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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Blake Mitchell, C/G, Austin Peay State

Blake Mitchell Austin Peay State
Austin Peay State’s center and team leader, Blake Mitchell, recently sat down with Draft Diamond’s writer Jimmy Williams.

Tell us about your university/college. Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

Austin Peay is an awesome school. The beautiful campus is what I think sets it apart. I was a member of the FCA leadership committee when I was at Mississippi State, but since transferring I have been mainly focused on school, and football.

How did you end up at Austin Peay State?

I ended up at Austin Peay because while I was at Mississippi State, Coach Hudspeth left for the head coach job at APSU. When he took the job and I was looking for a new school, it was a great fit. We had developed a relationship at MSU, and I liked how close Clarksville was to my hometown and my family for my last two seasons. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My teammates would say my best quality is my leadership. I am someone that leads by example through having a high GPA, being accountable in the weight room and on the field, and being someone that leads by example and takes pride in the success of the team.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

As the center, it is my job to get our O-line on the same page with our quarterback and running back on every play. I think that an offense focused on inside, and outside zones best fits me and my skill set. I have enough strength to use my leverage in the inside zone, and I’m quick enough to reach an outside technique on the outside zone. When at guard, I think I’m an asset as far as being able to pull and being athletic enough to block players in space.

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

The best player I have ever lined up against would be Greg Gilmore against LSU in 2017 at Mississippi State University.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

Jeremiah Oatsvall, our starting quarterback, is the teammate that impresses me most. After a season ending injury early in the season, he was never down. He began doing signals every game and always being an upbeat and smiling face around the facility. He was watching film with young guys trying to make sure that even though he couldn’t contribute on the field, he could contribute to the team in some important aspects that helped us have the 11-4 season we did. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

My freshman year I failed Chemistry the first time I took it in college and did not think there was any way I could actually pass it. After failing it, I retook the class in an accelerated format in the summer and made an A. I decided that Chemistry was just something that was going to hold me back and had to put in the work yet ended up learning a lot and seeing that school was something I needed to invest more time and effort into. I now have over a 3.5 GPA and wear that with pride.

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

I’m most proud of the relationships that I’ve developed on my team because I think that it has contributed to our success. When I first came to APSU, I worked hard and was a leader by example and believe that I have earned the vocal role that I fill now. The relationship between myself and our team is strong and I believe that it will have a big impact on the season coming up.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

One of the most memorable plays of my career has been when we scored on our screen play in the eighth game of the season, against TSU. We had been attempting this play and gotten some great gains, but when we all ran it perfectly and myself and our left guard made the key blocks down field, we scored a long TD off of a play we worked on relentlessly.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

If I didn’t play football, I would be playing Ice Hockey. I played Hockey from third grade until I graduated high school. I loved playing it and believe that it is what built my endurance to the point that it is today. I actually got my first collegiate offer in ice hockey, before I ever had an offer in football.

What was your major/minor? Other than football, what would be your dream job?

I am majoring in Business Management with a minor in Marketing. My dream job would be to run a company dedicated to helping athletes transition from playing ball into a life without the sport that has been supporting them their entire lives. I believe it is a tough transition from what I have seen both physically and mentally, and I would love to help those in that tough time. 

What have you been working on in the off-season?

This off-season, I have been training in Atlanta. I have trained for two years with a gym in Canton, GA called Velocity Football Academy and have been working hard in both the weight room and on the field. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

My favorite athlete of all time is Conor McGregor. While he isn’t a football player, I still like to model my mindset after his. He attacks every day in the gym, and it has been proven successful. He has a winner’s mindset, and he is not afraid to talk about how hard he works and how passionate he is for winning. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any secret talents?

In my free time I like to hunt and fish. I have a dog trained in retrieving named Rhett. If I’m not working out, I’m probably with Rhett and in the great outdoors. 

Why do you play football?

I play football because I am a competitor. I have always loved to compete, whether that means racing my dad to the truck in the parking lot as a kid, or working to be the best interior O-lineman in the country. I love to compete and I love winning. 

Who or what motivates you the most?

My family is my main motivation. They are always there for me and are always very supportive. Even when I miss events or birthdays for training they are still fully supportive of me chasing my goal to play in the NFL. 

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