2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Denaz Ross, DL, Texas Wesleyan University
- Name: Denaz Ross
- Position: Defensive Line
- College: Texas Wesleyan University
- Height: 6’4
- Weight: 280
- Twitter @RossDenaz
- Instagram: thatshim_91
What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2023 NFL Draft?
One thing that I feel makes me a prospect for the upcoming draft is my versatility and understanding what’s coming pre-snap.
At what age were you first interested in the sport of football?
I want to say I was around 12 or 13 but I didn’t start playing until college.
What is one thing that NFL teams should know about you?
One thing NFL teams should know about me is that I’m a work horse and adversity doesn’t break me, it makes me stronger. I learned to thrive in adversity in all aspects of my life.
If you could donate to one cause in the world, what would it be?
If I had one cause in the world that I would donate to, it would be youth development. I believe that giving the less fortunate a shot at different opportunities can enhance their lives significantly. This is done with the understanding that the youth is our future. What they are exposed to directly correlates with our efforts towards them as individuals. You never know who is going to do great things like cure cancer or end world hunger. They just need a chance.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever received was “nothing in this life is given, you have to earn what you want” and I’ve been a living testimony of that. I took /earned everything I wanted thus far.
Who was your childhood hero?
My childhood hero without a question is my mom. Watching her struggle every day and still providing my family without help or a handout gave me the strength I needed to tackle this thing we call life. She helped me understand that at any point in life, you control who you will become. No one else can do that for you. She exemplified positivity.
Who is the most underrated teammate in your locker room at your school?
The most underrated teammate in my locker room right now in my eyes is my linebacker Dylan Pettway. He is a true workhorse on and off the field. Even though he is undersized on paper, you would never seem to think so on the field. His play making ability is like no other for his size at his position at the NAIA level.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is hearing some smacking on their food.
Overcoming adversity is what defines character, what was the hardest moment in your life to overcome?
The hardest moment in my life I had to overcome was the death of my father. Growing up without a father figure is adversity in itself, which makes me appreciate the blessing of not becoming a statistic even more.
Tell me something about your school and why it is so special to you?
One thing that is special about my school is the coaching staff. This is a home and they make sure it feels like it. They are truly transformational coaches, as most of our conversations are more life based than football based. I do not feel that they have been transactional at all.
What is your favorite snack food?
My favorite snacks are cookies: chocolate chips or Oreos.
What is the best part of football?
The best part of football is the brotherhood and bonds you build with your teammates and coaches that last a lifetime.
If you could sell yourself in one sentence what would you say?
If I had to sell myself in one sentence I would probably say no one wants it more than me and I will outwork the best. For example, my advisor at Wesleyan calls me Lazarus. No matter the situation or the odds, I always find a way to make it work in my favor. My attitude is always keeping focused on the positive aspects of the situation and how it can build my character; making every day a good day for me.
If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be?
If I could compare myself to one player in the NFL would it be Chris Jones because he impacts a play whether he’s getting to the QB or batting passes down and even just creating turnovers when they are needed. He is a Dawg… but so am I.
If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be and why?
If I could have dinner with three people dead or alive, it would be my father first so we can talk about becoming a man in this society and how much hard you would have to work to be more than avenge. Second, it would be my cousin Will Smith, former DE for the New Orleans Saints. I would like to know how his journey was to get to the NFL and what steps did you take even while being overlooked at times to make his dreams into a reality. The last person would be my mom because I want to give her flowers while she’s still here and let her know how much I appreciate her unconditional love and support even when she had none.