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Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Mike Reilly, DE, William & Mary

mike reillyEvery year, NFL Draft Diamonds brings our readers the best in depth interviews on the internet. We specialize in giving players an opportunity to showcase their talents on our website. We conducted interviews last year with over 300 plus players. We want you to enjoy our interviews, because when these young men are in the league, we will not be surprised, and neither should you. 

What is your name?

Michael Reilly

Where do you play college football?

The college of William & Mary

How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?

A few FBS schools, UConn, Rutgers, Pitt.  A lot of FCS schools, W&M, Richmond, New Hampshire, Stony Brook.

How did you choose your school?

I knew W&M could offer me the chance to play at the next level while at the same time giving me a great education.  I couldn’t find that combination anywhere else.  I also saw the success Sean Lissemore and Adrian Tracy had, two DL who were drafted from W&M the same year I was being recruited.

Where are you from?

I am from Old Tappan, New Jersey.  I attended Northern Valley Old Tappan high school.

Who is your role model, and why?

I have two major role models.  JJ Watt and my father.  Ever since JJ was drafted I was interested in his story.  Hes a hard working guy who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.  I definitely try to emulate him on and off the football field.  Second, my dad taught me about work ethic and how I would have to work for everything I wanted.

Have any scouts met with you yet, and if so what are they saying?

Scouts want to see if I can do drills on my feet and drop into coverage as a stand up backer or end.  They know I can pass rush very well, but the combination of the two would make me more valuable.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

Yes, I played basketball, baseball, and football growing up.  When I got into high school I played football and threw shot put, javelin and discus for our track and field team.

Did you play any other positions in football?

Yes, I also played tight end in high school on the offensive side of the ball.  When I was being recruited some schools were recruiting me as a tight end as well.

At your position, what separates you from others?

I play with great leverage, especially while rushing the passer.  I think I have a great combination of size, speed, get-off and strength.  However, above all I think I have more “want to”.  I don’t know how to quit on a play and will not accept being beaten.

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

While watching film I like to watch for all the offensive packages, if I feel like I can get a read on the specific alignments it can only help me.  On a more individual level, I watch the offensive tackles stance, pass set, and body position.  I also like to see if he is a one arm puncher in the pass or a two arm puncher.  I also like to see if I find any pre-snap tendencies.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

Terrence West, running back from Towson.  Very talented and a great competitor.

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

I feel like I compare to Paul Kruger on the Browns.  Both hard nosed players who can with with speed or power and we have similar body types.

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

Being told I couldn’t achieve what I wanted.  However I know that hard work can overcome a lot of obstacles.  If you don’t believe in yourself who else will?

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I love to put my headphones on and listen to music before games.  I’m not very social before a game, it helps me get in the zone.

What is your biggest strength?

My biggest strength is my determination.  I don’t know how to quit.  I never saw myself as the most talented player in the country, but I was going to make sure I was the hardest worker.

What is your biggest weakness?

Sometimes I push the envelope in terms of training, I’ve been know to sneak workouts in after our team workouts.  Sometimes recovery is more important.

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

I would tell you that you’re going to get a guy that eat, sleeps, and breaths football.  No matter the circumstances I will find a way to be successful.  Above all you’re getting a tough hard nosed guy who plays with passion.  I have a non-stop motor and am a total competitor in all aspects.

Who was your favorite player and NFL team growing up?

I was a huge New York Giants fan growing up.  Michael Strahan was my favorite player.

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

Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Mark Cuban.

Damond Talbot

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

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