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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Kayode Awosika, OT, University at Buffalo

Kayode Awosika NFL Draft Buffalo Combine
Kayode Awosika has been a mauler on the offense line at Buffalo. 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 this past December. I majored in Business Administration with a Dual Concentration in Financial Analysis and Marketing.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say my leadership. I am able to relate to many different people. In order to impact people, you have to understand them, and I was able to get to know my teammates and what drove them to achieve their goals.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I’m a 2-time team captain and leader at Buffalo. I will pursue a leadership role at the professional level as well. I know there’s a bit of a learning curve having to learn a new system and playbook. Yet, in order to be a great leader, you need to be a great follower first.

I’m very versatile in what I bring to the table, being able to play guard and tackle on either side and potentially center. Despite us having a run heavy offense, I believe I can fit into any scheme. Teams have talked about my effectiveness as a run blocker. I’m strong enough for zone blocking schemes, as well as equipped to play in man and gap schemes. We’ve done a lot of zone, man, and gap schemes at Buffalo.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
I’ve played against a lot of great players in the MAC. Maxx Crosby is the first to come to mind. He’s currently playing for the Raiders. He was extremely technical. Sutton Smith was not only a quick outside rusher in our conference but he also led the nation in sacks in 2017.

I’ve also had some good out of conference opponents. I played against Yetur Gross Matos. He currently plays for the Panthers, but I competed against him while he was at Penn State. He’s a very long athlete with a quick first step. He’s more explosive than you think he’d be at his size.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Jaret Patterson is a great player, especially with how he proved it this year with some of the phenomenal games that he had. He’s very shifty with a low center of gravity which is how he breaks so many tackles. Malcom Koonce is a great edge rusher that’s gonna make an impact in the league. He is way more technical than you think. His technique is very natural, and he uses it very well. Kooce’s counterpart at edge rusher, Taylor Riggins is coming back for the 2021 season. I expect a huge breakout season for him. Mike Novitsky was graded by PFF as one of the top-rated centers in college football. He’s a student of the game who seems to be getting better and better.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
2018 was a great season. We had a couple sets of winning streaks and ended up winning 10 games total. Yet, after getting to the top of that mountain at the Conference Championship game we weren’t able to come out with a win. It was a devastating loss because we had a great team that year and expected to win. A lot of our players were seniors and moving on to the pros. We had to somehow regroup and refocus our efforts on the next season. It wasn’t that easy though because we had to find our identity. I was voted as a team captain for the 2019 season and played a pivotal role in helping our team focus on our goals and win several games.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball. I played up through my junior year of high school. We had a very good program with several players having scholarships to D1 schools.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
This past season I was named a FWAA Second Team All-American as well as First Team All-Conference. I had previously been named Second Team All-Conference in 2019 which helped me earn a spot on the Preseason Outland Trophy Watch List.

Despite all of my accolades, the one I am most proud of is being voted captain by my teammates for 2 seasons and being a 3-time offseason captain, which is a coach’s vote.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
Our 2018 game against Temple was very special. First, we were playing in Eagles’ Stadium which was pretty cool. The clock was winding down with minimal time left in the game. Anthony Johnson was the inside receiver. He went for the slant, caught the pass, broke a tackle, ran for like 20-30 yards, broke another tackle and dove in for the score. One of the factors that made that play special was that AJ had just found out that one of childhood friends was just killed. He poured his heart and soul out on the field. We won that game because of the effort that he put into that catch.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
My favorite athlete is Tyron Smith. He’s extremely athletic with fast feet. As I was transitioning from RT to LT, I watched a lot of his tape. While I was at RT, he was the player that helped me learn how to chop down a long arm. That really helped in my game.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I don’t really have a favorite, but some of my pump-up music includes guys like Pop Smoke, Drake and Rod Wave

What is your favorite comfort food?
My girlfriend makes a great BBQ pulled pork and mac & cheese.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My best movie experience was watching Marvel’s Avengers: End Game. The audience in the theater was very invested in the story and it felt great. That whole Avengers Saga is one of my favorites.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time, I like to play 2K. Something that not everybody knows about me is that I sang in choir in high school.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play football because it’s been my dream since I started playing in 3rd grade. My parents motivate me the most being that they came from Nigeria to America to give me a better life. Anytime I step on the field I am honoring them. I’m proud of where I’ve come from and who I am.

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