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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Ali Fayad, DE/LB, Western Michigan

Ali Fayad is one of the best pass rushers in all of college football at Western Michigan. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Ali Fayad
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 255 lbs.
  • Position: DE/LB
  • College: Western Michigan University
  • Twitter: @AFAYAD3
  • Instagram: afayad3

9 Career Forced Fumbles
19.5 Career Sacks
37.5 TFL Active Leader in the MAC

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?
My major is in Sports Management, and I have a minor in General Business. I’ve mostly stuck to football and classes. I have volunteered in the community with the football team giving food to a homeless shelter, and I’ve also read books to kids at the elementary schools around Kalamazoo.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My work ethic. I’m not much of a vocal leader, but I lead by example whether we are practicing on the field or in the weight room. My high motor helps uplift the team to perform our best.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
My role at Western Michigan is as a DE, captain and leader of our defense. As far as the NFL, I would be appreciative and open to any sort of role. I spent my first few years on special teams on kickoff and punt units. I’m an every down player that can be used as a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
My best competition had to be my first game as a freshman against USC. They were an all-around great team that was fast. That’s when they had Sam Darnold at QB and Austin Jackson at OT.

Nathan Rourke was one of the best QBs that I’ve played against in the MAC. He knew how to move in the pocket and make good decisions. He’s currently in the CFL playing for the BC Lions.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
One of the most impressive players that I’ve had the opportunity to watch is Dee Eskridge. He’s such an explosive player who’s dangerous in open space. He’s also a great team leader.

Jaylon Moore was a player that I matched up with in practice. He is a very strong and athletic tackle that helped me develop into the player that I am.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
My biggest setback was when I got hurt in the 2020 season. We were playing Toledo during week 2. During the 2nd quarter, I was being blocked on an outside zone play. I tried to push-pull and when I extended my foot and it resulted in me pulling my calf. I ended up with a strain in my left calf and missed 2 games. After sitting out, I still felt the effects of it, yet I continued to play on my injury until the season was over.

Before then, I didn’t know about the mental toll an injury takes on a player because I had never really been injured. I had to re-center myself and start from square one. I overcame my injury with more preparation and hydration. I adjusted my game so that I could still be a dominant player. Despite only playing 4 games, I still averaged more than a sack per game. After an offseason of treatment and rehab, I am primed to have another great season this upcoming fall.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball. It was the first sport that I played and fell in love with. I was a big Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant fan growing up. In high school, I only played my senior year. I mostly played when I was much younger. I decided to pursue football very early.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m very proud of the way that I turned out, being humble and respectful, displaying the good values that my parents instilled in me. Making my parents proud is my biggest achievement.

Some of my football accolades include being named a 2-time Second Team All-Conference as well as being named one of the Top 10 Edge Rushers in College Football by ESPN. I was also able to attend the VIrtual NFLPA Bowl this past January. Hopefully, we’ll be able to play that game next time around.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
One of my best moments happened in our game against Ball State in 2019. We were leading the game 35 to 31 with about a minute left on the clock. Ball State was trying to come back, but we shut them down. I had 3 QB hits in a row, which should have been sacks. I was up against Danny Pinter, who was drafted by the Colts. I went to the right the first 2 times and then followed that up with a straight speed to power move ending up with the QB in my lap.

Do you have a favorite athlete or a professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Kobe Bryant is my favorite all-time athlete. You can say that I’m a bit of a bandwagon NBA fan. I currently like the Mavericks with Luka Doncic being one of my favorite players to watch right now. As far as the NFL, my favorite players to watch are Khalil Mack and Von Miller. I like studying Von Miller’s moves (his dip, spin, speed to power, and stab and recoil). Aldon Smith is a player that I’ve tried to model my game after. He had some good inside moves.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
My favorite music artist is Lil Wayne. Before games, I like to listen to a lot of rap and hip-hop like Lil Durk and NBA Youngboy.

What is your favorite comfort food?
My Mom’s spaghetti is my favorite comfort food.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
The Dark Knight with Christian Bale is my favorite movie series. The Family Guy is one of my favorite TV shows to watch.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I really like to go to the gym hard, workout and run. Other than that, I like to chill with my family and the dogs and maybe do a barbeque.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play the game because I am passionate about the sport. What motivates me the most is myself. I am self-motivated. I want to become the best version of myself and constantly push myself to the limit. Competition also motivates me. Seeing players get their opportunity makes me want to get better because I know I’m good at this game. My family also motivates me because I know that they are my biggest fans, and I want to make them proud.

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