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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Will Ortner, OL, Central Washington University

Will Ortner
Will Ortner is a vocal leader of Central Washington’s offensive line. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Will Ortner
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 305 lbs
  • Position: OL
  • College: Central Washington University
  • Twitter: @WillOrtner
  • Instagram: willortner74

What is your major/minor? During your collegiate experience, have you participated in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I am a Broadcast Journalism major with a minor in Sports Management. I currently work as the Podcast Coordinator for 88.1 The Burg, a radio station on campus. During my time at 88.1 The Burg I have co-hosted 4 shows. At 88.1 The Burg I won three Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Awards (2019: Best Comedy Program, 2020: Best Spot News Coverage, and Best Video Sports Program). This year, I was also awarded The Robert Lowery Excellence in Student Broadcasting Award from CWU. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
Work ethic. My grandpa has always said that “you don’t get nothing for nothing” and I have taken that to heart. I have never missed a team activity and strive to get better in some way everyday. That can be mentally or physically, just as long as I am getting better, and I believe that my teammates recognize that.    

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
As one of the older and more experienced players on the team, I see myself as a leader, specifically the leader of the OL. I think it is my job to help encourage and show our younger players how to form a cohesive offensive line. I think that the beauty of my time here at CWU is that I have become a jack of all trades type player. I have quality snaps at both tackle positions, both guard positions, and even TE. I think that has allowed me to become a chameleon that can be successful wherever the team needs me to play most. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Austin Edwards from Ferris State. He had a great mixture of speed and power. You had to be on your “A” game all day or else he would expose you.

Throughout your career, which one of your teammates has impressed you the most?
James Moore or Billy Greer. James always took time to help me improve as a football player. Whether that was in the weight room, in the film room, or on the field, James always took an extra 30 minutes to make sure that I was fixing my mistakes. I also say Billy because he was constantly working on his craft to make sure that he was the best player he could possibly be. We used to workout every day in the summer together to make sure that we were at the top of our game during the season.    

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Back in high school, I was cut from my freshman basketball team. I was devastated and cried most of the night. The next day, a few of my friends forced me to go into the weight room. I began to realize that if I never wanted to experience that feeling again I had to work. Ever since then, I’ve found that my grandpa was right, and that I could achieve whatever I wanted if I worked hard. Getting cut made me the type of person that I am today.

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I would probably play golf. It’s a sport that I can play my whole life, it’s a sport that I can play with my whole family, and it requires a lot of practice to become a decent golfer. It can be a frustrating sport, but that’s what makes it fun.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I would say that my biggest accomplishment was to sign a scholarship to play college football. I am the first person in my family to get a scholarship to play a sport at this level. I work my tail off to achieve this goal. That’s probably why some would say I talk too much about it. I am very proud of this honor.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
The most memorable play for me came in one of the first games that I played in. It was my redshirt freshman year, and I was put into the game because of an injury. It was my first game with quality playing time and we mounted a huge comeback against Azusa Pacific. We were down by two points with only a few seconds left when we tried to kick a field goal for the win. Never in my life have I rooted myself into my position on a kick. I just remember creating a pile of CWU and APU players, then looking up from the top of the pile to see the kick squeak through as time expired. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I always love the home team so my favorite team is the Seattle Seahawks. I wouldn’t say that I model my game after anyone specifically. I like to take elements from all kinds of offensive linemen, in many different positions, to help improve my game. That being said, I have started to watch more and more Taylor Lewan film. I really enjoy his podcast and wanted to see what made him so successful. I have been trying to take some of the elements in his game that makes him successful and add them into my game.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I actually don’t have a favorite music artist. I just listen to whatever I am in the mood for. When it comes to games I’m the same way. One game, I will listen to Motley Crue and other 80’s hair bands, the next week I will listen to Kevin Gates and other rappers, and then the next week I might listen to country. No two pregame playlists are the same for me.

What is your favorite comfort food?
My mom is a very good cook. I would say I enjoy her homemade macaroni and cheese the best when it comes to comfort food. 

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?
My favorite movie is Miracle. I came from a hockey family and there isn’t a better underdog story than when we beat the CCCP in Lake Placid. Gives me chills to this day watching the movie.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In the summer, I spend most of my time away from football, golfing, or fishing. I’m not good at either, but it is nice to get outside. Other than that, I enjoy going to 88.1 The Burg and talking sports on the radio. I always have a great time, and I get paid doing something that I would do for free.  

Who or what motivates you the most?
My family motivates me the most. I would bet that I am one of the few players in the country that has both sets of grandparents and parents at every game no matter where we are playing. I have always had their full support, and I feel that means that I have to do everything in my power to be successful. I am also the oldest cousin, and I feel that means that I have to show my family’s next generation how to work for your goals. I want to be a role model for them. I wouldn’t be here without them.

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