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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: LJ Wesneski, TE, University at Albany

LJ Wesneski UAlbany
LJ Wesneski (86) the amazing tight end from the University at Albany recently sat down with Jonathan Joyce of NFL Draft Diamonds.

Student-Athlete Profile:

  • LJ Wesneski
  • University at Albany
  • TE
  • 6’3”
  • 230 LBS
  • Hometown: Forty Fort, PA
  • Twitter: @LJ_Wesneski

2019 Accolades & Statistics:

  • 2019 CAA Football Third Team Offense.
  • GP: 14
  • REC: 21
  • RCV YDS: 277
  • YDS/REC: 13.19
  • TD: 7
  • LG: 28
  • RCV YDS/Game: 19.79
via @CoachByham (Twitter)

How have you been staying busy, and sane, during the COVID-19 pandemic?

I have been working in the early mornings which has kept me busy. My semester ended last Thursday so school kept me busy as well, along with my workouts for football.

With things being shut down, what sort of ways have you been able to keep working out?

My gym here at home had an equipment signout before it was closed so I was able to get some dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebell, and some resistance bands. So I use those in my workouts, but I do a lot of body-weight exercises like pushouts and sit-ups, I also run.

via @UAlbanyFootball (Twitter)

The tight end position has become so important position in the NFL with guys like George Kittle and Travis Kelce really setting the bar at a high-level. Who are some guys at that position that you’ve really studied and tried to take things away from?

We as a tight end room just watched some Kittle film a couple of weeks ago and I really enjoy watching him play. He is just a hard-nosed guy who does not go down easily and that’s how I like to play. I keep fighting and do not let only one guy bring me down. I also am a huge fan of Tyler Eifert and Kyle Rudolph. I love watching those guys block and run routes. Everything is crisp and their footwork is solid, which is always something I watch and can implement into my own game.

You’re a former baseball and hockey athlete as well. What type of player were you in those sports?

In baseball, I played every position except for catcher. I mostly played first-base, shortstop, pitcher, and centerfield. In hockey, I started out as a defenseman but I always found myself skating up ice with the puck and being very involved with the offense scoring goals or getting assists that my coaches decided to move me to forward as the center. I also almost always played the body and was able to create a lot of turnovers for my team. Hockey helped me a lot with football because your legs are constantly moving and it translates over to my footwork with football. I always tried to make sure everyone was on the same page with plays that we were running and tried to execute everything exactly to help the team whatever way I could.

via @UAlbanyFootball (Twitter)

What’s the best lesson any coach ever taught you?

This may sound very plain and vanilla, but the best lesson I have learned is something my head coach, Coach Gattuso, and it’s to do your job. Meaning do not try and do too much. Each play, focus on what you have to do. Whether it is to block one certain defender or run one certain route. If you do your job and the other 10 players do theirs, then the play will run great. Don’t do too much because that is when you have miscommunication and everything just gets messed up. Do your job and trust that the guys around you will do theirs.

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

How would you describe your skill-set?

My skill set is always developing. A big focus that I have had in this offseason is my footwork while blocking. I am a solid blocker, but I know I can be a lot better with work on technique. My route running is solid and I have soft hands. I do not go down easy and one I catch the ball, I puncture and get upfield and will get as many yards as possible and I’ll choose to lower the shoulder before going out of bounds.

via @UAlbanyFootball (Twitter)

Who is the toughest player you’ve competed against during your collegiate career?

It’s honestly hard to name anyone specific. Every player I have gone up against is very good and what they do and are playing at this level for a reason.

Who is the best player in the NFL today?

I would say Aaron Donald. He is just an absolute beast and causes nothing but chaos for the offense. He is a player that doesn’t quit and you can build a team around him.

via @UAlbanyFootball (Twitter)

If your life was a book, what would the title be?

“Confidence is Key.” Throughout my whole life I have set goals for myself. I always thought that I am going to be the best at whatever I do and I took that mentality into earning starting positions in high school. Then I said I was going to play Division 1 football and I did. Now my goal is to make it to the next level in the NFL. No matter what people have told me, from when I was a kid until now, I always had faith in myself and my abilities and do not listen t any negativity. Have confidence in yourself is crucial, otherwise, you’ll just fade into whatever anyone else tells you. Besides me having confidence in myself and my abilities, my family was always there to push me and support me.

What advice would you give your younger self, knowing what you know now?

I would tell him to never be satisfied. Always want more. When I was receiving offers, I started to feel a small form of being content and that’s what I would tell myself to change. I would tell my younger self to never have that feeling. Never stop grinding. There is always more work to be done and more improvement to be made. You can always perfect your craft.

via @CAAFootball (Twitter)

If I’m in Albany on a Saturday night during the Fall, where is the one place I have to eat?

The Pump Station. It’s a little expensive, but the food there is amazing!

I’m an NFL GM, why should we draft LJ Wesneski?

I can bring a lot to the table. I know my playbook and understand what my steps need to be in order to execute each play and I know what the other player’s responsibilities are if they need help. I can move the chains and create space with my play. I play for the guys next to me and will do my job the best I can to not let my brothers down.

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