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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Dehonta Hayes, DB, Eastern Washington University

Dehonta Hayes the hard hitting DB from Eastern Washington University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.

• Name: Dehonta Hayes
• Height: 5’11
• Weight: 200
• Position: Safety
• College: Eastern Washington University
• Twitter: IAmDhayes_

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

I’m from Tacoma Wa, a city that everyone is going to learn more and more about. What I love most about Tacoma is the amount of players across the US/NBA/NFL and overseas that are all from Tacoma. Tacoma has been a huge stomping ground for success in athletics, but doesn’t receive the credit it deserves. I love the feeling of being from an underdog city, it gives me the opportunity to use my athletic success to bring attention to Tacoma. 

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

Film study, practice, then strength and conditioning. Honestly, they’re all key roles in your success on the field. However, film is the most important way to prepare for your opponent, and to learn how to improve your techniques while creating positive habits. Practice is how you polish everything you already learned from watching film, while strength and conditioning allows you to put together everything you’ve watched on film and practiced together. 

What do you worry about, and why?

I worry about the fact that my entire football career, from high school to college I have been a “Diamond in the rough”. I have the potential to bring a lot to whichever team I play for. Whether that consists of special teams, defense, or offense I have found success within all three facets. However, floating under the radar tends to play a huge factor in my football career.

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

Something I failed at was in my 2018 junior season I was not nominated for any accolades after the season. I played in 15 games for EWU that season, along with 9 career starts and 4 different games with double digit tackles. I ended that season with 89 tackles and that was my first time getting actual collegiate reps at safety. However, the way I reacted was attacking my offseason going into my senior year. Every rep I took in the weight room, every snap I took on the field, it all meant something. And I believe I made a statement this year, ending my senior year with 115 tackles, 3 INTs, 5 PBUs, and was nominated an All Big Sky safety. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

I believe my teammates would say my best quality is leadership and being able to lead by example. I am someone who will not tell you to do something that I don’t follow myself. I give my teammates 110% every day, and that is why I earned their trust. I have came a long way over the years, but with maturity comes growth. These last two seasons I grew into the player and athlete that everyone knew I could be coming out of high school. 

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

The best player I ever had to play against has to be Keelan Doss (WR from UC Davis). We had to play against him not one time but twice in the 2018 season. Me and him battled, I got a couple big hits on him during our matchup in the playoffs. However, he was overall a very solid WR, able to make plays all over the field. Being a younger player during that game I admired his talents. It was fun, especially because we won both of our games against them. 

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

I am a huge guy when it comes to Public Relations and all the qualities that go into being a PR agent. I took 1 or 2 classes here at Eastern that allowed me to work with actual clients and help them meet their goals. It was something I really enjoyed. Being able to make new relationships while helping my clients achieve their desires is awesome to me. 

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

This is a funny one because I am actually a clean freak, but the order I choose is Room, Car, then desk. My room is a true indicator of who I am, so if I have guest over and my room is a mess then they’ll have the perception that I’m not a clean individual. With that being said, my room is clean 24/7, and everyone who knows me understand I enjoy cleaning. My car is something that I cherish so a clean car is mandatory for me, I don’t judge if you choose to have a dirty car but I can’t allow myself to not have a clean car. Lastly, my desk is the easiest to clean considering most of my class work is in my bag. 

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

Depends which family member we’re talking about. Just kidding! I’m choosing my family over a stranger, even though being a hero would be awesome. I couldn’t live with the thought that I let someone in my family be a victim of a disaster I could’ve prevented. 

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

I would choose to be Michael B. Jordan in Creed. Creed is an amazing movie, and the way Michael plays his role makes me want to see how good i would do in that same position.  Rocky is a legendary movie, and Creed happens to be a spin off and sequel of Rocky, who wouldn’t want to be apart of history in the movie industry. 

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

My biggest adversity in life is growing up with little to no money. My family was poor, but my mom made it happen every way she could. I wasn’t able to have the newest or coolest shoes or clothes until I started using my summers as a way to earn income by mowing lawns around my neighborhood. I overcame this by never allowing my situation to be an excuse but a motivator. I always think about where I come from, and how I want more for my future. I don’t want to be concerned about income, or food, or whether or not I can purchase things I want or need. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Way too many to list the most embarrassing moment.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

The most memorable play of my career is against North Dakota state earlier this year. The weather was crazy, blizzard snow and freezing weather in September while we were in a shootout towards the end of the game. However, I read the QB and broke before he passed the ball and managed to make a diving interception to seal the game. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

Dreams and nightmares – Meek Mill 

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

I have a super strong mentality that allows me to mentally get through any and all situations. I have the mentality that I can and will achieve anything that I want to. Despite having adverse situations that can try to steer me off the course, I have the mindset that I know what I want to achieve and I can’t do that without being strong mentally. 

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

If I could bring one person back from the dead it would have to be Tupac. Tupac was before his time, a true genius at heart, and would change the world today with how intelligent he was. Tupac was living the life, while creating good music, and acting in movies that will always be good. 

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

The Hill

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

I believe the most underrated player is Nick Chubb RB for Cleveland Browns. Nick at the start of the 2019 season was not considered one of the top backs in the NFL. However, he was been more consistent and effective throughout each week to prove he is one of the best, despite the Browns’ horrid season. 

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

I would rather be respected then liked, and my reasoning is because I am a person who values respect. I respect everyone and anyone, and hope to receive the same back from people. I always have other people’s best interest in mind before making decisions. 

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

I think Antonio Browns off-field issues hurt him more then he thought it would. I don’t feel for Antonio, but I feel for the fact that I can’t see him make plays every week. Antonio is a great player, and I feel like now he is realizing that the NFL is a place he wants to be. I think I can see Antonio making his return to the NFL in 2020. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

I hate losing, I love winning of course but the idea of losing no matter what I’m competing at is unsettling for me. When you’re a true competitor you compete at everything you do naturally, meaning if I’m always competing why would I choose to be ok with losing? It doesn’t. Losing is something that I won’t ever accept, I have to WIN which is why I came to EWU! 

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

My siblings have the biggest influence on my life, whether they realize that or not. Every choice I make, and every time I play I dedicate it to them. I’ve made many sacrifices such as holidays or birthdays in order for me to achieve the overall goal of playing in the NFL. Graduating high school, college, and now pursuing my Masters is all for my siblings to see that they can achieve anything they put their minds too. 

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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