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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Rich Kelly, OL, Concordia University, St. Paul

Rich Kelly the versatile offensive lineman from Concordia St. Paul recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Rich Kelly
  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 310
  • Position: OG/OC
  • College: Concordia St. Paul (CSP)
  • Twitter: @RichKellyJr70

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

• I am from Plainfield, IL, a southwest suburb of Chicago. I love the location of my hometown, as it close enough to enjoy a day in the city but you do not have to deal with the cons of living in the city such as traffic and increased prices.

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

• Film study is number one on the list. The mental aspect of football is just as, if not more important that the physical aspect. You need to mentally prepared before a game, you need to know your game plan and how the other team will attempt to stop you. This will give you a huge advantage in the game. You can have all the physical traits in the world, but will be hard to succeed if you do not know what you or the other team is going to do. The next two choices are hard to pick one over the other as they are both very important, but I would have to go with Strength and Conditioning. You must get your body right in the weight room to be able to stay healthy in practice. If you are lazy all off season and do not prepare, you will either get hurt and not practice or be so far down the depth chart, you don’t even receive practice reps. 

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about disappointing my parents. They both worked so hard to give me a great childhood and have helped and supported me so much throughout college. The last thing I would want to do is let them down, as they have set me up to be successful.

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

• As a sophomore in high school, I thought I would make the Varsity football team that year. I did not but I worked hard all year on the JV team and off season to be able to start on Varsity the next year.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• Being a leader on and off the field. Was voted a 3x team captain in college by my teammates and I think they would say I am always pushing them to be there best in the weight room, on the field and off the field. Besides vocal leadership, you must show you can do what you preach and I believe they see I am doing it right on and off the field.

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

• I want to say Chris Garrett, he is the best DE in D2 but he is my teammate. Dennis Gardeck of Sioux Falls who signed with the Cardinals was a great Player.

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

• Physical Therapist, I am accepted in PT school to start this fall.

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

• Room. You wake up every day in your room, if it is messy I think that is just a bad start to the day. It needs to be kept clean.

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

• Family member, you do not want anyone to lose their life but my family has always had my back and I would not want to lose them.

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

• Spencer Strasmore (The Rock) in the show Ballers. I think it is interesting to work so close to NFL players and seeing all aspects of things actually go down and how money is spent.

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

• In the span of a year, a teammate and close friend as well as a Coach passed away. The teammate who passed away was a great leader/friend/teammate and everyone loved him. Coach Gary was the players’ coach in the program, always making sure everyone was doing all right. The way I dealt with was grieving with friends as well as using it as fuel to keep going and wanting to make them smile down on us from above. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• In spring of 2016, we had an entire new coaching staff. During spring practices, I lost my starting job to a freshman for some time and that was very embarrassing for me as I started some games the year before. I felt embarrassed as I thought my teammates looked at me as someone who did not care and did not work hard. They thought I was maybe thinking it was my job and did not have to work for it.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• This last year, we were playing Bemidji State. In OT on the one yard line, we called Power and I was the pulling guard. Pulling and opening up the hole for the RB to score the game winning touchdown was the most memorable play of my career.

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Dedication-Nipsey Hussle

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

• Mental Toughness. At the next level, you will lose some plays but you need to be mentally tough enough to move onto the next play.

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

• Coach Russell Gary, He played in the NFL and was in the Saints HOF. I would love to be able to talk to him right now to gather advice as I go through a process he went through himself and found success.

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

• Electric Pickle-Funky name that I think would catch people’s attention 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Anthony Castonzo, he is a great tackle for the colts who has been around for a long time. Does not get enough press for how good he is.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• Respected. If you are respected, especially by teammates, they might not like everything you do, but will know it is for the teams and their best interests. People will listen to your thoughts about issues if you are respected rather than liked.

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

• Josh Gordon, he was one of the best WR in the league at a young age. Feel for him that he was not able to get enough help and learn from what help he did get.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• Hate to lose, that hatred drives me to get better to not feel that pain again.

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

• My head coach Shannon Currier. He came into the program 4 years ago and has changed the cultured completely. He always pushed me to be the best version of myself, not just a good player but great man. He always said his job was not to win football games, but to prepare us to be the best men possible in life. Through this process he helped me become a great football and learn a lot about myself that will help me later in life. I also know he will be there for me for anything I need at any point in 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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