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2022 NFL Prospect Interview: L.B. Mack, OLB, Rhode Island

L.B. Mack is a very passionate team leader for Rhode Island’s defense. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: L.B. Mack
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 240 lbs.
  • Position: OLB
  • College: University of Rhode Island
  • Twitter: _BillyBadass7
  • Instagram: _BillyBadass_7

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 just graduated with a degree in Sociology with a focus in Criminal Justice. I also had a minor in Communications and Psychology. Since my freshman year, I have been involved with a weekly Bible Study. I’m also the co-founder of a non-profit organization called the Locked In Foundation. It not only specializes in the education of society’s issues, but also helps with community service events. We had an event this past fall where we held a coat drive to distribute to those in need in the surrounding neighborhoods, along with many others.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My leadership. I’m a team first player and very well-respected amongst my teammates. I’m very dependable and trustworthy. I lead by example with a good work ethic. I’m a vocal team player that’s very honest.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
For my first 3 years at URI, I played in a 4-3 base scheme as a DE. This past year, I’ve gotten bigger, faster and more agile and have since been moved to OLB. We now play a 3-4 base scheme under defensive coordinator Jack Cooper. I’m mostly used to rush the passer, although with this new scheme I am able to showcase my talents in the open field a bit more. Additionally, I’ve been active on special teams. My favorite is being on the punt block team although I also enjoy being a headhunter on kickoff. I had a great year on special teams in 2017 where I blocked 2 kicks in 3 weeks. People take it for granted, but I like being part of special teams because it contains a lot of game changing moments.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Two players that earned my respect over the years would be Timon Parris of Stony Brook and Jamil Demby of Maine. As offensive tackles, they were the type of guys that really pushed me to be the best. Parris has been around the NFL, playing for many different teams, and Demby currently plays for the Rams.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
I’ve had a lot of great teammates that have impressed me and influenced me over the years. I have to give credit to the offensive lineman that I practiced with throughout my career. Dino Boyd was a quick lineman that went on to the University of Cincinnati then to the league. Dave Steinmetz was a great competitor that went on to Purdue and is currently playing for the Washington Football Team. Kyle Murphy played every position on the line at URI, and was one of the main people who helped mold me into the player that I am today; he’s now with the Giants. Kevin Lawrence is another lineman that kept me honest. He’s now with the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Ever since being a freshman, I’ve occasionally been hit with a few stingers that I’ve mostly shaken off. Yet, my junior year, I got hit with one that made me miss a few games. After the season, I talked to the trainers because I felt that something was wrong.

After an MRI, we discovered that I had a herniated disk in my neck, along with arthritis and a stoppage in my spinal fluid. The first doctor I talked to said that my football career might be over. So, of course I saw another doctor to get a second opinion. He basically gave me the option of getting surgery that would give me the chance to play. There was still risk in the surgery, and I had to talk things over with my family.

After prayerful consideration, I decided to go through with the surgery. I knew that I was betting on myself. Knowing the struggle in front of me, I was determined to persevere. I never imagined not playing, and that helped motivate me. I was in a neck brace for a month after surgery and went to physical therapy every day. I was so unyielding in my efforts to get better that I kept in touch with my doctors as much as possible.

It was very upsetting to miss the 2019 season. We had just gotten new turf and uniforms. I had high expectations and couldn’t be on the field with my team. It was heartbreaking to be on the sidelines and watch our team lose when in my mind I felt that I could have changed the outcome. I knew that I couldn’t control the situation. So, I had to see it through. I had it in my mind that I wasn’t going to start something that I wouldn’t finish. I eventually got healthy and was determined to be the best teammate possible. God has given me another chance, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to play for the URI Rams.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I would play basketball or baseball. I played AAU basketball through my junior year of high school with Team Blaze and Rock Elite. I was a fairly good baseball player too. I wanted to play in high school, but it conflicted with my commitments. I had to decide on the sport that I truly love, which is football.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

I’m most proud of obtaining my college degree and getting this far in my life. I hope to set an example for my younger brother to follow.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
One of my favorite plays was getting a blocked kick at Albany. People don’t appreciate special teams as much as they should. All the little things matter, and I was able to pay attention to the details to make the proper steps and get the block.

My first college sack was very special. That was our rivalry game against Brown which is called the Governor’s Cup. I remember my teammate Jose Duncan was there to congratulate me on the play.

This past Spring season we had our first game against Villanova. We played them at their place, and they were a top 25 team at the time. That was a special game because it wasn’t just our first game since that pandemic, but it was also my first game back from injury. We were a huge underdog and not expected to win. We went into overtime, and I made a huge play on a screen to force a third and long. Shortly after we stormed their field with great joy and excitement.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I grew up a New York Giants fan. I admire a lot of greats in the NFL such as Aaron Donald, JJ Watt, Von Miller and Darius Leonard. Some of the guys that I model my game after are Joe Schobert, Dwight Freeney and Elvis Deumervil. All of them are a little smaller and underrated like me. Yet, they’ve proven to be great players in the league.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
My favorite artist is A Boogie who’s from New York. Before games I might listen to some NBA YoungBoy, or Lil Durk. I also like listening to “Places You’ll Go” by Major Nine before a game; it helps me remember how far I’ve come and what I don’t want to go back to. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
My comfort foods are seafood and chicken parm. One of the Italian places I like to eat is called Banchetto Feast. I also like to eat at Paula’s Soulfood Cafe in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
Some of my favorite actors include Will Smith, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler. A couple TV shows that I like are Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Wild N’ Out. My favorite movie is Friday with Love & Basketball at a close second.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time, I like to play pickup basketball with my friends. I also like to trade forex, sight see and could always go for some good ice cream. One of my talents is playing the trumpet. I played for several years when I was younger.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
The L.B. in my name stands for “Little Bill”. I play football for my Pops, Big Bill. He really loved football and was my biggest fan. He passed away just this March. I know that he wouldn’t want me to stop at my dream. There wouldn’t be a Little Bill without Big Bill, and I hope to make him proud.

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