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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Ivan Mertilus, DB, Los Angeles Valley College

Ivan Mertilus Los Angeles
Ivan Mertilus is a physical defensive back out of Los Angeles Valley College. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Ivan Mertilus
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 208
  • Position: Safety/ Nickel / Corner / DB
  • College: Los Angeles Valley College
  • Twitter: @ivanmertilus27
  • Instagram:@ivanmertilus

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
My experience as a student in the classroom has been a great tool for me as a young man because it helps me practice my leadership skills in groups that the classroom setting provides. I have acquired my Sociology Degree at Los Angeles Valley College while participating in The Black Scholars organization under Dr. Elliot Coney. I also received The Black Scholars of the Year Award. Another activity that I participated in was hosting Bible studies on campus for students who are willing.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My teammates say my best quality is my outstanding leadership skills and the motivation that I provide for them to aspire to be better than they already are. As a player on a football team I always want to bring the juice and the fire that the defense needs to keep fighting. Even if my back is against the wall and there’s no more options, I will still find a way to get the job done. 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
The role that I see myself playing on the team is a Safety/DB that can play 1 high when he needs to cover the deep balls on 2nd and 3rd Down but can also come down and Play Nickel whenever the team needs me to get a part of the action in the trenches because I like to hit people  

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
The best player I have ever played against in college is running back Khaleed Exum-Strong.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
The teammate that impressed me the most was Jamain Pink. He was a hardworking 6’5 320 monster Defensive tackle who unfortunately passed away last month on August 27th. Rest in Paradise my friend.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
A time in my life when I was able to overcome a struggle was when I moved 3,000 miles away from my Hometown in Revere, MA at 19 to go play California Juco Football. Growing up on the East Coast I would always hear about how the West Coast has the best DBs and Wide Receivers, so I wanted to challenge myself and made the decision shortly after high school to leave my hometown to go play in California. Playing California Juco football was a test of many obstacles that needed to be faced and overcome. It made me deal with situations and obstacles on my own for the first time in my life such as finding places to stay and missing meals. But I knew that in order to become a better man it is essential that obstacles come my way and to do the best in my power to solve them. I overcame my struggle and graduated with a Sociology Degree teaching me overall that suffering produces perseverance.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
If I didn’t play football, I would play Rugby because I like to tackle people 

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Something that I am most proud of is receiving The Black Scholars of the Year Award at my second year attending Los Angeles Valley College. It was my first academic award but it also reminded me that no matter what obstacles I face in life I will always try my best to dominate and continue to move forward.

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

One of the most memorable plays of my collegiate career is playing Safety in California, watching a screenplay develop and coming across the field to knock the runner on his back. I spent all week watching a film, So I made sure when I had an opportunity and a chance to make something happen, I wouldn’t miss it. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
The Boston Celtics are my favorite team because I live 10 minutes outside of Boston. The only player I model my game after is Ed Reed because he is a physical safety who can play man coverage and corner if he wanted to but also comes down and smacks people around while also being versatile enough to play special teams and block punts and kicks. 

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
My favorite music artist is J Cole because he’s humble and his lyrics humble those who listen. Before a game I listen to Ambition by Meek Mill.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Haitian Patties is my favorite comfort food

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?
Any movie with Chadwick Boseman. R.I.P.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time I read my Bible or I work out to clear my mind.

Who or what motivates you the most?
My Mother is my biggest motivation in Life because she has demonstrated what work ethic is and what it can do for you if you put your mind to something. She instilled it in me at a young age from watching her work so hard to provide for me on her own.

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