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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech

Zech McPhearson Texas Tech 2021 NFL Draft
Zech McPhearson is a solid all-around corner for Texas Tech. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Zech McPhearson
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 196
  • Position: CB
  • College: Texas Tech University
  • Twitter: @ZMcphearson
  • Instagram: zmac8

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?
Out of high school, I went to Penn State. I graduated from there in 3 years with a degree in Labor and Employment Relations. I then transferred to Texas Tech to obtain my master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Management, Marketing, and Education.

I’ve also participated in several community service projects. While at Penn State, I took part in THON which is a student-run philanthropy group. It’s actually one of the largest in the country. We did things such as fundraisers like Lift for Life. At Texas Tech, I volunteered my time at the children’s hospital. With my involvement in the community, I was nominated to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch list 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say that I’m a good locker room guy and teammate. Guys like my leadership and how I carry myself. I was named a team captain. I like being able to help my teammates both on and off the field.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I know that the quickest way to get on the field is on special teams which was my main responsibility during my time at Penn State. Throughout my career, I’ve been on almost all special teams units. I’ve covered the gunner and well as run down on kickoffs. I’ve been a big contributor on special teams. I blocked 3 field goals in 2019, but was only credited with 2.

As I transitioned to Texas Tech, I was the more experienced player and I came in with the opportunity to lead. Not only was I still a big impact on special teams, but I was also a consistent starter, playing every game and snap during my time here.

I know it’s cliche, but I see myself as a solid all-around defensive back. During my career, I’ve been very flexible playing press, off man, zone, boundary, field and even slot corner. I take pride in my techniques and how I use them in every facet of the game.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Being in the Big 12, you need to be on your toes with some of the most dynamic offenses in the country. Jalen Hurts is probably the most athletic player that I’ve had to play against. He’s very smart and instinctive. He just has a competitive edge about him that helps him make good plays.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
One of the players that transferred in this past season from LSU was Eric Monroe. He’s a good player with a true love for the game. He does everything right whether it be in workouts, film study or practice. He’ll be playing for the Red Raiders in the fall. So, definitely keep an eye out for him. I expect him to have a great year.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
One of the challenges that I had to endure was going through the transfer process. I knew that if done right, it could really work out, but I knew the process wasn’t that easy. I loved Penn State, and I had a great time there, but I felt the need to move on and play for a different program. It was a tough transition because it took me out of my comfort zone, further away from my family, isolated and near the desert. I had to establish myself as a starter and a team leader. It ultimately made me a better player and person, and I really appreciate the Texas Tech staff for giving me the opportunity.

Off the field, one of the biggest struggles of my life was getting over the loss of my grandfather. He was the cornerstone of my family. He left a huge legacy. His loss helped me understand what life is and how to appreciate and be thankful for the opportunities that are given.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Baseball was my first love. What some people don’t know is that I was originally committed to play both football and baseball at Penn State. What made me focus on football was my high school coach. He brought me out for a practice and saw that I had potential. I was still on the fence at the time, and he ended up calling my dad. He told him how much he wanted me to play, and that I could play both sports if I wanted to.

I have a very athletic family with both my dad and brother playing in the NFL. I eventually decided that I was going to pursue football and carry on that legacy.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of graduating early at Penn State in 3 years and getting my masters at Texas Tech. Some of my accolades in football include being named 2020 PFF 3rd Team All American as well as 2020 First Team All-Big 12.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
This past season against Baylor I had a great play. It was 3rd down and the receiver took an over route. I was able to get the PBU and help force the team to punt. When our offense got the ball, they were able to march down the field and kick the game winning field goal.

I also had a good highlight in our West Virginia game. I was able to get the fumble recovery and help our team take the lead.

My best moment of the field had to be when I was on special teams with my brother Josh when I was at Penn State. We were playing in Maryland’s stadium, and a lot of our family was in the stands. Josh made a play and caused a fumble, and I was able to get the recovery. It was great to be able to share that moment together.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I was a Ravens fan growing up in Columbia, Maryland. One of the most overlooked corners in the league has to be Joe Haden. We have a similar body type, and I like to watch him play. He’s a savvy, smart player with great instincts. It’s been able to sustain a long career and make a lot of great plays.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
My favorite artist is Future. If I listen to music before a game, it’s usually to calm me down. So, I’ll listen to artists like Sabrina Claudio and Alina Baraz.

What is your favorite comfort food?
My dad makes a great steak. I like that with some asparagus and mashed potatoes as my comfort food.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
Denzel Washington is my favorite actor.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I’m very interested in cars. I actually picked up a job at a dealership while at Texas Tech. I also like to go fishing.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play because of the love that I have for the game. It’s not only fun, but it also teaches character and builds mental toughness. My family is what motivates me the most. I play so that one day when I have a family that I’ll be able to put them in the best position possible.

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