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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jalen James, ILB, Benedictine College

Jalen James the hard hitting inside linebacker from Benedictine College recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot. (Photo Credit: Benedictine Photos)
  • Name: Jalen James
  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 233 lbs.
  • Position: ILB
  • College: Benedictine College 
  • Twitter: @jboogie216_

What is the best restaurant in your hometown city? 

• I would have to say Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse. I like a lot of corner store or small carry out restaurants like Big Bites and B&M’s Chicken. 

When breaking down your film what will stick out? 

• My patience as an LB. It’s a stereotype for linebackers to always play fast but I don’t agree. You have to play fast when it’s time, but it’s more important to know game time scenario and how the opponent reacts. I have plays on my highlights where, if I had the “play fast” mentality, I wouldn’t have made the play. 

If you won the lotto, what is the first thing you would do with the money? 

• Pay my taxes, then sit down with a financial advisor to see how I could make a profit off that lottery money. Of course family members would get a piece broken off for them, but I would be looking to set up ways where I can create generational wealth for both sides of my family.

What has been your biggest failure? 

• Being afraid to fail at times, on and off the field. I have to become more comfortable with something not working out. I think I’m a perfectionist, and at times, that can lead to my downfall.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• A quiet leader, silent assassin. When it’s time to play, very vocal. Extremely passionate about the game and his craft. Very intelligent and knowledgeable about the game. Knows where everyone is supposed to be. Knows how to communicate with everyone on team, can relate to all players. 

Who is the hardest working teammate on your team?

• I have a few that come to mind. Gio Burk, Dante Edwards, Rayshon Mills, Carter Howes. Can’t pick just one unfortunately. 

Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?

• Growing up, my family use to call me J-Pooh. I grew out of that though. I picked up “J-Boog” in high school, and later just “Boog”.

What is your degree in, if you do not make it as a football player, what is your dream job? 

• I just graduated this December with a major in Criminology, and a minor in Mass Communications. Dream job would be eventually working for an federal law enforcement agency. Need more black males in this field.

What is your coolest life moment? 

• Getting married. Having a wife and being able to start a family soon is a pretty cool thing. Not too many my age would agree but it’s whatever. I’m ready to start a family. 

What song would you sing at Karaoke night? 

• Any song on the Drip or Down 2 album by Gunna. Outstanding album, gets a lot of playtime in my car and headphones. 

If you could pick any actor to play you in a movie, who are you picking? 

• A young Derek Luke, and not because of Friday Night Lights. Great actor and kind of resembles me before I had long hair. 

Who is your favorite football team? 

• Cleveland Browns of course. Hometown hero. 

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

• “Keep calm, flammable explosive when agitated and motivated. 

What is your biggest fear? 

• Not being able to take care of myself in the long run. I don’t want to rely on anyone but myself when the dust settles. 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Eric Kendricks. Should have my accolades based on his play. Outstanding linebacker, plays calm and smart. Very strategic with his movements, and at the same time, plays freely. 

Take us through game day, How do you prepare? 

• Wake up maybe 45 min before I need to be at the stadium or bus. Converse with my now-wife, shower then make my morning smoothie. Pretty quiet throughout the house until I get in the car. I throw my headphones in while driving to stadium and they don’t come off until it’s time for pre-game meetings. I’m quiet, not too serious, just minding my business; getting my drip right for the game. Text my parents, brothers and important close family. Cut communication off after and locked in until it’s time to go on the field. Game time.

Do you have any hobbies? 

• Other than hooping/shooting around a ball on my spare time, I honestly don’t. Now that I’m done with school, I can definitely start picking up on things that really interest me. 

If you had to compare yourself to someone in the NFL, who would that be? 

• Prime Brian Bosworth/ a non-blitzing Jerome Baker. When both are playing at 4 yard depth, reading and reacting, my game could be compared to theirs. Very patient, physical but intelligent about the game. Accumulate a lot of TFL’s and can control the game at anytime. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

• Definitely my dad. I’m a younger image of him. Born leader, hardworking man who drive on taking care of his family. I could go on and on. 

What motivates you to work hard?

• The genuine love of the game. I’ve already surpassed any expectation I’ve had for myself when it comes to football. Everything else is just a testament to what I created because of my hard work. I love the game and love being around it, more than any thing other than family. Even if I didn’t have the opportunity to play professionally, I don’t see myself away from the game of football. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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