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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jake Shaffner, LS, Colgate University

Jake Shaffner the versatile LS from Colgate University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Jake Shaffner 
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 235 lbs
  • Position: Long Snapper
  • College: Colgate University 
  • Twitter: @ShaffnerJake 

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

  • I grew up in two places.  From first grade to sophomore year I lived in Orchard Park, New York, right outside of Buffalo.  Buffalo is a blue collar city that loves its football more than anything. Hear I gained my love for the game with my dad being a college coach I was always around the game, this is when I fell in love.  I spent my august at Buffalo State’s football camp with the team. Spent the long nights in meetings and learned all of work ethic that goes into being great in the game. My sophomore year we moved to Cazenovia, New York outside of Syracuse when my dad became the Defensive Coordinator.  This was a much smaller school then Orchard Park but takes their sports very seriously. I was able to bring the first state title to the football program my senior year. My experiences in both places were extremely different but I love both and call both home.

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

  • Practice, what makes it most important is not just the mandatory practice that you have with your team it is on your own where you go and perfecting your craft to the best you possibly can be. 
  • Film Study, this is where you can look at how you are doing personally and make tweaks to your game.  Without this self reflection you can not have a moment where you know what you need to work on in practice 
  • Strength and Conditioning,  putting this third does not represent how important I think this is.  Training and lifting is one of my favorite things to do, and is extremely important so you can be productive in practice. 

What do you worry about, and why?

  • I worry about my team the most not in a bad way just that all of my team I consider to be family and you always want the best for your family so I worry when things aren’t going right for them.  I just want to do whatever I can to help my family and make their lives easier.

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

  • Not sure if this is considered a failure but coming into college I had the expectation to play a lot of Linebacker.  Through my career that did not become reality but something more important to me was to help my team in anyway that I could.  I did this by learning to long snap my freshman year. This way even though personally I wanted to play linebacker I was still able to help my team and contribute which was most important to me.  

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

  • I think they would say my best quality is my passion for the game.  Football is in my blood, it is the family business, I love this game and it will never leave my life.  No matter what stage my life is at I will make sure football is a part of my life.

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

  • I never got to play against him because he is on my team but Nick Wheeler DE is the best player I have played with or played against.  He is so explosive and is a difference maker when ever he is on the field. He is in my class so I have had the chance to see him develop as a player and each year he gets better.  I think he can become a difference maker at the next level.

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

  • A real estate developer, I have always watched HGTV and love seeing things built.  If I was not able to play football I would want to build apartment buildings and make communities for families to live and enjoy each other in.

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

  • My room, if my room is dirty I can not relax at all in my room, the first thing I do in the morning is to make my bed and clean any clothes up from the day before.  A clean room is huge.

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

  • I would have to save one family member.  My family is one of the most important things to me.  You know what they say faith, family, football and that is what is important to so I would do whatever necessary to protect that.

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

  • Would have to be James Bond.  First he is a complete badass who always finds a way to get the job done.  No matter what the stakes or issues he is faced with he always gets the job done.  That is something that I think is extremely admirable, to never stop until a goal is bet.  It also does not hurt that he always ends up with the beautiful girl.

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

  • My biggest adversity was not actually faced by me but my father.  During my senior year of high school, my dad was diagnosed with stage three throat and mouth cancer.  Things did not look great for awhile especially during my state playoff run. It was hard to compartmentalize what I was doing on the field and everything was happening at home.  I remember a time where he had to go to the hospital late one night and I was there with him until 4 in the morning when I went to school the next day I was getting yelled at my teachers for falling asleep in class.  I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want any pity. My dad has always been my biggest supporter and fan and he would send me text before every single one of my games pumping me up and getting me ready to play.  Seeing the strength that he had to fight through all of this was inspiring and having him in the stands for the state championship was one of the most amazing things I could have asked for. He is healthy now and the cancer is in remission; this was one of the main reasons that I went to colgate to have the chance to play for him.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

  • Came in High School when I forgot my cleats for a game.  I did not realize it until I got to the game so I had to borrow one of my linemans extra cleats.  I played a whole game with some landsharks on and if you know the cleat you know how unswaggy those cleats are and heavy.  This really hindered my moto look good, feel good, play good.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

  • The second round of the FCS playoffs my junior year.  We were playing James Madison who was a heavy favorite over us even though we were the ones that had the bi-week.  The week leading up to the game the coach even questioned if we belonged there. The game came down to a last second field goal with me long snapping.  It was an extreme amount of pressure and you knew the block was going to come hard. I was able to make a perfect snap and hold my ground on the block, the kick was good and we won as time expired.

What song best describes your work ethic?

  • Till I Collapse by Eminem, I try to be relentless in everything I do, no matter what it is, school work or training I want to push myself farther and harder then the person next to me.  Life is a competition and one of my biggest fears is not doing enough or being outworked so I do everything in my power to make sure that does not happen.

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

  • My football IQ, I have been around the game my whole life.  My dinner table discussions usually focus around football, the X’s and O’s what we could do differently or what works.  I think this is a little different then most people that gives me a great advantage on other people.

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

  • My Nana, she was one of the most amazing and loving woman I have ever met.  She helped raise me and was always there to help me with my homework after school and loved me endlessly.  Towards the end of her life she had alzheimer’s and struggled to remember who I was. I never got the chance to thank her for everything she did for me, without her I would not be the man I am today.  If I get the chance I would just tell her how much I love her and how much she means to me, just saying thank you.

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

  • Puzzle’s customers are going to wonder why is this place called Puzzles but that is the puzzle.  It is named that for no reason whatsoever

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

  • Tre’Davious White CB for the Buffalo Bills.  I think he is the best cornerback in the league and does not get his name put up their with Gillmore as much as he should.  The whole bills secondary is underrated, I think that is because they are not that special on their own but together they are extremely good.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

  • I would rather be respected, that is because I have found to form true lasting relationships and friendships you must respect the person first.  I think that gaining people’s respect is much harder and something that I work for every day.

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

  • I saw this a lot at an early age from my dad’s perspective.  Him telling me about all of these players that had all the talent in the world but couldn’t get into school because of grades or kids on his team that could have been so special if they just had the work ethic.  These early experiences influenced me to work harder both in the classroom and on the field so that I would never be considered a if only kid.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

  • It is both, my hate for losing drives what I do off the field all of the long hours of training.  It makes you want to do what no one else does. That being said it is important to enjoy what you are doing and that is where the enjoyment of winning.  Winning gives you a sense of gratification that all of your work is not for nothing. You enjoy the win for a short time and then you get back to work.

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

  • My parents are the biggest influence on my life.  They have acted as amazing role models and love me more than I can understand.  They have provided for me and made me into who I am as a man. I would also like to thank my coaches all of them have made me into the ball player I am today.  To name a few would be Jay Steinhorst and his staff coach martin and Evans my high school football coaches who gave me the confidence and grew my love for the game showed me how much fun I could have,  would like to thank Dan Hunt Colgate’s head coach for taking a shot on a small school upstate football kid. Would like to thank both coach Ryan Knowles and Josh Ison who have been instrumental in me becoming a better long snapper and on top of that coach Stelter with Special Teams University who has been my snapping coach and has changed and taught me so much to be able to be in the spot I am now.

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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