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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Curtis Blackwell, OG, Ball State

Curtis Blackwell Ball State 2022 NFL Draft
Curtis Blackwell is a mauler and a leader on the Ball State offensive line. 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 obtained a degree in Business Administration. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.73 GPA. I have had an internship on campus working with our facilities department managing construction projects. I’ve also been a member of Athletes in Action which is a Christian organization on campus. We meet a couple times a week, and I have taken a leadership role with them leading some devotionals on occasion.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say that I am trustworthy, reliable and dependable whether that be on the field or off the field. I get my job done on the field and help lead the guys up front. Off the field, I’ve made good relationships with my teammates such that they can approach me for other needs.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I’m comfortable with a leadership role. I’ve been part of the Leadership Council for a few years now and the leader of my position group. With my experience up front, it’s easier for me to pick things up and communicate with my teammates. I’ve been a starter for 3 and a half years going into the 2021 season. I’ve played right guard for the majority of my starts. I also filled in at the right tackle spot when I needed to in 2020. I think my combination of size and athleticism allows me to block in a variety of different schemes.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
I had a chance to play against Drue Tranquill in 2018 when he was at Notre Dame. He’s got great athleticism. He’s a hybrid guy that has the ability to cover and also make plays in the box.

In our conference, I’ve played against some good players like Doug Costin who’s currently with the Jaguars and Malcolm Koonce who was recently drafted to the Raiders.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
A huge shout out to Danny Pinter who is one of my best friends. He was drafted by the Colts in 2020. He was the guy that showed me the ropes when I first came to Ball State. Caleb Huntley was also a great teammate and dynamic offensive weapon. Justin Hall is one of the freakiest athletes that I’ve ever seen. He’s got great speed and the ability to make people miss.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
In 2017, it was my freshman year, and we had a lot of injuries. It was a grueling year where a lot of young freshmen got thrown into the fire so to speak. We finished that year with a 2-10 record. It was a hard season to be a part of for all the players. It was an unfortunate circumstance, but it gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal. I was getting beat by players that were a lot more experienced. I spent a lot of time studying film and getting better. The team had to be patient and see how all of our work was going to pay off. We knew that we were capable of getting things done. We just needed some time to gain some experience. That ultimately led to a conference championship in 2020.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I played basketball my first couple years of high school. Yet, the sport that I excelled at other than football was as a thrower in track & field. I threw the shot put and discus and went to state 3 times. Some of my personal bests include 54’10.5” shot put and 159’2” in the discus.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I am most proud of graduating with academic honors. College is not easy, and there’s a lot of work that goes into that. I’m also very proud of how our team was able to work our way from being a 2-10 team to winning the MAC Championship. I’m more proud of our team accomplishments than anything that I’ve done individually.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
One of my favorite plays was when Justin Hall caught a screen pass in the MAC West Championship against Western Michigan. It took the ball and blazed down the field for a 60 yard play. I was on the other side of the field, and I ran all the way down the field to celebrate with him.

Another moment that sticks out is our locker room after our MAC Championship win. We were the underdogs against Buffalo and no one expected us to win. It was just great to soak it all in and see all of our hard work finally pay off.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
One of my favorite players that I’ve enjoyed keeping track of is JJ Watt. Not only is he a great player, but he conducts himself very well off the field and is a great role model.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I like country music, and I want to be comfortable before a game. So, I usually listen to someone like Toby Keith. His song “Made in America” is one that I might listen to before a game.

What is your favorite comfort food?
One of my favorite treats is ice cream. I like going to Mancino’s Sweet Shop and getting either Moose Tracks or Caramel Cheesecake ice cream.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
One of the TV shows that I’ve enjoyed watching is Gray’s Anatomy. I also like shows about the outdoors like Alaska: The Last Frontier. My favorite movie is Saving Private Ryan.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I’m an outdoorsman. I like fishing. One of my favorite things to do is have a campfire and just hang out with my friends and family.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I’ve loved the sport of football ever since I started playing in the 5th grade. I’ve always loved the physical nature of the game.

My team motivates me the most. I love playing with them and doing the best that I can to get our goals accomplished. My family is also a huge reason I play this game. They’ve been with me the entire way taking me to camps and coming to every game. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me, so I play my heart out for them.

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