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2022 NFL Prospect Interview: E.J. Labaze, DE, Adams State

E.J. Labaze the star defensive end from Adams State recently sat down with Jimmy Williams of NFL Draft Diamonds.
  • Name: E.J. Labaze
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 255
  • Position: Defensive Lineman
  • College: Adams State University
  • Twitter: Coco_Smoove
  • Instagram: Cocoasmoove

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 up and down. I have seen the bad times in school, just as well as the good times. However, I am majoring in Media Communications hopefully with a minor in Kinesiology. I was included in the spring 2020 Vice President List for academics. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
I would say it’s accountable. I am always going to be where I am supposed to be on and off the field. Whether that’s on the field playing my gap and doing my responsibilities, or being on time for class and weights. However, you would have to ask them! 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I am playing anything a coach wants me to play. Whether that’s a stand up OLB/DE in a 3-4 or a DE in a 4-3. I also have experience and film playing inside. I am truly comfortable playing anywhere from a 9tech- 4i tech. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
I’ve played a lot of good offensive linemen, it would have to be either Josh Ball in high school that plays in the NFL now, Elliot Baker that went to Alabama, or Jean from my team 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
On the field, it would be Bryce Hampton or Tyreik Campbell, they can make plays from anywhere on the field. Off the field it would be Greg Carter, his drive for success on and off the field even in bad situations is incredible. They all impress me by their actions on and off the field. I love my teammates.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
I want to say 2020 was a struggle for all of us. However, I used Covid-19 to fuel the passion even more and make the vision clear. Dealing with coaching changes, class changes, mental health from peers rising and trying to balance it all, it definitely reveals a lot about yourself.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I would have probably taken track more seriously in high school, or I would have done baseball.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Starting my nonprofit is definitely my biggest accomplishment that I’m most proud of. It’s called Lives in Need Association, and it helps malnourished children around the world get food, water, and clothing. I think anytime you have a chance to give back to the youth or anyone in general that’s a blessing. 

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
I remember not playing too much my freshman year, and I got thrown in there midseason. It was a third down and the team did a screenplay that I read and stopped. It was memorable because that was the first time I realized that I can play at this level, and I also realized film does wonders for a player. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Carmelo was my favorite athlete growing up. I don’t really model my game after one player, but I do take bits and pieces from different players’ games in the league and in college and add it to my game. 

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I like a lot of artists. Drake has been one of my favorites for a while, but I bump Ace Lee, Rod Wave and Kodak Black a lot. I keep a good mix with the old school and new school. On Sundays, I play gospel while going to sleep. Any music that speaks about real life situations or struggles. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
Mac and Cheese. 

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
US by Jordan Peele has been one of my favorite movies recently. Walking Dead is an OG show for me as well

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I like learning about things that can help my future, whether that’s investing, real estate, or owning precious property. I like playing spades. That I could play all day.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play football for everyone close to me. My mother is a very sick lady, and everyday she still puts on a smile and moves forward with her day. Some days are harder than others, but that’s life. She has given me the motivation to move forward, and I use football to better myself. Through football, I can have the ability to accomplish a lot of things in life. I want to put my sisters and future families in a position to win in life with football.

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