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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Devin Cates, TE, Drake University

  • Name: Devin Cates
  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 248lb
  • Position: TE
  • College: Drake University
  • Twitter: Just_Devin_It

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

• I’m from a town about 45 minutes north of Sacramento in California called Yuba City. The best part about it has got to be the weather. It hasn’t snowed in my hometown in almost 20 years. It is very hot in the summer which makes for some good outdoor fun. 

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

• Strength and Conditioning: As much as football is a mental game, it is also an overwhelming physical one. You have to be able to have the size, speed and strength to compete with the best in the world and you build yourself in the weight room. 

Practice: Practice is key, even when it is just a walkthrough. A lot of the things you watch in film study, you go over in practice and I think seeing it live and running through things sticks with me more than just seeing it on film 

Film Study: Film study is still extremely important and valuable. Those who take time to study film and find keys are often the ones who are the most successful. Film doesn’t lie and you are able to learn a great deal about your opponent and yourself through film study

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about disappointing my family. I want to make them proud of me and be the best man I can be for them.

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

•Freshman year of college I was having the hardest time catching a clean in the weight room. I wasn’t able to get my elbows through and catch the bar on my shoulders. Initially I was extremely frustrated and flustered.

However, I simply accepted the failure and then started to really work on my flexibility and loosening up my wrist and shoulders. I spent extra time before and after workouts to make sure I was getting things done. I was quickly back to being able to catch cleans and doing a lot more weight than I initially thought. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• Probably my completeness and my work ethic. I’m someone who puts in that extra work, especially during offseason training and loves to compete. Whether it’s in the weight room, a race for conditioning, or simply a play at practice, I’m always looking to win and push those around me. 

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

• The best offensive player that my team faced was probably David Montgomery of Iowa State. He was so patient as a running back and never went down on first contact. 

Defensively and personally the best player I faced was Donald Payne. He was a freak physically and athletically and someone who could line up all over the field defensively. 

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

• I’d love to get into academic advising and counseling at the college level. Working at a University and being a valuable resource for all students, especially athletes would be something that I feel I could really thrive at. 

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

• My desk for sure. I always had a big desk full of stuff in college and I spent a lot of time at it. Having my desk organized was always key for me. 

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

• Probably my Dad. He’s my biggest fan, supporter and life coach and I don’t know what I would do without him.

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

• Yoda, or any Jedi knight. Being able to use the force would be the ultimate super power. Plus, who wouldn’t want to yield a light saber? 

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

• Losing my grandfather in college was really tough on me. He was always someone who bonded with me over football and losing him in the midst of my college career was hard. He was always the first one to call me after games to talk about how he thought I did. Every game since I write his name on my wrist just to remind myself that he is up above watching down on me. I want to keep playing this game as long as I can for him. His voice is always on the back of my head pushing me. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• Catching a touchdown late in the third quarter vs. #24 Iowa State. It was snowing, raining and a mud bath all game. The score put us up by 4 in a game that we were picked to lose by 41 points. Although we ended up losing by 3 in the end, It was by far one of my most memorable moments from my college career. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Taking care of business by bachman-turner overdrive

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

• Perseverance/Resiliency. The ability to bounce back when setbacks occur. In life and in any profession, you face challenges and setbacks and how you respond to those challenges is key in defining what kind of person you are. 

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

• My grandfather. He was one of my biggest supporters. He watched all my games and would always call me after to talk about how he thought I did. Although he was my biggest critic, he was also my biggest fan. I would love to just spend another day with him and show him how far football has taken me to this point. 

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

• Waves

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

• Taysom Hill. He can line up in multiple positions and have an impact on the game in so many ways. He makes plays on offense and on special teams. His skillset is rare. 

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• I would rather be respected. In life, no matter who you are there is going to be people who like and dislike you. You can’t always please everyone. Earning someone’s respect is a much bigger deal than getting them to like you 

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

• I feel that most players who had their career’s derailed were due to personal choices. Someone that inspires me and I really feel for is Pat Tilman. Someone who was willing to give up his own career for the greater good of his country is inspiring and he is someone who shoud be remembered forever. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I think I hate to lose more. The pain of defeat just stings so much. Winning with your teammates and coaches is a tremendous feeling but losing, especially games you feel you should have won just really hurts. 

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

• My father. He has been my football coach since I started playing organized tackle football in the 4th Grade. He coached me through juniors and all the way through high school. We share a love and passion for football that has brought us extremely close. He is my biggest fan, greatest supporter and believes in me more than anyone. He hasn’t missed a single football game I’ve played in since day 1. He continues to push me to strive for my dreams and achieve all that I can. 

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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