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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Daniel Wittekind, OL, Gardner-Webb

Daniel Wittekind
Daniel Wittekind is a tough offensive lineman that has recently brought his talents to Gardner-Webb from Marist College. He recently told his story to NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Daniel Wittekind
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 315 lbs
  • Position: OL
  • College: Gardner-Webb University
  • Twitter: @dan_witte62
  • Instagram: dan_witte42

What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I graduated from Marist with a Communications degree with a concentration in Public Relations. At Gardner-Webb, I am currently working on getting my Masters in Business Administration. I did not participate in any clubs, but I did a number of community service events during my time in college. These activities included volunteering for the Special Olympics and also volunteering at the Dutchess Outreach food kitchen. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
I would say my toughness. It was nearly impossible to get me off the field during my time at Marist. I never missed a workout, practice or conditioning session during my time there. I live in the weight room and really take pride in being a tough player on the field.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
Being new to Gardner-Webb I am still trying to establish my role. Most of all, I just want to help my team get better in any way possible. I will play whatever position they ask me to and do anything these coaches want me to do. Right now, I am just keeping my head down and working really hard trying to make a great impression on my teammates and coaches.

I love playing center, but I can also play guard. I would say that I can fit in any scheme really. As an offensive lineman, something I pride myself in is being versatile and being open to learn new schemes and techniques. I love playing offensive line and really embrace being a tough and nasty player who is extremely physical. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Abdullah Anderson. He plays defensive line for the Chicago Bears now. I got to play against him twice when he was at Bucknell and he was a really great player.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
I am so new here, I am really impressed by everyone honestly. I really like the team camaraderie and how everyone comes ready to compete day in and day out. I have only been here a short time, but I have already learned so much from my teammates. At Marist, Grant Dixon impressed me the most. He was a great teammate and an even greater friend. No matter what the circumstances, he always had a positive attitude and attacked every practice, meeting or workout with extreme intensity. He was a dude you could always count on to just do the right thing for the team.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
My freshman year at Marist I started all 11 games at right guard. It was a struggle because it was my first taste at college football. I came from a small public school in New York, so I had never competed at a level with that much competition before. I definitely took my lumps and had to adjust to the size of the players and speed of the game quickly. While some would say I had a successful season, I am very critical of myself and wasn’t happy with how I played at all. At times I doubted myself, but I now look back on that time as a learning experience and am grateful for it. I really struggled in some games, but it helped me lay the foundation for the rest of my career. It taught me what I needed to improve on most and just made me want to be a better teammate. I definitely learned a lot about myself as a player and as a person during that season.

NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball. I love shooting around and playing pickup games. A couple of former teammates and myself were on an intramural team this past spring before the semester got cut short and it was a lot of fun. We lost in the semifinals, but basketball is something that is not only a great workout, but really gets my competitive juices flowing as well. I didn’t play football until high school and before that basketball was probably my favorite sport.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Graduating college. I take a lot of pride in my education, which is something that really led to my decision to pursue my masters. It was extremely hard at times, but I definitely am proud of what I achieved in the classroom. Earning my degree is something that I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life, even after my playing days are long over.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
Probably our overtime win against Davidson my junior year. We were down by 17 in the third quarter, but ended up winning 48-41 in overtime. It was really exciting and something I will never forget. Jon Kanda caught the game winner from Austin Day, and then the defense held them for the win on homecoming.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I am a diehard Yankees fan. A player I love and try to watch a lot of film on for football though is Quenton Nelson for the Colts. He, in my opinion, is the most dominant interior offensive lineman in the league.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I don’t have a favorite artist, I kind of listen to really anything. Before games I listen to a lot of Black Sabbath.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Pizza definitely. Main Street Pizza in my hometown is the best.

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?
My favorite movie is Goodfella’s. Joe Pesci is just the man. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I love to fish. During the summers in New York I fish almost everyday. If I am not lifting weights, training or working, chances are you can find me on a river or lake trying to catch some fish.

Who or what motivates you the most?
My parents motivate me the most. They have always given me the tools and driven me to be successful in anything I do. I will forever be grateful to them for the sacrifices they have made to help me get to where I am. They have never doubted me and support me in anything that I pursue.

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