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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Michael Hnatkowsky, QB, Muhlenberg College

Michael Hnatkowsky Muhlenberg.
Michael Hnatkowsky was the Centennial Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 throwing for 46 TDs and lead Muhlenberg to the Semi-Finals of the Division 3 Playoffs. He recently sat down with Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Michael Hnatkowsky
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 210 lbs
  • Position: QB
  • College: Muhlenberg College
  • Twitter: @mike_neeko

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

Muhlenberg College is a small liberal arts college in Allentown Pennsylvania. It’s only about 2,200 students and is a pretty tight knit community. Outside of football, I was part of the Muhlenberg Athletics Leadership Team.

How did you end up at Muhlenberg?

I ended up at Muhlenberg primarily due to its academic reputation as well as their football tradition. They have always been known to be very competitive in the Centennial Conference, and they take it very seriously in the season as well as the off-season. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My teammates would say my best quality is my work ethic. I enjoy putting in the work in the off-season as well as during the week in season. As a team we all work extremely hard as our success has shown but particularly when we are preparing for teams in season is what my teammates would say I take to another level.

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

I see myself as a leader on this team being voted twice to be a captain, my Junior and Senior years show that. We are a multiple type team when it comes to our offense. We exclusively play out of the shotgun, but we are balanced and very multiple when it comes to personnel and sets. For me, I believe a balanced scheme plays into my strengths with a solid running game. It allows us to use a lot of fakes to help with our protections as well as enabling plays down the field to develop. 

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

Danny Robinson from Mount Union.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

Frankie Feaster. He was a unanimous first team All-American last year who’s coming back for his 5th year option.

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

Coming into Muhlenberg my freshman year was a struggle. As a high school student athlete you feel you are on top of the world. When you get to college that changes fast. I was not used to putting many hours in for camp. While we were putting these hours in we found out a week before the season that I was going to be the backup. For the first time in my life not going to be playing right away. I felt that I let everyone else down. I realized that I had to continue to work and due to the hard work I was fortunate enough to play early that season and have played and started since week 4.

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

If you know me you know that I am from Philadelphia. I am from the northeast section of the city which is a middle class hardworking section of the city. This is what I would say I am most proud of. I love where I am from, and I believe this place has taught me so much on and off the football field. My biggest achievement was this past football season. Going into this season I was not in the top 10 in the conference in career touchdowns. Through the hard work we put in the summer we were able to have a ton of success, and by the end of the season I was able to break the touchdown record for our school as well as our conference. By the end of the season, I was able to say that for all rising seniors I have the most career touchdowns in all levels from D-1 to NAIA (98 total-90 passing & 8 rushing)

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

The most memorable play of my college career so far was my sophomore year in the sweet sixteen against Randolph-Macon. We were inside the 5 yard line about to score and the ball was snapped over my head. Running after the ball about 10-12 yards I grabbed it and saw that I had some time. I saw one of my guys breaking to the left side of the endzone and let it fly. He ended up making a big time catch and that essentially ended that game allowing us to go to the Elite 8 for the first time in college history.

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

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

I would have probably tried to play basketball if not for football I played four years of high school basketball and would have tried to pursue that at the next level.

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

I am a Business Administration Major with a concentration in Management. My dream job other than football would be a producer for an insurance broker or a financial advisor.

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

This off-season has been very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In saying this, I have been fortunate enough that I have access to weights. This off-season has really been about getting faster. I believe that if I am able to make more plays with my feet going into this year it allows our offense to have more success. 

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 Peyton Manning but my favorite team is the Philadelphia Eagles. I would not say there is anyone in particular I model my game after but I enjoy watching and hearing about Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, mostly in how they prepare in season for their opponents and their attention to detail with their training.

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

I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I usually get to spend lots of time with them at the Jersey shore in the summertime.

Why do you play football?

I genuinely play football because I love it. I enjoy being around guys that share the same passion on and off the field. I enjoy learning constantly about our week to week adjustments as well as our out of season adjustments. Lastly, I enjoy being around all walks of life. Not much is compared to a locker room when it comes to comradery and true friendships you form. 

Who or what motivates you the most?

My family particularly my father motivates me. He makes sure I understand that football is a game and that just as easily I could be working instead of playing the game I love. I also am motivated by my teammates. When culture and success is so important like it is at Muhlenberg we are pushed in every facet of our lives on and off the field. We compete in everything we do as football players and students in college.

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