by college coaches. I was lucky to have a number of coaches contact me saying that they were interested. I submitted my applications and ultimately decided to attend Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut with the goal of getting recruited to Division 1 team. I finished high school back in South Africa in November and decided to come over early to live in the US with a Choate host family the following April. I prepared for my first upcoming season as a true football player while tightly holding on to my dream that seemed to get closer and closer. My host family was immensely caring towards me as they could sense the difficulty I had with leaving my family back home to pursue my goal. It was during this time that I really doubted myself as all my friends were studying at the universities back home and here I was going to prep school in America.
My coach-to-be at Choate sent me to a number of camps in July before the season where I was able to learn more of the technicalities of football and hone my own skills. I attended Yale’s camp, before my season at Choate, eyeing it as an ideal opportunity for the Yale staff to get to know me as a person and a player. I enjoyed the camp on that rainy day in New Haven and simply decided to have fun given the fact that I did not have any film of myself` actually playing football yet. This care-free approach allowed me to just give it my all in the various drills that we were doing. We were busy doing one-on-ones, while the rain was coming down, when Yale’s head coach, Coach Reno, called my name and signaled for me to come over. I was expecting for him to offer some advice for the long path that laid ahead for me but instead he offered me right there and then. It seemed as though time had stopped in that instant as the words left his mouth and I became overwhelmed with euphoric shock. I took a visit a week later and decided to commit and become a Bulldog as it became very clear to me that Yale was the ideal choice after contemplating all other possible choices down the road. The opportunity to study at one of the top universities in the world whilst competing for a chance to play fitted my criteria that I decided on before I began this entire venture to leave home. No other opportunity would challenge me like Yale would and it is under these conditions that I envisioned myself developing rapidly as an athlete, student, and individual as a whole.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
• My most embarrassing moment was when I visited my girlfriend’s home after our Ivy League title win where they were kind enough to have a huge congratulatory banner in their living room. I was so exhausted that it took me 10 mins to even notice the gigantic sign and I felt embarrassed after all the effort they put in! Luckily, we all laughed about it.
What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?
• Although it was a disappoint season like I mention above, the go-ahead touchdown against Harvard my freshman year is something I will never forget. We performed under pressure to seal the victory and I just remember the elation of the crowd after we scored. It was such a relief to experience the sheer joy of the team after the crowd stormed the field to congratulate us.
What song best describes your work ethic?
• War Ready by Rick Ross & Jeezy
What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level?
• The most important trait one can have is pure determination in order to ensure that you never give in in any situation. We have much more control over ourselves when we allow our minds to unlock the mental conditioning necessary to succeed in any situation. Everything can be stripped away but determination can always function as the fundamental driving force that pushes individuals to go beyond their perceived limits.
If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?
• I think that if I could bring one person back to life it would be Isaac Newton because his revolutionary ideas transformed our world forever. It is very clear that he was a genius of rare proportions and I think picking his brain would be very interesting. If we were to bring him up to speed, then maybe he could help us to come up with the next big breakthrough!
If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it?
• Arkenstone (Lord of the Rings lore of course)
Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?
• I truly believe that Foye is the most underrated player in the NFL at the moment and that he is set for a breakout year this upcoming season. He has established himself as an indispensable part of the Falcons defense and I look forward to watching him prosper.
Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?
• I would much rather be respected by individuals that I do not have a personal relationship with. Respect is something that takes time and effort to build on the football field and I would much rather possess that respect than anything else.
What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?
• No truly off-field issues, but Bo Jackson’s hip injury and ultimate early retirement is something that is such a shame. Undoubtedly the greatest athlete in modern history, one can only imagine what his career would have been like if he was able to continue to put up Tecmo Bowl-like numbers every game. I had the pleasure of meeting him at my prep school and he was a truly inspiring individual.
Do you love to win, or hate to lose?
• Although I love the feeling you get when you win, there is nothing that I despise more than losing. I see winning as the goal each and every time so it stings a little more when you fail at that goal that was set out as a team.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?
• The person who has had the biggest influence on my life has been my mother. She has sacrificed so much to ensure that I could have the best of everything and be in the ideal position to strive for my goals always. She supported me every step of the way on my unorthodox journey to Yale, which was fueled by my ambition to realize my dream. She helped to instill that ability to see all possibilities which has allowed me to realize that anything is truly possible when one allows blind faith to intertwine with self-belief. My journey to the US has proved to be the most rewarding risk I’ve taken thus far in my young life and I couldn’t be happier here or more thankful towards my mother who never questioned and only supported.