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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Emmanuel Rugamba, DB, Miami (OH)

Emmanuel Rugamba Miami University CB
Emmanuel Rugamba is a versatile defender out of Miami University who’s been a dominant performer ever since transferring over from Iowa. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name:  Emmanuel Rugamba
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 193
  • Position: DB
  • College: Miami University (OH)
  • Twitter: @BooRadd_
  • Instagram: @booraddd

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 major is Sports Leadership and Management. I began playing at Iowa before I transferred. The transition was a little tough because the major was slightly different. Some of the other activities that I’ve participated in include intramural basketball, and flag football. I’ve also participated in organized protests with my teammates and peers.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My understanding of the game and helping other guys. When I came into Miami the coach asked me to help others understand the concepts. I think that shows the level of trust and responsibility they have with me and that I’m a mature player.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
My role at Miami is being the boundary and cover corner that can also come in and fit the run to take away the R.P.O.. I can also cover deep and play man-to-man. At the next level, I can see myself as an inside nickel corner or on the outside. I can be physical and fill the gaps playing gap defense. At Iowa, we had more of a 2 high look and more zone. I came in as a freshman playing nickel and 3rd down CB. At Miami, we tend to play single high and man-to-man with 4 down linemen. So, I’m versatile enough to move around in any scheme.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
The MAC has some great receivers in guys like Isaiah McKoy at Kent State and Antonio Nunn at Buffalo. Ball State has a good player in Yo’Heinz Tyler as well.

I’ve also seen some great RBs over the years in guys like Saquon Barkley and Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
We have a lot of talent on our defense with guys like Mike Brown, Sterling Weatherford and Kam Butler. Jack Sorensen has had a solid career at Miami. All those guys really work hard and it shows that they understand the game when they’re pointing things out and doing well in games.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Transferring is definitely a struggle. Taking that leap wasn’t easy. I think what hurt the most is that I had to sit a year because I transferred. That had been the first time I hadn’t played football since I started playing. It was unfortunate that I didn’t get a chance to play, but I learned a lot during that time. It allowed me to see things differently and really break down the game. After taking that time to study and prepare myself, I was able to help contribute to winning the MAC title in 2019. Everything had fallen into place. I just had to trust the process

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball. I played 3 years of basketball in high school. Football was more fun for me though. I liked the game preparation and enjoyed breaking things down

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of getting my degree for free. It’s huge getting that scholarship and not having to pay. My biggest achievement has to be not only winning the MAC Championship, but also being the defensive MVP of the game.

Some of my accolades include being named to the 2020 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. While at Iowa, I was named defensive player of the week for the Big Ten as well as the Next Man In Award. Of all my accolades, I think I like being named Miami’s Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year the most during my redshirt year. I had played receiver in high school.

Describe some of your most memorable moments of your collegiate career.
As a freshman at Iowa, we were at home  playing against Michigan who was highly ranked at the time. I remember ripping the ball away from the receiver and just starting to run. It was so loud and chaotic hearing the crowd.

Just this season, I had a pick against Western Michigan that was great, I had called the play out. I had watched a lot of film that week and studied their tendencies. They were coming out of their end zone and getting in a formation that they normally throw the ball deep. They made their double move and I picked the ball off with one hand.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I don’t really have any favorites, but Desmond King is a guy that I’ve followed ever since our time at Iowa. His understanding of the game really shows in his play recognition and how he makes great plays.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Meek Mill and Kodak Black are some of the artists that I listen to before a game.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Cajun Chicken Sandwiches from Gaslight in Oxford, Ohio

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite movie is the Dark Knight Rises (Bane was my favorite character in that movie). My favorite TV show is Game of Thrones.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I like to play basketball, watch movies and relax in my spare time. I’ll also occasionally play Call of Duty.

Who or what motivates you the most?
My family motivates me. Also, the people in my life that have moved on and had success at the highest level motivates me to push myself to the limit.

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