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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Mackenzie Balanganayi, DL, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Mackenzie Balanganayi
Wisconsin-Whitewater pass rusher Mackenzie Balanganayi recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen. Check it out!
  • Name: Mackenzie Balanganayi
  • Position: Defensive Lineman
  • College: Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Height: 6′ 2
  • Weight: 235 lbs 
  • Instagram: @XXMackManXX

1.What do you hope to accomplish if you make it into the NFL?

  • Well, first and foremost I want to be the best player I can be. I know wherever I end up I’ll start at the bottom of the food chain. But I hope to work my way up to being one of the best. I’m still a relatively new player to the game and I feel like I can learn so much more at the next level.  

2.What is your nickname or if you don’t have a nickname what would you make up as your nickname?

  • Well, people call me Mack so a nickname people often use is ”Mack Daddy”.

3.What is your mindset when you are on the football field?

  • My mindset is to go 100 mph every snap. I know that I’ll face opponents that are bigger, stronger, and faster some of the time. But I will always outwork them by going as fast as I can until the ref blows the whistle. 

4.What is your favorite workout?

  • Any type of bicep curl.

5. How has your experience as a Wisconsin Whitewater Warhawks player been?

  • It has surpassed my expectations so far. I came into the program very weary and unsure of what my role would be on the team. I was also anxious about the type of people I would meet on the squad. God willing everything worked out for the best. I’ve met some lifelong friends and I have improved immensely as a football player. 

6.If your life was a tv show what would you call it and why?

  • ”Surpassing Expectations” My father was born in a hut in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He came from nothing and all he ever dreamed of was to have a better life for his kids. He surpassed that expectation and brought us to the United States were we are living very fruitful lives. As his son, I’m going through a never-ending battle to do the same. That starts with going to the league. 

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

7.What do you do for fun?

  • When I’m not working out or doing other football related things. I am a big movie watcher. I have always been fascinated with the work that goes into making a film and how it can affect the mind. It’s like exploring a different world! 

8.What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

  • At first, it was more of a secondary sport to help me with my hand-eye coordination and speed for basketball. As time went by and the more things I learned about the sport, I fell in love with it. I also loved how it was a true team sport and how it takes a collective effort to succeed rather than a one-star player.

9.If you could live anywhere in the world where and why?

  • Los Angeles, CA. Other than the warm climate, It’s a beautiful city and a place full of opportunities.

10.What would a team get in a player like you? 

  • They’ll get someone who is committed. Someone that is willing to take on any role and do the job to the best of my ability. They will also get a natural-born leader and a teacher. 

11. If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

  • Tom Brady. Although he doesn’t play the same position I would love to know his overall mindset and how he approaches every practice, game, and work out. I’d also like to know how he overcomes all his doubters after getting drafted at #199.

12.What are your favorite moments from your football life?

  • Playing in the semifinal during my sophomore year at Whitewater. I had to fill in at DT (a position I never played before) on a pass rush package last minute due to a senior getting injured. I really enjoyed playing in a hostile environment and overcoming high-pressure moments. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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