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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Manny Lopez, LB, Coe College

Manny Lopez the standout linebacker from Coe College recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds scout Justin Berendzen.
Manny Lopez the standout linebacker from Coe College recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds scout Justin Berendzen.

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

One of my top favorite moments was my freshman year here at Coe, we went on the road to take on a ranked Central team and ended up winning the ball game. We were huge underdogs in that game and we came up huge to beat them on their home field and block them from making the playoffs.

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

The want to be great, focus, and trust. I feel like you have to want to be great every day in everything you do, whether it’s the weight room, film room, or practice field. Very rarely do you see “gamers” in the game of football, you have to work in order to be great. Focus comes along with that as well, focus during practice, film, and focus on your playbook that way when game time comes you’re ready to play at 100%. Trust is a huge one, gotta trust the guys next to you to make their plays, and everything will come together for you as a team!

What sets you apart from other linebackers?

I think my grittiness sets me apart from other linebackers. I’m not the typical size for a linebacker but I play with a chip on my shoulder that can’t be matched by most people. I take pride in my ability to play with a chip on my shoulder, people also feed off of that and it tends to start a spark that my teammates feed off of!

What are you looking to achieve as a football player going forward?

I have no set goals off the top of my head, but if the opportunity ever arises to play at the next level, I would do so. I’d just try to do anything a team needs from me, give it 100% and let things workout.

What should we know about Manny Lopez the person?

Manny Lopez as the person is a hard worker, has a very high motor, my work ethic is unmatched and my energy is a spark for other people and I love to win.

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

Football has always been one of my favorite sports, watching football growing up was amazing. It gave me a good feeling while watching it, so whenever I started playing football it was great. I loved every second of it. I made a goal to play football in college at any level, didn’t matter, I just wanted to play! So growing up watching football and the more I played, I just kept falling more and more in love with the game.

How are you planning to prepare for the draft?

Get bigger, faster, stronger, the next level has freak athletes and you have to be able to match their intensity and athleticism in order to be great!

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

I think it is important to sit down and talk to someone about any challenge that you are going through. Many of the challenges that I’ve gone through, I’ve talked out with people that are close to me. One of the people that I was closest to was our Defensive Coordinator, Cody Baethke. We talked about many challenges I had gone through in life and in football, so just talking to someone who is close is always helpful for me!

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

Ray Lewis, talk about someone who played with a unique level of intensity. I would sometimes watch his highlights before games! I’d love to be able to pick his brain and talk football with him. I’d also want to get tips and tricks whenever it comes to actually playing the middle linebacker spot, it would be a fun time to talk to one of the best to ever do it!

What would a team get in a player like you?

I am someone who works hard, plays with a chip on their shoulder and gives you their absolute all on and off the field. I’m a small school guy who will most likely get over looked but I am ready for the challenge and opportunity that comes with playing at the next level. That’s what a team would get in me.

What do you love about the game of football?

The game of football is a unique sport and it’s not about individuals. Everyone has to be on the same page in order to achieve the ultimate team goals. I love that about football, it doesn’t single anyone out or put one person on a higher pedestal than another. Also the friendships and brotherhood that comes with the game, you play your butt off so that everyone can feel the same level of greatness. My favorite quote that was told to us freshman year at coe was, “it’s not about the x’s and the o’s, it’s about the jimmys and the joes”.

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

I bring a high energy that my teammates feed off of. I like to set sparks that other people off of, that way we can all get hype and play with chips on our shoulders. It’s a fun time whenever everyone has the chip on their shoulders and are playing with high levels of energy.

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