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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Trysten McDonald, LB, Slippery Rock University

Trysten McDonald the playmaking linebacker from Slippery Rock University recently sat down with Justin Berendzen of NFL Draft Diamonds
Trysten McDonald the playmaking linebacker from Slippery Rock University recently sat down with Justin Berendzen of NFL Draft Diamonds

1.What are your favorite things about playing football for Slippery Rock?

It would have to be the brotherhood that we have here. This team is a part of my family now. The family aspect added with the determination and dedication we put in every day is outmatched. The atmosphere we play in every week is something you look for in a college and slip never fails to impress. I love the family and the atmosphere the people at the rock give and bring.

2. What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

Ever since I watched my first NFL game when I was probably 4 years old, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I was watching the Cowboys play and loved seeing them make plays in front of millions of people. I loved the thought of that feeling and knew that’s what I wanted and played football every since then starting at 4 years old.

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

Football is like my outlet to relieve any stress or anger in my life. Off the field I’m the most friendly dude you’ll ever meet but once I step between the lines I turn into a beast. The rock defense was perfect because its foundation was built on that mentality. When you step on the field it’s me vs you and I refuse to lose. I’ll be the loudest on the field, whether it’s making plays or hyping my boys up around me and watching them make their plays. I’d say my energy matches that of an alpha but my whole team is made of alphas.

4.How do you prepare for games?

Always have to start off with a good meal in the morning. After that I usually meet with a few of the other linebackers and watch Hudl, go over calls, and make sure we are all on the same page overall so we can be the most effective players once we are out there. Once I get to the stadium I usually play some music and tune everything out till game time.

5. If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

Honestly I’d probably say Luke Kuechly because when you watch him on film he calls the offenses play out before hand. He always knows what’s coming which made him one of the best. At linebacker, you have to be talented of course but you also have to be one of the smartest guys on the field. Luke has done just that, he’s someone who will come straight down hill and hit you but he’s also the same guy who can line everyone up, know exactly where everyone needs to be and call out the offenses play presnap. The knowledge I would get from him would be so beneficial to better my craft and my ability on the field.

6. What should we know about Trysten McDonald the person?

I’d have to say that I’m a huge family person, I value family over everything.  I’m extremely dedicated to whatever it is I’m doing at the time. I don’t like leaving a job unfinished or not putting 110% into the job. Everything I do is to be the absolute best. I’ve faced a ton of adversity but was still able to be a first-generation graduate as well as a collegiate athlete. I’m honestly one of the nicest people you meet. I love wearing my Slippery Rock football shirts around the country and having people come up to me and tell me how they know about Slippery Rock even though we are kinda in the middle of nowhere. I love having fun and enjoying myself but when it comes down to doing business I attack it at 100 mph and give nothing but my absolute best but still always looking to improve.

7. What are your favorite moments from your football life?

Some of my favorite moments would probably be the progression we made as a team through my college career. My freshman year we went 8-3 with pretty much a whole entire freshman defense the next year we won the PSAC west and made a run to the regional championship in playoffs. I unfortunately got hurt the following season which kept me out of the run into the playoffs in 2019 but the things we did as a team was crazy. We finished the season as the best team in rock history, won the PSAC, and made it to the semifinals in the playoffs. The next football memory I love is this off season training. Watching my teammates grow, get better, faster, stronger all for the sole purpose of the fact that we have a chance to win it all this year with this team. So the PSAC west game and PSAC championship game is probably 2 of my top 3 favorite moments. But my all time favorite moment was my freshman year when coach Razzano, our d-coordinator called me out in front of the entire defense and told me as a freshman that I would be starting week 1 for the defense. The amount of trust him and the players had for me was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.

8. What are you looking forward to in the rest of the season?

One of my main focuses is being a top 5 defense. We have been working towards this goal since my sophomore year and it’s something that’s very obtainable with the defense we have this year. With the people we have on offense too, Henry, Jermaine, CQ, we have all the parts to win every game this year. I’m looking forward to winning the PSAC and making a run to win the natty.

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

I love the adrenaline rush you get from the fans and people around you. But I also love watching me and my boys going out there and showing everyone the work we put in and watching it pay off. I also like seeing the excitement the youth teams get when they see us running on the field and playing because we are inspiring them to be right where we are in a few years. And since I play defense I love hitting people.

10. What would a team get in a player like you?

Everything they are looking for they would find in me. Obviously, everybody would say that but watch how I practice it shows it all.  A team would get a leader, an intelligent and team player, and someone who is 100% all-in for this sport and knows what it takes to be great. Like I said everyone sees how players play in the game but my practice is like a game to me. I play fast, confident, and with no hesitation because of the preparation, I take throughout the week. A team would get a player who knows how to win! I treat this as a job and a team would get everything they are looking for in me.

11. What is your favorite workout?

Anything and everything. I’m constantly in the gym or on the field. The program we have at Slippery Rock is the best it’s ever been. I’m the fastest and strongest I’ve ever been based off the workouts we’ve been doing. We add things like earthquakes bars to help target muscles that don’t normally get hit and more. On the field, I love doing bag drills to work on lateral movement and footwork speed as well as the shock rip and tear machine to work on getting off blocks and things that help translate into the game.

12. What sets you apart from other linebackers?

I’d say my knowledge and speed. I focus on every little detail so that my team can be put in the best scenario to win. My ability to learn and apply corrections or take coaching and apply it next play is something you can’t really teach. And my quickness allows me to downhill before a blocker can cut me off or make a play across the field in order to give our defense another opportunity to stop the offense. Most linebackers have one or the other but to be set apart from the others you have to have both.

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 [email protected]

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