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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Kene Okonkwo, DE, New Mexico

What is your name?

Kene Okonkwo

What is your Height/Weight?

6’3 280

What is your position?

Defensive End

Where do you play college football?

University of New Mexico

Football is about giving back, what is the coolest thing you have done off the field?

Me and a couple of my teammates went to the food bank in Albuquerque and we helped them package the foods and get them ready for delivery.

What was the hardest college class you ever had to take?

Financial management

Where are you from?

Mesquite Texas

Who is your role model, and why?

Elias and Rita Okonkwo my parents they have taught me everything I know and I am a spitting image of them and throughout the years they have both helped to shape me into the man I am today on and off the field. This is why I care my last name with tremendous pride because I know that I represent them in everything that I do.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I played basketball and soccer growing up.

Did you play any other positions in football?

I didn’t start playing football until my senior year of high school so my coach had me try and play multiple position such as inside linebacker, outside linebacker and tight end, but one day in practice he put me with the defensive line group where I really shined so it stuck.

At your position, what separates you from others?

I’ve only played the game of football for 5 years in in those year I have progressively gotten better when you look at my college career you can see that progression as well. I believe I have a lot upside in my game and possess the quickness, aggressiveness and hand speed that it takes to play the defensive end position.

When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?

I look at the stance, footwork, and the hands of the offensive lineman.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

Rashaad Penny was a great running back for San Diego State. He read his blocks really well and I had to make sure I had great gap integrity all game long.

If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be and why?

I really didn’t watch a lot of NFL football growing up I was more of a basketball guy so I never really had time to compare my game to anyone who played in the NFL I think my game comes from the coaches I’ve had during my 5 years playing football whether it was coach Eggen at New Mexico or Coach wade in high school the things they taught me are what you see in the way I play. I am a product of great coaching.

What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?

I fractured my ankle my sophomore year in college and I was heartbroken I ended up sitting out the entire season. I worked so hard during that offseason to get it back to how it was and now its stronger than it’s ever been. I believe that injury has made me the player I am today because It allowed me to appreciate the game a lot more and created a hunger inside of me.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I like to go out into the stadium home or away and just look around and absorb the moment because it’s a constant reminder of how lucky I am to play this game and how I must leave everything I got out on the field.

What is your biggest strength?

My biggest strength would have to be my ability to get to the ball and shed blockers. Every play I want to make sure that I am around the ball.

What is your biggest weakness?

Pass rushing as a player I know this is where I need to improve I believe that I am a good run stopper but I need to be able to be a better pass rusher as well.

If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?

I am a player who has only 5 years of football under his belt and I believe I have the upside to continue to play this game. The best is yet to come in my career I don’t think that I have hit my peak at all yet in my career and I am ready to continue to grow and learn.

Who was your favorite player and/or NFL team growing up?

My favorite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys and I have always been a big fan of Dez Bryant.

If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would you choose?

Kanye west, Malcolm X and Dave Chappelle

What will be the first big item you buy once you are in the NFL?

I’m not really a material guy but a loft apartment would be the first thing I bought.

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 nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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