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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Justin Calderon, OT, Chadron State College

Justin Calderon Chadron State
Justin Calderon the huge offensive tackle from Chadron State recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer JImmy Williams.
  • Name: Justin Calderon
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 300 lbs
  • Position: OT
  • College: Chadron State College
  • Twitter: @calderon1199

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

Last year was my first year at Chadron State College. Chadron is a small town that loves football, and that is a main reason I went all the way to Chadron, Nebraska. It feels like a family out there, and that’s why I love it. I did not participate in any other activities being I was busy with football the first semester and the pandemic hit us, but I would like to participate in things on campus coming up this year.

How did you end up at Chadron State College?

My freshman and sophomore season I played Junior College Football at Nassau Community College. While I was getting recruited out of JUCO our former Offensive Coordinator found my highlight tape on twitter. When I went to visit I knew I wanted to go there from the small town feel to the people being so kind and generous. I also knew that it would be a great place for me to not get distracted and work hard.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

I think my teammates would say my best quality is my aggression that I bring to the field. By aggression, I mean in the games I like to get big hits and just play aggressively overall. I also bring aggression by going hard every time we go live during practice.

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

On the team, I see my role as leading by example, I am not the kind of teammate to yell and scream, but I do my best to motivate the team in other ways. As an o-lineman I can fit in any scheme. Tackle fits my skill set best because my mobility is one of the best parts of my game.

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

The best player I’ve ever played against was at my JUCO my sophomore year. Savion Williams played for this team called Lackawanna. I believe he plays for Tennessee now. He was a big guy who played DT, but they had him at D end. It was one of my toughest games, but I prepared well and ended up playing well. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

One of my teammates that impresses me the most is my friend Willie. He was the one to get me up and going even when I did not want to and seeing his work ethic even in uncertain times really pushed me to work harder.

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

One time I overcame a struggle was my whole time at Junior College. The amount of things I had to overcome was unbelievable. With hardwork, I earned a scholarship.

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

Something I am proud of is making a name for myself. I had no offers at all coming out of high school, not even any Division 3 school’s wanted me. I worked the hardest I ever did in my life to make all this possible. My biggest achievements so far is my JUCO All American as well as my division 2 All R-Mac 1st team selection.

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 NFL Draft Rankings

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

There has been a lot of memorable plays throughout my career, but the one that stands out most was my sophomore year, and I wasn’t even on the field. We were playing a team everyone thought we had no business beating. It was the last play of the game and our kicker hit the game winning field goal, I remember the whole team was ecstatic and it is one of my most fond memories from my college career.   

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

The sport I would like to think I would play is basketball but I’m not that good. So, a more realistic answer to the question would be throwing the shot put in track & field. I used to do that in high school and had some college offers for it.

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

My Major is Criminal Justice studies. Other than football, I would like to be a Law Enforcement officer.

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

This off season it has been harder to train because of the pandemic and there not being any gyms open. I have been doing a lot of field work and calisthenics. I also run everyday to stay in Good Football condition. I take workouts from my weight coaches as well as using my friends that go to other schools and use them to put together workouts.

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

My favorite football team is the New York Jets. I have been a Jet fan my whole life. I model my game after two greats: Tyler Lewan because of the nastiness he plays with and Joe Staley is the other with his ability to pull and run in open space and throw a block.

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

In my spare time, I enjoy working out and during this pandemic I have a lot of free time. I also enjoy hanging out with my family and friends. A secret talent is I can dunk a basketball, it is not that impressive but not very easy when you weigh 300lbs.

Why do you play football?

I play football for many reasons. It is my passion and the most fun thing I can possibly think of doing. It teaches me life lesions. It also lets me get my aggression and anger out in a way that is legal and does not really hurt anyone

Who or what motivates you the most?

I am very self motivated, this is because no one believed in me when I was young. My highschool football coach told me I would never make it and that pushed me far as well. My friends and family are also some of my biggest supporters as well.

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