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Draft Diamonds Free Agent Interview: Jelani Irby, Wide Receiver

Jelani Irby is a playmaker at the wide receiver position and huge supporter of NFL Draft Diamonds! He recently sat down with Justin Berendzen for this Free Agent Interview.

Hello I am @jrberendzen on Twitter and this is one of my free agent interviews where I ask very deserving free agents questions about the players themselves and about what a team would get in these players. All of these players should get picked up by NFL and CFL teams and get a shot at being a career football player. So I hope you all read this interview and follow Jelani’s journey. Make sure you follow him on Twitter at @irbinatorinc

  1. What do you do for fun?

For fun, I love to workout and listen to music. Being in peak physical form is a requirement as an athlete, but for me it’s not work. I love to hit the field and get some cardio and speed work in. Running hills and lifting weights is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve especially leaned on running hills, pull-ups, and resistance band workouts these days due to the lack of availability of resources (because of COVID-19). I also enjoy watching old games on youtube (in addition to a random show on Netflix from time to time).

2.If you were on a game show and won 100 thousand dollars what would you do with it?

The first thing I would do is pay off any debt that I may have. After that, probably help family with their debt as well.

  1. What is your mindset when you are on the football field?

As soon as I step on the field, it’s a chess match. Who can out think who? Who can make the other man or the other coach on the opposing sideline frustrated? Who will break first? I pride myself on mental toughness, will power, intelligence, and being crafty.

4.What is your favorite dinner?

 My favorite dinner has recently become stir fry. (Vegetables, rice, ground turkey, etc.)

5.Who do you model your game after?

 As a kid I originally modeled my game after Randy Moss. The more I grew as a person and a football player, I realized that’s not very realistic for me. I’m not 6’4, jumping out the gym, and running a 4.2 40. You won’t out jump and out run everyone. My game slowly but surely transitioned into more of a technician. Instead of wanting to blow by defenders or out jump them on 50/50 balls all the time, I began loving the process of setting defenders up and creating separation with precise route running. Larry Fitzgerald is a guy that I look at and say “that is exactly who I want to be” with a little Randy Moss mixed in when it comes to making the tough catch, which is also something I pride myself on.

  1. If you were on an island and could only have three things which three things would you have?

Workout equipment (resistance bands, dumbbells, etc), food, and the people I care about the most.

  1. What is your favorite tv show?

My favorite TV show is non-existent. I truly don’t watch TV that often. I’m usually on Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, or playing Madden. If I had to choose one, however, it would have to be either ESPN’s First Take or Fox’s Undisputed seeing as those are what I religiously watch every morning (and if I miss it, I definitely go to YouTube and watch clips from the show).

  1. What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

I knew I would play this game long term when I first started out at 7 years old. It came naturally to me. My family has been deep in the game of football my entire life. It’s always been accessible and I’ve always gravitated towards it. I’ve never had any doubts about the game of football and I.

  1. If you could live anywhere in the world where and why?

If I could live anywhere in the world I would live in my hometown of northwest Washington, DC. Financially, things have grown in my hometown over the years. Hopefully one day I can make my way back and have my own place of residence in the same vicinity in which I was raised.

  1. What would a team get in a player like you?

A team would get what I’ve always given throughout my entire life. They would get a man who lives up to his word. They would get a man who has constantly looked fear, doubt, and naysayers in the eye… and spat in it’s face! Will power is one of my greatest attributes. I have the heart of a lion (whether I should or not sometimes is a different story). I am a natural born leader and would rather sit and eat at a table by myself as opposed to eating at a table with 1 million sheep. My focus and attention to detail is what’s brought me this far.

  1. Who is your favorite musical artist?

I don’t truly have a favorite musical artist. I love listening to numerous artists from various genres. Of course, you have your rap artists such as NWA, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Notorious BIG, and Nas. However, I grew up as a huge Michael Jackson fan. The sounds of my mother listening to Whitney Houston and Diana Ross, amongst others, also consumed my mind during my early years. These days I listen to a little bit of everyone. Can’t just pinpoint one individual. 

  1. If you were an animal which animal would you be and why?

A lion, which is also my favorite animal. I’ve always been a leader and tried my best to love and protect my loved ones. Going out on a limb by yourself to make something happen for those in need, even if it means being surrounded by negativity. Doing what it takes to make it back home with a “meal” to feed others. This is why lion’s are the king of the jungle. That’s why they’re my favorite animal and I study them. Greatest animal on earth in my opinion! 

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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