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Draft Breakdown

2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Zeandae Johnson, DL, University of California

Zeandae Johnson the high-motored defensive lineman from the University of California sat down with Justin Berendzen of Draft Diamonds.
  • Name: Zeandae Johnson
  • Position: DL
  • College: University of California 
  • Height: 6′ 3″
  • Weight: 270 lbs 
  • Twitter: @Zeandaej
  1. What sets you apart from other defensive linemen?

My ability to play in different schemes, high football IQ and high motor. My speed allows me to run things down as well.

2. What type of energy do you bring onto the football field?

Controlled aggression. I play passionate and I’m going to get in the mix but I don’t get lost in the moment. I’m passionate and observant. I know when and where to be based off of what it is I see and understand situations. I’m going to demolish blocks and be disruptive but I’m not going to be a blind dog in a meat house. I take study seriously and pour hours into it during prep. The passion is going to come from my love of playing the game. That’s been the same since I was a kid.

3. What are your favorite moments from your football life?

Favorite moments would have to be my first big hit in pop warner and the feeling I got after I hit him, earning a scholarship to my dream school, getting my first college sack during a critical point of the game and beating UW in 2019 after a storm delay late at night. 

4. If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

Ray Lewis! There’s this aura around him that I believe makes you a better player just by being in his presence. I still carry a pack of cards. He drops gems and there’s so much I’d like to pick his brain about. 

5. What is your favorite workout?

On the turf I like work with competition. Racing the hoops or 1v1s reps. Just something with competition. It could be anything as long as we’re competing.

In the weight room I like to get the music going and get a good upper body day. It’s therapeutic. Just you the music and the weights.

6. What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

I was born into it. Been playing since I was 5 and it’s always been a part of me. When they asked me to tell them where I saw myself in 10 years the only thing I knew about 10 years from now was that I was going to be playing football.

7. What do you think are the keys to success on the football field?

  1. Study tape in your “free time”.
  2. Trust your training. If you prepared properly you don’t have to think too much when you see something. You already did the thinking throughout the week so when you see it you can go and take the time diagnosing out of your reaction time.
  3. Plays that you can make, make them.
  4. Just keep playing. One snap and clear, good or bad. 

8. Rank focus,footwork and skill based on what is most important to you as a football player and explain why?

1)Focus 2)Skill 3)Footwork 
Focus is first because even if you have skill, if you’re not focused you can’t get the best out of anything you have. Skill follows because you need be skilled in order to execute and footwork falls under the skill umbrella for me.

9. What role do you hope to have if you make it into the NFL?

I’m looking to go in and be a contributor to my team in any facet.

10. What is your mindset when you are on the football field?

Dominate! Everybody else is just in the way.

11. What would a team get in a player like you?

A hard hat and lunchpail type of player who conducts himself like a pro.

12. What do you hope to accomplish if you make it into the NFL?

Become an impact player and build a legacy for my name.

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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