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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Noah Wanzek, WR, University of North Dakota

Noah Wanzek the phenomenal wide receiver from the University of North Dakota recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Noah Wanzek
  • Height: 6’3.5”
  • Weight: 210
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • College: University of North Dakota
  • Twitter: @NoahWanzek

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

• I grew up in the town of Jamestown, North Dakota. Jamestown has about 17,000 people and is considered relatively big for the state of North Dakota. It is known for having the worlds largest buffalo, which isn’t an actual buffalo but rather a giant statue that is perched above the city. Along with this, Jamestown has a few bodies of water such as the reservoir and Spiritwood lake where people spend a lot of time in the summer doing water sports and the winter for ice fishing. As for what I love most about Jamestown, I would easily have to say how connected the people are. Jamestown can be described as one big team; it doesn’t have the feel of a large city but its not too small at the same time. Everybody looks out for each other and we genuinely care about our neighbors.

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

• In order of importance, I would list them as practice, film study, and strength and conditioning. I have practice number one because of how vital I believe it is to the development of a player and a team. Practice is a time to fine tune one’s game and work on the details but is also a time to develop relationships and bonds with the people you will be on the field with. I believe that if you use practice to push yourself, understand your opponent, and work on your craft then it is the most useful tool to help you prepare for the game. The next thing, film study, is important because it can really help you understand your opponent and know which tendencies to expect. Film study has such a big impact on game day and can be used to give one a major competitive advantage. Strength and conditioning is vital to help players mold their body into the shape it needs to be in to be successful. The first two things are very important for the mind, and I believe people play better and faster if they don’t have to think so much which is why I have strength and conditioning as number three.

What do you worry about, and why?

• The number one thing I worry about is if I am doing all things possible to help me be successful. I worry about what things I need to be doing and what will help me achieve what I want to achieve. The reason I worry about this is because I want to reach my goals so bad and I know that I need to do the best I can at controlling the things I can control. This help me keep me on my toes and prepared for what is next. It pushes me to go above and beyond what is expected and done by people in similar positions.

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

• Sports have always been very important to me in my life. The two main sports that I have put great effort into are football and basketball. One failure that has always stuck with me and had an influence on my sports career and life took place in middle school basketball. In 8th grade I worked hard and was set on being placed on the A team for basketball. On the day the teams were announced, all my friends were on the list except for me. I was hurt for a couple of days and didn’t have that passion I once had. After a talk with my parents and some deep thinking, I realized that I still loved the sport and had a lot of room to grow. The fire inside me started burning again and I used that year on the B team to develop my game and become a better player and person. The way I reacted to this made me a better player and allowed me to be a varsity starter as a sophomore in high school. That situation taught me many things, such as how to handle adversity, that I use to this day.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• My teammates would say that my best quality is my toughness. Whether it be the ability to take a big hit and jump back up or the mental toughness to push myself when things get tough, I am a good example for teammates on how to handle adversity. When my college career was over, I had many teammates approach me and tell me how much they appreciated my toughness and that I was the same person every day. The way I handled things and pushed myself through difficult times influenced other players and set an expectation for the team.

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

• I have played against many great players in my college career, including people from powerhouse FBS schools such as Washington and Utah and strong FCS schools like North Dakota State and Weber State. The best player and the one that stuck out the most to me was Taylor Rapp, a safety from the University of Washington. The reason he was the best I have personally played against is because of how physical and smart he was. He was a very down-hill oriented player that seemed to know exactly what was going to happen. As a safety, he was all over the field and he was involved in every play. As the saying goes, to be the best you must beat the best so playing Taylor was a great experience.

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

• If I couldn’t play football, my career could go down many different paths. I got a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of North Dakota, so I would attack the unstable environment of the business world. I would start off first by going home and working for my family business, which is a farm that is involved in many different businesses. I would help to grow and develop the family business and hopefully make a career out of it.

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

• Out of these three options, I would clean my room first. The first thing you see every morning is your room, so I think to start the day off right and set a good tone you must clean the room first. It is kind of like a baseline task, to go on and do the additional tasks for the day I always feel like I must do this first.

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

• If I was put in this position, I think I would choose the family member. I would choose them because of the relationship I have with that person and the loyalty to them. This decision was hard for me because I believe in doing the most good for the most people, but I have always believed in the love for family members.

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

• If I could be any television character, I would be superman. The obvious reason is because of his powers and the immortal things he can do. I think it would be cool to fly. Also, it would be awesome to use these powers to help people in need. Everybody wants to be a superhero at one point in their lives.

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

• Without a doubt, the biggest adversity in my life was the passing of my mother. My mother was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2014 and passed away that same year in October. Her experience with cancer was a very aggressive one and she didn’t get to leave the hospital much during that five-month period. Seeing a loved one in that state and then losing their life was extremely tough for my family and me. While this was the hardest thing I have been through, it also did teach me a few things. Things such as taking advantage of every opportunity, living in the moment, and coming together as a family. Moving forward in life and using my talents and work ethic are what my mom would want, which is something I leaned on to overcome the adversity.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• My most embarrassing moment takes me back to 8th grade golf. For this particular day, practice was to go out and golf the front nine holes at our local golf course. I was assigned in one of the first groups, so I had to tee off with most of the team watching me. I was extremely nervous and ended up completely missing the ball not once, but twice. Obviously, I was embarrassed by what I did and the reactions following. I have grown into a whole new person since then and even thrive in situations with many eyes on me. When I am in a high-pressure situation to this day, I sometimes think that well it can’t get any worse than that.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• My most memorable play of my collegiate career came on a hot day in Texas against Sam Houston State. We were down a few points with only a couple minutes left in the game. The play came on fourth and goal when our quarterback threw a jump ball to me in the corner of the endzone. With the whole game on the line, I was able to come down with it. Our defense then came up huge and stopped the final drive by the Bearkats. Catching the game winning touchdown is something we all dream about in our lives, but what made this play so special was the circumstances. Sam Houston was a top five team in the country and nobody had us picked to win. They currently had one of the longest home winning streaks of all time and they made sure we knew about it. With all this happening, the team really came together and played a complete game. I’m just grateful I could make that play for the team and I loved seeing everyone have that kind of success.

What song best describes your work ethic?

• The song that best describes my work ethic is Work by Rihanna. I have a strong work ethic and I am willing to go as long as it takes. This song has a very upbeat tempo focused around one word, work. The energy and enthusiasm it can bring to the table describes me. While it might not be talking about the same kind of work that I am talking about, it is still the song I think about to describe my work ethic.

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

• I think the most important physical trait I have to help me succeed is my catch radius and ability to make plays. After watching film, I think people would understand my control over my body and my ability to contort in order to get the ball. There are a lot more things, physical and non-physical, but this one sticks out to me.

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 be Kobe Bryant. When I was growing up, Kobe and LeBron were the two athletes that I most wanted to be like. With that being said, I think Kobe had so much knowledge. Knowledge that could help me with my football career and knowledge that could help many others too. I think a lot of people would say they would bring back Kobe.

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

• If I were to open a dance club, I would name it the “Hall of Fame Nightclub.” I would base the club around athletics, and specifically great players who are in the hall of fame in their respective sports. I would use the term nightclub because it gives a more energetic vibe where people can dance and have fun, rather than having it be a bar or lounge.

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

• The most underrated player in the NFL is Ryan Tannehill. I believe Ryan doesn’t get enough credit for being a solid quarterback. He has some great players around him, including Derrick Henry, but he was still the quarterback that turned their season around and led them to the AFC championship. He might not have the most production, but this past year he was a winner.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• The difference between wanting to be liked vs. wanting to be respected is the difference between a follower and a leader. With that being said, I would rather be respected. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like drama as much as the next person and I want to have positive relationships with people, but I will always do what I believe is right over what might make me look the best. If you do what will make you liked over respected, then the team and you will not be able to genuinely grow and develop in order to reach the potential.

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

• The player I feel for the most who had his career derailed by off-field issues is Josh Gordon. I feel this way for a couple of reasons. The first is that he is a good person and a great player. His off-field issues were not physical, and he wasn’t harming anybody. Along with this I have never heard anybody say he didn’t work hard or that he was a bad teammate. The second thing is that I believe addiction is a serious thing. Whether he thinks he can stop using drugs or not, addiction is a serious disease that can completely affect somebody. Lastly, with the changing narrative around marijuana in the world and in the NFL, this might not have been an issue at all in the future.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I think any competitor loves to win and hates to lose; the question is just which one do you feel more strongly about. For me, I can not stand to lose. Whether I am playing a football game or a friendly pickup basketball game, the same thing holds true in that I don’t want someone to succeed over me. I will do whatever it takes to not feel that sense of defeat and everything it takes to win. If you just love to win, then you are ok with losing here and there, but if you hate to lose then every competition is important.

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

•I have been very fortunate to have some amazing people influence my life in very positive ways. The person that has had the biggest impact and has helped me get to where I am today is my father. With the passing of my mother from cancer, my father and I grew very close together and he is not only my dad but one of my best friends. He has been with me every step of the way and has pushed me to work hard at whatever I am doing, and he has done a great job in supporting me throughout everything. Over the span of my college career, my dad only missed one game including many games all over the country.

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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