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2022 NFL Prospect Interview: Tenio Ayeni, WR, Holy Cross

Holy Cross wide receiver Tenio Ayeni is one of the best small school wide outs you have not heard from! He recently sat down with Jimmy Williams of Draft Diamonds.
  • Name: Tenio Ayeni
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Position: WR
  • College: College of the  Holy Cross 
  • Twitter: @AyeniTenio
  • Instagram: @tenioayeni

Tell us about your university/college. Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
My university is relatively small. A prestigious liberal arts college that prides itself on allowing their students to become the most well-rounded version of themselves that they can be. I participated in many things on campus, a few of my activities involved working in one of the many café’s on campus and participating in a club called MOCA. ‘Male of Color Athletes’ was a space where Moca’s could come together to carve out time and speak about on campus issues, meet mentors, and create activities for the student body to enjoy. 

How did you end up at Holy Cross?
The ability to further my education and athletic career at such a prestigious institution was an opportunity that was too perfect to pass up. I played high school ball in Texas and was approached by a Holy Cross coach who provided me a scholarship going into my senior year that I ended up taking a couple of days before signing day!  

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My teammates would say my best quality is my personality and leadership. 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team?
Regardless of whether I was playing or not, being in a position to lead and learn are extremely humbling positions to uphold on a team. So, being in the role to do my best to lead others while still learning from others is an ideal fit for where I see myself. 

What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
Any scheme that is given, I can see myself in. The position that suits me the best simply based on where my attention lies would be WR. Inside and outside. I believe I have a good amount of knowledge and experience to know how to play both positions. With not many physical reps but years of mental reps, I feel like my special teams knowledge suits my skill set to be able to contribute on special teams. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Ayir Asante. My work ethic has always pushed me and my goals so when it comes to feeding off of external motivation I usually don’t see myself needing it. However, Ayir’s ability to make me push myself harder than I would myself is something I am forever grateful for. Also, his speed is 4.3 and his ability to run routes at the consistent full speed is a trait he helped me develop in college. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Going into my senior season at Holy Cross, I ended up receiving a Grade 3 AC joint separation to my right shoulder that put me in recovery for 6 months. A recovered shoulder and a season later, I can look back and proudly say that I was a captain of the Holy Cross Crusaders who went on to set history in 2021 as a program. However, I wouldn’t have been in that position if I just let my injury consume me. It was the consistent push from my trainers, myself and my teammates that put me in the position to be able to overcome my situation.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
One of the proudest achievements of mine would be graduating from The College of the Holy Cross with my BA degree in Psychology and a Concentration in Africana Studies. 

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
The most or one of the most memorable moments of college would have to be my first touchdown. I believe it was a 54 yard Hail Mary, caught the rock on 3 DBs. One of the most exciting moments that I have had, being that it was my first touchdown. 

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I would go for Basketball. I would hone my 3-point shot and strive to be the next Steph Curry if anything. 

What was your major/minor? Other than football, what would be your dream job?
Majoring in Psychology with a Concentration in Africana Studies I learned a lot during my time in college.

What do you work on in the off-season?
Increasing my speed, while creating new variations to routes based off of different defensive techniques. As well as, improving my strength and my film study. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I have many favorite athletes because I feel what’s the point in taking one thing from one player when there are so many blue prints out there that can be put together in the journey of me making my own. I like to choose lots of things that lots of different guys may bring to the game of football, and then do my best to hone that to fit my style and my swag of play. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any secret talents?
I can run Xbox every now and then, but in college what we do with our spare time is only in relation to the strenuous schedule we had to follow. Therefore, I would say that HOPEFULLY in my new allowed spare time upon graduation I will be able to begin traveling to places I’ve always wanted to visit on mini-exploration/vacations. Just the ability to experience the world really entices me. 

Why do you play football?
I play because I love the sport, but also the game within the game is intoxicating. Being able to check, read, and pick at defenses is something that you begin to realize takes a lot more than your physical abilities and more if your mental strength. So the urge to really learn and play the game the respective way is something that I love to do. 

Who or what motivates you the most?
My family. My parents and my older sister have always guided me in the correct direction while providing me with the best examples to follow and for them I am forever grateful. 

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