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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Nate LaJoie, DL, Michigan Tech University

Nate Lajoie Michigan Tech
Michigan Tech’s outstanding DL, Nate Lajoie, recently sat down with Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Nate LaJoie
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 275
  • Position: DL
  • College: Michigan Tech University
  • Twitter: @Nate_LaJoie

Tell us about your university/college. What was your major/minor? How is campus life?

Michigan Tech is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with close to 8,000 students. Tech is primarily known as an engineering school, but I am currently pursuing my Masters in Business Administration. Campus life is different from most to say the least. With an average snowfall of 200 inches each winter, we have many different activities and lifestyles than the average university.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

Hard work. I strive to always be the hardest worker in the room and strive to bring that energy in every situation.

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

I see my role as a defensive leader and captain. I want to be able to lead by example, but also bring the best out of every player individually. I believe I am fluid enough for multiple schemes, depending on the situations week-to-week. I can create pressure as a 3-tech/4i, push the pocket out of a 0 or 1, and even plug the gap/defeat double teams as a 2i. I feel comfortable across the entire LOS.

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

Playing in the GLIAC, I am blessed to see tremendous talent every week. To this point I would have to say Tyler Allison was the best player I have gone head-to-head with. He’s been a 4 year starter for Ferris State and is probably the best mix of athleticism/strength I have competed with.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

The first one that comes to mind is Sam Kinne, another defensive lineman with strong work ethic and drive to never lose. Contagious to be around and is gonna be a force the next 3 years.  

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

Coming back from a season-ending wrist injury in 2017. I wasn’t able to suit up for practice at all in 2017. I was able to come back and be a starter in 2018 and was elected as a First Team All-American in 2019.  

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

It would have to be wrestling. I grew up playing many sports but my family has always been known as a wrestling family. I have 3 cousins that have been State champions in Michigan for a total of 8 titles. Each one of them also went on to wrestle Division 1.  Although football was definitely the right choice for me, wrestling is still in my blood. 

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

Graduating with my bachelor’s in Finance with above a 3.0 GPA.  This was a big goal of mine ever since my first college semester, where I must admit didn’t go as well as planned.  Anyone that knows of Michigan Tech knows that this place isn’t easy academically by any means.  Succeeding not only on the field but in the classroom was a big goal for me.

Another that comes to mind is breaking the Power Clean record for Defensive Tackles (335 lbs). Coming back and breaking the record after a season-ending wrist injury was a goal I had ever since I was sidelined.  

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

Any of the last plays against rival Northern Michigan from 2015-2019. The last 10 years, although they haven’t been pretty, we have beat them.  Specifically in 2018, with 49 seconds left in the game, they attempted a 2-point conversion to force OT. Our defense all stepped up after letting up the touchdown the play before and stuffed the conversion.

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

Aaron Donald without a doubt. Completely changed the Defensive Tackle position in today’s game. Being “undersized” for the position and still dominating at the highest level says it all.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?

Too many good ones to name just 1.  Strictly before a game I would have to say a mix of Biggie, Kevin Gates, YoungBoy, Lil Baby, and Kodak to name a few.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Chicken alfredo or just a classic steak and potatoes.  Perfect mix of protein/carbs after a long day.

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?

Will Smith. Versatile and fits almost any role perfectly.

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

Right now, working and working out. With quarantine, hobbies are limited but I do enjoy chilling with friends, finding new music, hunting, boating, going to the beach, watching movies, etc. 

Who or what motivates you the most?

I think what motivates me the most is the grind and desire to be the best. I come from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which most people probably don’t even know exists. It is very isolated and not heavily recruited at all. I want to show people it doesn’t matter where you’re from, as long as you have that fire and desire inside of you.

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