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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Mackenzie Balanganayi, EDGE, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Mackenzie Balanganayi the solid pass rusher from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater recently sat down with Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
  • Name: Mackenzie Balanganayi
  • Position: Edge
  • College: Wisconsin Whitewater University 
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 240 lbs
  • Twitter: @MBalanganayi
  • Instagram: @xxmackmanxx
  1. How do you prepare for games?

Throughout the week before my game I spend about 30 minutes to an hour a day watching practice film on myself and game film of my opponent. On game day before kickoff I spend most of my time meditating or visualizing myself making big plays. It’s really important for me to not only prepare for success but to put myself in the best headspace possible during pregame.

2. What sets you apart from other edge rushers?

I would say my motor and preparation. I may not be the fastest, strongest or most skilled pass rusher but I do my very best to study my opponent and use the best moves in my arsenal depending on who I play. Although my moves aren’t the cleanest 100% of the time, I try and attack every opportunity I have to rush the quarterback at full speed.

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

I bring confidence and a poised energy to the football field. I find it important not to get over emotional at certain times during the game due to the fact that it can become a distraction if I don’t keep my emotions in check. I don’t like to trash talk and will hype my teammates up and celebrate when necessary.

4. What is your favorite coverage and why?

Cover 2. It really takes a fundamentally sound linebacking crew and secondary to truly master Cover 2. I feel like it also compliments a pass rusher very well.

5. What past or present NFL coach would you want to learn from the most and why?

Mike Tomlin. He’s been a coach of many great defenses and great pass rushers. The fact that he was able to turn James Harrison from an over looked undrafted player to a superstar always amazed me. I’m sure he could teach me a lot.

6. What is a moment in your football career that improved you as a football player?

My freshman year of high school I was invited to participate in the varsity football camp. I’ve only played for a year up to this point. In those three months of football, my knowledge of the game changed immensely. I was a completely different player and my improvement grew exponentially.

7. What should we know about Mackenzie Balanganayi the person?

I am someone you can always count on to do the right thing on and off the field. I like to think a big part of my game translates into who I am as a person. That is a coachable and accountable human being.

8. What are you looking forward to in your upcoming season?

I’m looking forward to leading this 2021 Warhawk team to success and that first game at the perk since November 2019.

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

Playing fast, confident and preparing well for your opponent.

10. How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?

I attack them both the same way. When ever I’m faced with a challenge I want to grind through it and find small victories within them until I overcome them entirely. It’s all about adversity management.

11. What do you love about the game of football?

I think what I love the most about it is you can line up against a guy that is bigger, stronger, and faster and still have the ability to dominate just out of pure toughness and perseverance.

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

  1. Focus
  2. Skill                      
  3. Footwork

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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