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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: LuJuan Winningham, WR, Central Arkansas

 LuJuan Winningham 2022 nfl draft
Central Arkansas wide receiver LuJuan Winningham is one of the best small school wide receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft. He recently sat down with Jimmy Williams of NFL Draft Diamonds.
  • Name: LuJuan Winningham
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 200 lbs.
  • Position: WR
  • College: University of Central Arkansas
  • Twitter: LWinningham11
  • Instagram: winningham11

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 experience as a student has been interesting. I was an Accounting major, then I switched to Finance. A lot has changed since COVID with most classes being online. I miss being in a traditional classroom setting with a lot of people.

As far as other activities, I have volunteered in many aspects in the surrounding community. I’ve read books to kids in Elementary Schools and also helped with Little League Flag Football. I’ve also done work with local restaurants and the Salvation Army. Additionally, I have helped raise awareness of social issues such as Black Lives Matter.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My best quality is that I lead by example in everything I do whether as an athlete or outside of football. I take pride in being a man of character and doing things the right way.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I am the playmaker and go-to guy in our offense. I am the player that the team depends on when they need a big play whether it be in 3rd downs or in the red zone. Most people view me as a possession receiver who can take on double teams, yet I plan on being more diverse this upcoming year being in the slot and in motion. I’ve also played special teams as the gunner on punts, as well as blocking on the front line on kickoffs.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
McNeese State had a good corner in Darion Dunn who recently transferred to Texas. He’s a physical and aggressive player that earned my respect. He played man coverage more than anyone that I’ve played against. We had some good battles and were able to make plays against one another.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Robert Rochell is one of the best athletes that I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing to see how he has matured and molded himself into who he is today. It was great to see him fulfill his potential and get drafted by the Rams in the 4th round.

Tyler Hudson is the receiver that plays opposite me. He is so confident in his ability and has been impressive time and again. I look for him to have a breakout year this season.

Jack Short is another guy that I love having on our team at tight end. He loves the game of football and is one of the toughest players we have. I’ve seen him battle back from injuries and give it his all day in and day out.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
In 2019, we were playing against Sam Houston State. I remember catching the ball on an out route and going to stiff arm the defender. As one guy was grabbing my jersey, another player came in and put his helmet in the middle of my arm, breaking my humerus bone. We were running a hurry up, I jogged off the field knowing something was wrong. I was having a great year, and it obviously didn’t end the way that I wanted.

The recovery process came with good days and bad days. Being injured did give me a sense of perspective in that you have to realize that no matter how good you are, you can be taken away from the game in an instant. I appreciate the game more today and try not to take it for granted.

I was cleared to play in March of 2020 although that was also when the pandemic hit and everyone was forced into quarantine. There were no gyms for me to go to, yet I tried to stay motivated doing anything that I can like push ups and using resistance bands. I always had the goal to get back to where I was. I also had my mom in my corner who plays a huge part in my life. She was always there to help me in what I needed. She motivates me to be the best that I can be.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I would do track for sure. I love the sport and the environment where you see athletes perform at the highest level. I was fairly good back in high school. The 300m hurdles was my best event running a personal best of 37.6 seconds. I also ran the 400m in 47.2 seconds and did the high jump in 6 feet 6 inches.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of being mentioned as a First Team All American in 2019 which means a lot given that I didn’t have a full season due to injury. Coming back from my injury is something that I’m very proud of.

Describe some of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
We had a trick play against Western Kentucky where I ended up with an 80-yard touchdown. We did a RB option pass and were able to tie the game up late in the 4th quarter.

Another moment that comes to mind is our game against Northwestern. They have a receiver on their team that I practice with in the offseason, and I remember talking to him about how I was going to score on a route. Needless to say, I scored on a 30-yard fade route and found him on the sideline locking eyes with him. I called my shot and he knew it.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Usain Bolt is one of my favorite athletes of all-time. Terrell Owens is a player that I really admire. I really like the passion and competitiveness that he has for the game.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
My favorite artist right now is G Herbo. I’ve had the same playlist for a long time before games which include Chris Brown and Lil Wayne.

What is your favorite comfort food?
I love being able to eat spaghetti when I can.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
One of my favorite movies is Hocus Pocus. A Different World is an old school TV show that I like to watch. Gossip Girl is a recent TV show that I like.. Robert Downey Jr. is an actor that I like. I really like him as Iron Man.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time, if I’m not doing football or working out, I’m probably playing Madden or watching Netflix.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I originally started playing because my brothers played, and I wanted to do what they did. I really love the competition, and my brothers drove me to be the best that I could.
My mother was in the military growing up, and sometimes she was deployed. I always played my best because I knew that she was watching. I put on a show for her. I want her to be proud and have something to brag about.

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