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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: John Hugunin, LB, Drake University

John Hugunin is a fierce competitor with an never quit battery. The guy is relentless and was a dog for Drake in the middle of the field
John Hugunin is a fierce competitor with an never quit battery. The guy is relentless and was a dog for Drake in the middle of the field

NFL Draft Diamonds and our staff have been bringing our readers Prospect Interviews over the past 2 years and this year we mixed up the questions and added some fun questions for our readers. We have tons of NFL staff that read our interviews, and we actually received several of the questions from NFL scouts we speak too. This gives them a little bit more information regarding your character. We hope to bring you more than 300 interviews of NFL Draft Prospects this season. You will be able to track them all on the front page of our website in the banner.

What is your name? 

John Hugunin

What is your Height/Weight?

5’11” 235lbs

What is your position? 

Outside Linebacker

Where do you play college football? 

Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa

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

I was a community service captain at Drake, so I’ve done tons of awesome things in the community.  My favorite was probably working with Special Olympics Iowa to develop a football event and work with the kids on different football skills.  It was so cool to see their faces light up when they learned something during the event.

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

General Physics – not even close. It was also the last class I needed to pass to graduate. Talk about pressure

Where are you from?

Oswego, IL – a suburb about an hour southwest of Chicago

 Who is your role model, and why?

Easily my dad.  He’s been a self employed general contractor for 30 years and supports a family of 6.  Not many people could do that.  He’s shown me time and time again how constant hard work is necessary to make it in this world.

Did you play any other sports growing up? 

Primarily football and baseball.  I was a catcher in baseball and actually almost had a tryout with the Tampa Bay Rays of the MLB.  I was already at Drake when the offer arose

Did you play any other positions in football? 

I’ve been a linebacker since I was 8 years old.  On offense I played RB,QB, and WR in high school.  I actually lined up at Fullback a time or two for Drake in college.

At your position, what separates you from others? 

My instincts for getting to the ball.  I’ve averaged 100 tackles per year.  I diagnose plays extremely fast and always put myself in position to make a play.  

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

For the offensive line, I look for stance differences on run and pass plays (some guys will change their stance accordingly).  I also look at what moves they struggle with when run and pass blocking.  For running backs I look for alignment differences for run and pass plays.  Some guys may cheat to give themselves an extra half step on a certain play.  I also look for how they pass block (if they like to cut block, or stay up high) and adjust my pass rush moves accordingly.  Overall, I look at certain situations to see if there is a certain play they like to run (3rd & short, 3rd & long, etc.)  Im a film junkie who logs at least 15+ hours per week watching and breaking down film.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced? 

Probably David Johnson from Northern Iowa (now plays with the Arizona Cardinals and is tearing it up).  He is just a complete football player – big, strong, fast, athletic. The 1st series of the game I tackled him in the backfield. After that he just went off for like 3 touchdowns though.

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

Derrick Brooks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a little undersized, but made up for it with aggressiveness, instincts, and speed.

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

There’s been a few, but the one I’m overcoming right now is people saying a slightly undersized linebacker from a small Division 1 school can’t play professional football.  Everyday I’m overcoming that and proving more people wrong. 

Do you have any pre-game rituals? 

I go out to the 42 yardline and do the same stretches while listening to the same playlist. Right before I go onto the field I listen to a few Ray Lewis speeches.  I also have a lucky shirt that I have worn every game since I was a freshman in high school.

What is your biggest strength? 

My leadership abilities.  I received captain votes after just one season in college, so I just wasn’t a leader as an upperclassman.  I believe I am very genuine with people and can better those around me with my words and actions.  I am one of only a few 2 time captains in Drake’s history, which stretches back to 1881. 

John HuguninWhat is your biggest weakness? 

Probably wanting to do a lot of things at one time.  Being a team leader all my life I have always been pulled in a lot of directions and sometimes I have a hard time telling people no.

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

Nothing has ever been given to me, so I have earned the chance to be here and lead your team to a championship.

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

Mike Alstott, Fullback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

My grandma who passed away in 2007, and my 2 great grandpas who both served in WWII.  

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

A new Toyota 4Runner.  I had one with 275,000 miles on it, but then it died.  So I currently drive a mini van and am looking to change that ASAP.

Rapid Answers:

  • Tupac or Biggie? 
  • NFL Network or ESPN? 
  • Pizza or Burgers? DEEP DISH PIZZA
  • Dogs or Cats?

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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