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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jack McDaniels, QB, West Alabama

Jack McDaniels is the field general at quarterback for the University of West Alabama. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name:  Jack McDaniels
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 220
  • Position: QB
  • College: University of West Alabama
  • Twitter: @JackMcDaniels10

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?
I recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration at West Alabama. I started my college career at Delaware State, and my major at the time was in Sports Management. I took coaching classes because I want to hopefully get into coaching one day. I plan to pursue a General Business MBA this Spring. I have also participated in Honor Society and FCA.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My leadership. I’m vocal and have a good knowledge of the game. I’ve played in 3 different systems with 3 different coordinators. I take pride in knowing all the assignments and how we can attack defenses.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
My role is being a good facilitator. I’m essentially the point guard of the football field. My job is to get the ball to my players in space or hand the ball off when the play calls for that. I’m the field general that has to make sure to get the right play in and make necessary adjustments along the way.

As far as a scheme, I’m very adaptable. I’ve been under center and I have played in a spread option R.P.O. kind of system. I think what’s unique about me is that I can be a pure drop-back passer which is becoming rare in today’s game.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
During my time at Delaware State, I played against some excellent players. Some of the players that come to mind are great Florida State defenders like Derwin James and Josh Sweat.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
We have a stacked lineup with a lot of returning starters on our team for next season. The player that impresses me the most is probably Derrick Underwood. He’s a very hard worker on and off the field and never complains. He’s hard to bring down and tackle, and I’m definitely happy that he does a great job in pass protection.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
I have moved around a lot in my life and that’s been a considerable struggle. My dad was an Air Force pilot, and we must have moved about 10-11 times before I got to college. I regularly had to adjust and establish myself. I moved around to places like Hawaii, Texas, and Virginia, and had to prove myself everywhere I went earning the starting job. That trend carried over into college a bit as I started my time at Delaware State and transferred to West Alabama. I’ve always taken these opportunities to grow as a person and player.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball or tennis. I played basketball growing up and still enjoy playing when I can. I was one of the hustle guys on the court. I play tennis with my family when I can. I never pursued it competitively, although I feel like I would have been decent if I had done so.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Being a 4 year starter and graduating with Honors is a high achievement for me. I was on the 2019 All Gulf South Conference Academic Fall Team. There’s a lot on your plate as a starting QB and you have to manage that commitment and pressure. And I believe I’ve done a good job with it.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
In 2019, we were at Florida Tech and our offense wasn’t going as well as we had liked. There weren’t a lot of points on the board and we were down 10-3  in the 4th quarter. We converted on a 4th down with a pass to Qua Boyd. Later in that drive Qua was able to come down with a one-handed catch and got the touchdown to tie the game. We won that game with a game winning field goal from our kicker Tre Jackson.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Having moved around a lot my life, I never fell in love with one team fan base. Some of my favorite QBs are guys like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. I guess you can compare my game to players like Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff who typically live in the pocket but can escape on long runs when needed.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I like listening to guys like Drake and Future. Occasionally I’ll mix it up with something from guys like AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Well, I was born in Italy, and even though I was about 2 when I left, I absolutely love Italian food. My mom makes those dishes pretty good. My personal favorite is chicken parm.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite TV shows are The Office and Game of Thrones. I like comedy movies with guys like Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan. Some of the movies I like are 21 Jump Street and SuperBad.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
If I’m not studying football or watching film, I like to hang out with my friends and family playing games or watching TV.

Who or what motivates you the most?
I’m obsessed with improvement and trying to get better. I look back at where I was and I’m always trying to learn new things. Another thing that motivates me is that I don’t want to let my teammates and family down. 

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