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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Wesley Genant, OL, South Dakota State

Wesley Genant is a vital asset to the South Dakota State as he has played multiple positions along the offensive line. He recently sat down with Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Wesley Genant
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 300
  • Position: OL
  • College: South Dakota State University
  • Twitter: @WesGenant

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

I currently attend South Dakota State University located in Brookings, South Dakota. It is a big time Division 1 university with a small town feel that many, including me, come to enjoy. Here at SDSU, I am a part of the Honors College (I plan to graduate with honors distinction), Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

How did you end up at South Dakota State?

It was always my goal. I have always held a great sense of pride in being a South Dakotan, and I wanted to represent my home state on the largest stage of sports possible. I’ve played and watched football for as long as I can remember so I wanted to play football at SDSU. My high school went to their team camp every summer so I was familiar with the coaches and campus. The summer between my Jr. and Sr. year I attended their team camp and was quite disappointed with my performance. Two weeks later at the SDSU prospect camp I showed out and had my best camp performance of the summer and got the call the next day from SDSU that they wanted me on scholarship. I had other offers, but SDSU’s was the only one I was hunting for. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

Probably my composure and leadership. I’m a pretty calm and professional guy. I am not a huge hype man, but when things go sideways on the field (it’s guaranteed to every game), I keep my composure and keep the guys focused on the next play. Off the field and in the locker room, I don’t lie to my teammates either. I have been told by my teammates that they appreciate my honesty as not many people in leadership positions are totally honest all of the time. 

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

A leader and someone who keeps their composure in high pressure situations. I can play in any scheme if I am taught it. I didn’t play zone run scheme in high school and yet I played my true freshman year at SDSU in a zone run scheme that has been, and still is, one of the top offenses in FCS football so I think that proves my case. I have also played every single position on the offensive line. I prefer playing center, but I am comfortable playing any position.

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

Khalen Saunders from Western Illinois. He was fast, big, and explosive for a dude his size. Tough guy to block.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

I have two that stick out in my mind, but they are both similar in reasons why they impress me. Blair Mulholland and Preston Tetzlaff. They work INCREDIBLY hard and they contribute a lot to special teams, which is not always a role that many are able to embrace. Blair is more vocal, but they both bring juice to practice everyday and do everything at the highest level possible. Awesome people on and off the field that I think would be great role models for anyone to look up to. 

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

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

In the playoffs of the 2018 season, I suffered a right shoulder dislocation that took me out of the game in the third quarter. The next week, my left shoulder did the same; however, I was able to finish that game on the field. I finished the season in the semifinals against NDSU where my shoulder braces kept everything together. I had both shoulders repaired in the following offseason. The pain of playing through the injuries was immense but I managed to overcome it. The pain of not being able to play and grind with my brothers on the field and the weight room hit me even harder, and it knocked me off my feet. I kept grinding regardless of how I felt, and I managed to play a few games and redshirt in the 2019 season. I think it is a huge testament to my hard work and dedication because some guys fall off and don’t return after those injuries. I returned and now I am even stronger and faster than I was before the injuries. 

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

Becoming a Division 1 athlete. There were a lot of people that said I could never do it but here I am, a starter for one of the most elite offenses in FCS football. It took an insane amount of work to get the offer from SDSU and it has taken even more work to become the player and person I am today all while maintaining a 3.9 gpa. I have been grinding so much up to this point so I am very proud of myself, but I don’t plan on stopping here.

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

It was against NDSU in the 2018 semifinals. Our star QB Taryn had just gotten hurt for a play. That play, without one of the best players we had, we ran the ball and we broke a huge run that sparked the drive to result in a touchdown. The RG and I had an awesome combination on the frontside of an outside zone run. He got off to the LB and blocked him great, and I put my guy on the turf as well. It was a spark in a huge game and I think it proved that we could trust ourselves to play ball rather than hoping our all-stars make it happen.

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

Basketball. I have always loved the sport because of my dad and my older brother. The other sport I loved is throwing in track. Went out for the hell of it my senior year and I ended up winning state for shot put. It was something I really enjoyed and wish I would’ve participated in all four years of high school. 

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

I am a biochemistry major with an emphasis in pre-med. My minor is in biology. I also plan to graduate with honors college distinction. My dream job is to be a Doctor or physician. I think the human body is fascinating and I love to help people, so naturally I put the two together. My brother is a family practice doctor so he has been a large source of my inspiration. The dream right now is to be a small-town family doctor and coach high school football on the side. 

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

Technique, strength, footwork, and acceleration. I have always believed that the more athletic you are as an O-lineman, the more useful you are. It helps to be strong, but I think quickness and explosiveness are invaluable when it comes to blocking. 

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

My favorite former athlete is Tim Tebow because of everything he stood for as a Christian athlete and how hard he worked. I have been a Kansas City Chiefs fan all my life. I try to model my game after Jason Kelce. He’s just a super athletic and explosive center so that’s who I try to emulate on the field.

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

In my spare time I usually spend time doing whatever with my Fiancee. Other than that, I am currently reading some books written by Jocko Willink. I also love to cook. I love cooking italian food as well as grilling any cut of meat. I also play video games in my free time. I guess a secret talent of mine is that I can play the piano as well as the trombone. Haven’t played much of either since high school, but that would be my “secret talent.”

Why do you play football?

In general, I think that football is the greatest team sport out there. Ten guys could do a great job out there, but if one dude screws up the whole team fails. Talent can definitely make a difference, but it is ultimately the sum of the whole team that determines how they do and not a few select players. Personally, I love football and the opportunities it gives me. The opportunities to better myself as a man so that I am set up to be the best husband and father I can be later in my life. Most importantly, I love the opportunities to give back. I love playing with the local kids that look up to you, and I think the greatest thing about football is the opportunity to impact others and give back to those that support you.

Who or what motivates you the most?

My family and my fiancee motivate me the most. Also, the hunger for success drives me as an athlete. I always like to think that if you are satisfied with your status then that is when you have lost the battle. So I try to keep the fire inside of me going for success.

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