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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Dion Novil, DT, North Texas

Dion Novil was a team captain on the North Texas defensive line and First Team All-Conference USA Selection in 2020. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.

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 graduated with a degree in Integrative Studies and specified in Business, Kinesiology and Communication. I also minored in Management.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
The younger guys would say my leadership and how I hold them accountable showing them what’s expected of them. The older guys would say that I am very reliable. You can count on me for anything. I take pride in getting my job done.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I’m one of the leaders on the team. I was a member of the team’s leadership council for 2 years and I was named team captain for the 2020 season. I’m not afraid to hold my teammates accountable. Yet, I am mostly a lead by example kind of player. My coaches and teammates see that I work hard and know that I strive for perfection.

I’ve been the nose guard for the past 2 seasons. I’ve also played some DE. I came in as a nose as a sophomore when a player got hurt, and I’ve been there ever since. I mainly play in a 3-man front.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
UTSA has a good center in Ahofitu Maka. He is strong and good on his feet.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Jaelen Darden is an amazing athlete. We came in at the same time, and I’ve really seen his hard work pay off. He comes to work every day, and you’re able to see the fruits of his labor. He’s going to make a great NFL player.

One of the unsung guys on our defense is Caleb Colvin. He’s a selfless player who always comes to work. He will free up holes to where other players can make plays.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Growing up I lived in a single parent home. My mom had to worry with 6 kids. She did her best, and I know it wasn’t easy. There were times where we had to sleep with no electricity or water. My mom epitomized what it meant to be a hard worker, and she tried to best so that those things didn’t happen too often.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball was my first sport and I was very good at it. I was an All-State player my sophomore year, and I made District MVP in my sophomore and junior seasons. I first started playing football as a freshman in high school, and after I stopped growing, I knew that I had to start focusing on football.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m very proud of sticking through what I had set forth in high school. I set a goal my junior year of high school that I was going to get a D1 scholarship. North Texas was the one FBS offer that I received, and I was happy with it. I was named to the All-Academic Team in our conference  in 2020 after having a 4.0 GPA. Graduating with honors is something that I’m proud of. This season, I was also named First Team All-Conference, and I was also named All-Conference as a junior from Pro Football Focus.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
One of my best games was in 2019 where I had 11 total tackles against UAB. This season, I had a great game against Rice where I had 8 total tackles, a sack and 2 forced fumbles. One of those forced fumbles was where I had been double teamed, and they had a TE in the backfield that came and tried to cutblock me. I was able to avoid him and cause the fumble tackling the RB. The 2nd forced fumble happened on an outside zone play by the offense. The QB pitched it to the RB. The center left me to pick up the LB. The RB came near me and I smashed into him causing the fumble. We recovered that one for a turnover.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Some of my favorite players to watch are Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox and Ndamukong Suh. They are such a destructive force on the defense.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Kendrick Lamar and Lil Wayne are some of my favorite music artists.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Mac & Cheese is my comfort food.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
Ozark and Breaking Bad are two of my favorite TV shows. My favorite actors are Kevin Hart and Denzel Washington

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
When I’m not thinking about football and working out, I’ll play some video games like Call of Duty, Madden, 2K and Mortal Kombat. I also like trying new recipes.

Who or what motivates you the most?
My family, specifically my mom. I hope that one day I’ll be able to bring home that NFL check and give her her heart’s desires.

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