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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Ochuko Duke, LB, Ferris State University

Ochuko Duke the hard hitting LB from Ferris State University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot
  • Name: Ochuko B. Duke
  • Height: 6’
  • Weight: 216
  • Position: $/LB
  • College: Ferris State (Southwestern College/ Mesa CC/ Arizona State)
  • Twitter: @Ocho2Cold

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

• Growing up I moved a lot so I consider where I graduated from my hometown. Plano, TX I love it because the diversity, also it’s nice to know that we would be an unstoppable force in football and literally all sports if we were one school like Allen, yet we are broken up into 3 with no option to choose. The rivalries between us were always fun and with bordering cities like Allen, McKinney, Richardson or The Colony you’re bound to have friends with a huge house or a lake house. We didn’t Pla-no games growing up.    

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

•  Film Study, Practice, Strength & Conditioning

          Mentally I need to visualize myself in position or making the play. Watching film helps me understand my body, my tendencies, and surroundings better. This is also the same when I study my opponent, I learn what they like to do and trust my training and reaction. When I know what I want to do I then take it out to the field to practice it. Techniques I like I keep; what I don’t like I toss out. Strength and Conditioning got easier for me in college. Naturally, I’m strong and my focus in the gym is to prepare my body to do everything I visualize and prevent injury in practice and games. I’m not a bodybuilder but I can be if I was into that stuff.     

What do you worry about, and why?

•  Not getting my opportunity to show scouts what I can do on the field. It’s been 3 years since I played and I was a sophomore. I dominated on the field as a boy but at a lower level(NAIA). Since then I’ve been on a top 5 JUCO team and a D1 team in the PAC – 12. I learned a lot & developed my unique game. I now want to show my game as a man. I would have stopped playing if I knew I didn’t have IT. 

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

•  My first college was at a private NAIA school and I was interested in computer science at the time. I failed out as a freshman, changed my major to psychology and didn’t get good enough grades to stay in the school. I had to go the JUCO route to be able to get my grades up and continue to play football. I ended up getting my associates degree in 1.5 years 3.0 GPA. My failure turned into an opportunity for me to go D1 and also receive an associate’s degree and get my bachelor degree in 1.5 years at Arizona State.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

•  I got a walk-on mentality. Walking on to a JUCO to getting a preferred walk on to a D1 without playing a single down shows that I do more just to get the same attention as a scholarship player. Walk on mentality consist of hard work, being humble, and coming to practice every day knowing you got to give 110% to just get noticed. They will soon learn I’m a cerebral & extremely reactive player.

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

•  I really didn’t have no issues or really had that respect towards my competition my sophomore season at the Naia level when I “played” to call someone the best player like that. Since then I’ve only been practicing against players. A player that came with intensity every practice and made me have to adjust my game would probably be WR N’Keal Harry. If the question wasn’t limited to college then QB Kyler Murray by a long shot. In high school, I knew that kid was on another level & would win the Heisman once he got to college. I want a rematch.  

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

•  I like drawing up plays on offense or defensive side of the ball. I would definitely pursue the route of head coach so I could build a team. I would want to work my way up though and learn a little more on the coaching side of things before I get too confident in that profession.

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

•  Car. I can still function with things a little chaotic in my room or my desk especially if I know where I put my things. To symbolize, I strive in chaotic situations.

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

•  Family. …the things you do for love (& I would feel some way dying if my family chose to save 3 strangers before me) No one comes out of life alive but if I could prolong the time I spend with my loved ones I will. No hard feelings to the 3 strangers but that’s family. Literally, 15,000 people are born each hour. I’d definitely understand if I was on the other side of things but I will for sure plead my case.

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

•  Iron Man littt.

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

•  When I left the NAIA school I told everyone I was going to go D1. Being doubted, having to take 21 credits in one semester and not being eligible to play in games at JUCO level I did just that. During my journey, a wise man once told me if there’s a WILL there’s a WAY -Will Beatty (x2 super bowl champ)

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• *Confidential Information* 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

•  2019 season will be the year I have the most memorable plays of my collegiate career. But definitely picking off the starting QB at ASU during week 2 of practices to earn some playing time being new to the program. He said, “I knew the play”. So I picked him off for a 2nd time on the same day. Bittersweet moment.  

What song best describes your work ethic?

•  Calling My Spirit- Kodak Black   

When I’m in the environment of football and competition I feel like I’m meant to do it. My spirit is renewed every year and I go into a zone where I want to be the best ME possible. I’m going to give it my all & I’m passionate about the game playing or not playing. I want to win and will work my teammates so we on TIP the whole year.

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

•  GRIT

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

•  Grandma. She died when I was born (I would have been her first grandchild). I heard she was a sweetheart and the gem in the family. I would have loved to meet her.

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

•  Free Drinks

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

•  Kyler Murray. They talk about him like he hasn’t been winning at the highest levels his whole career. I think he’s going to shock a lot of people his rookie year.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

•  Respected. Being liked takes too much work. Stay in your lane and respect my lane. I’m going to do the same regardless. I also learned that when you win a lot you will be disliked or have a lot of fake love. Just got to block out the noise and force them to respect you.

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

• Johnny Manziel. Got to learn how to be a pro if you got pro abilities.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

•  Although I hate losing I love to win more. The preparation put into winning to get the feeling of winning is amazing. If I lose its not a loss just a lesson. I’m going to win more than I lose and I’m not going to waste energy hating to lose because I’m not used to that. I’m used to getting the win and I love it so I’m going to prepare to continue to do that as long as I can. And mentally prepare to receive that outcome. Losing is not an option nor is creating the feeling of hating to lose an option.

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

• My parents sacrificed a lot and worked hard to come to America and create a life and give opportunities to my siblings and me that we would have never had. As a 1stgeneration American and the oldest in my family, I got to hold it down, be a good role model to my younger siblings & show my parents their hard work and sacrifices in my life were not in vain. I want to help pave the way for future generations to do GREAT things

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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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