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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Daniel Small, OT, Shenandoah University

Daniel Small the massive offensive tackle from Shenandoah University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot for this 2020 NFL draft Prospect interview.
  • Name: Daniel Small 
  • Height: 6”5
  • Weight: 310
  • Position: OT
  • College: Shenandoah University 
  • Twitter: @DSmall_76

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

  •  One of the best parts about Atlanta, Ga is that it is an area that is open to so many diverse groups and ideas, whether it’s music, sports, entertainment; it is just one of the best cities in the world.

List these three in order of importance and why:

  •  Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice? I would put strength and conditioning first, simply because that is the foundation blocks of everything that you’ll be able to do on the field and off the field. You can look at a max lift, like a fourth and one because someone has to get it. Second I will put practice, because it is so important the tone you set in practice, also because so many don’t truly understand how it translates into a game. You can have all the talent on your team, but a poor week of practice and preparation can lead to a breakdown during competition that could cost you a game. Third I will put film study because it is a option that is available to many, but taken advantage of by few. Although teams change from week to week, it can still give you a good outlook of their foundation in a tendency between a player style, or coaches style against like offenses that can resemble your team 

What do you worry about, and why?

  • I’d like to say that I don’t have too many worries when it comes to things on and off the field, but from a football standpoint one of my main worries is portraying myself in a way that is not accurate to the person I am whether I am in a helmet or in street clothes at a grocery store. It is so important that you represent your brand to the best of your ability because you never know who’s watching, and who is depending on you. For an off the field worry, that would simply be not being able to be the best man version of myself for my family currently and in the future.

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

  • I would go back to the spring of 2016 when I was dismissed from the program here at Shenandoah. That version of myself was not a good teammate, and relied on his raw talent and athleticism to get him out of situations. And once that flash of life without the sport I love so much was now in front of my face I knew that I had to make a change not only for me, but the people that believe in me, as well as the ones that knew that I could do better.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

  • I would have to say that what they appreciate the most is the style of leadership that I have adapted. I’m not the scream at the top of my lungs type of leader, but more so the positive reinforcement to get the point across that they know that better is expected and to hold themselves to a higher standard that will in turn  bring those around them up to that same higher standard.

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

  •  I wouldn’t be able to limit that to just one player, throughout my college career I’ve had the chance and privilege to play against a lot of talented individuals whether they were just under recruited or transferred from bigger schools they all had a very good skill set and they played well with their respective defenses.

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

  • Before sports I’ve always had a very good niche when I came to business related things, as well as finances. So I would have to say that without football there would be more of a focus in a financial type of field like a dream job of mine at an early age was to be an investment banker. The high risk high reward type of career that is attracted me to it completely. But as my love has grown in different avenues and I’m wiser now that I’m a little older a business in sports type role would suit me better. 

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

  • I’d have to say desk, usually desks are associated with work spaces, and I’ve seen firsthand that a messy workspace can truly hinder your performance at your job. My version of the desk would be my locker, I may have had four pair of cleats but they were next to each other and I could see them, And they were organized. My helmet head it’s own spot, my shoulder pads had their own spot everything just flowed together.

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

  • I would automatically have to say family member just because that’s how I’m wired and I hold a lot of values with my family. There is still a very tough question though because I don’t wanna be ignorant to the fact that those three strangers maybe strange to me but they also family to someone else, and you don’t know the impact on the world of those three strangers could have one of those strange to grow to be a president, or a doctor, or a lawyer that would then affect the lives of so many others. That’s a loaded question, but I will still have to go to one family member because if all else fails I know I can go back to that one. Shoutout to my mom.

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

  • I’ll go with black panther. He has a strong family background, he hast to make decisions not only for himself but in the interest of those that he is in charge of to protect, and defend. Also I’ve never seen black panther in a bad outfit, So style has a big part in the decision as well. He is an overall great leader, and I mean the man has a vibranium suit for crying out loud that’s just epic.

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

  • I’ll have to go back to what I mentioned earlier about me getting dismissed for my football program in the spring of 2016. The pain that caused me I wouldn’t wish on any ride will I’ve ever had. The only way I was able to overcome it except the fact that I was wrong, and make a decision to be mentally tough and then just grind. I training entire summer, train like a starter even though I didn’t have a roster spot to go to for that upcoming camp. Thankfully I was blessed with the opportunity to come back but I had to start at the bottom again and work my way back into the mix. The biggest test was not if I was talented enough, I knew that I was, but they wanted to see if I was bought in for real this time, and I was, and now I’m here so I’d say it worked out.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

  • I have to go back to high school for this one. It was during summer workouts my sophomore season I believe, and I got pantsed by a senior on the team. And just to make matters worse, we had just finished with our post practice ice baths so yeah i’ll leave the rest of that story out, because I’m pretty sure it’s not hard to fill in that blank.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

  • My junior season, the run play that won us the game in overtime against our rivals Washington and Lee. We were down pretty good at half, and were able to come back and rally in the game, go to overtime and we were a very pass heavy team so I was extra proud that we were able to win that overtime game in the trenches in-between the tackles and running up the gut to beat them at their house. It was also our last game of the season too so that was a pretty good note to send the seniors off.

What song best describes your work ethic?

  • Grinding All My Life – Nipsey Hussle, Everything about this song resonates with me. Whether it’s based on memories in the past or things that I’m striving to become. And the artist that made the song represents everything that success should mean.

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

  • My PMA. That is my positive mental attitude, I feel that as long as you have a very strong PMA you can get through a lot of things not just in football but in life. If you look at things, a lot of times we forget that your mental body will break down before your physical body. You  can do anything that you want to do, but most times the mental block we have prohibits it from doing so.

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

  • I’d have to say my dad, he passed away pretty early in my life and I think it would just be nice for him to see the man I’ve become. I never saw a lot of these opportunities presenting themselves in my future but I know in the current state that I’m in that he is proud and I can hang my hat on that. He’s watching and he hangs from my neck everyday. He’s here. 

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

  • Small Steppers. It has a catchy name to it, and I think I’ll be able to put a good twist on what people are used to seeing at the dance club and then just adding some new benefits. Plus I would have to open it up in Atlanta, and if there’s any city that can make that club up to the best of its ability, it’d be Atlanta.

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

  • I have a few offensive lineman that I’d slap the desk for because I believe in them that much, but I truly couldn’t just list one they all hold a very important position. Offensive lineman are the most selfless people on the field and are often not appreciated by the majority of people that watch the sport.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

  • Definitely would rather be respected. Respect brings another type of aspect to your playing career. Another team can say that they don’t like you and that’s fine, but if they say they respect you that should be valued at a greater degree.

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

  • I will go with Michael Vick, that to me is just a case of a young individual and his background conflicting with what he was then representing. It is also a good example to teach others to make sure that you watch who you are around and keep a very small group of people around you that are working toward something as well and not just depending on you for their success. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

  • I’d have to go neither, as I’ve grown as a player and I have immerse myself into this game you just have to realize that wins and losses come a dime a dozen. I now realize that the more important things are as a team that we give effort as a team that we fight, if we’re down 35 do we just lay down or do we realize that how we finish this game will translate to the next weeks game that is more important to me as a player and as a leader. I can’t say I hate to lose because there are a lot of positives I can come from a loss. It’s never fun at the current moment but if you look at things from a Big picture perspective that’ll teach you not to love to win but you fall in love with buying in, anf the process that comes with it.

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

  • My Childhood barbers AC, Mo, and Bo. I lost my father at around the age of nine or ten, so at that age is a very tough window because that is when you’re figuring out who you are as a man and what all that entails. Those three men not only gave me my first job but they all instilled into me things that I can take into my life. From anything like talking trash during a sports game or how to treat those in authority figures. Or just things in life. I owe them a lot to the development of myself because without them I’m not too sure if I would be as successful or in a position to be successful if they wouldn’t have come into my life.

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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