2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Ifechukwu Onyemenam, LB, Wilfrid Laurier University
- Name: Ifechukwu (Ife) Onyemenam
- Position: Linebacker
- College: Wilfrid Laurier University
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 215
- Twitter: @i_onyemenam
- Instagram: @i_onyemenam
What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2023 NFL Draft?
I’m a student of the game. I am humble enough to admit that there are always new or different techniques to learn and implement. I believe it’s this trait that has allowed me to make it this far.
At what age were you first interested in the sport of football?
Growing up I was always involved in sports, but it wasn’t until I was 13 years old that I found my interest in football.
What is one thing that NFL teams should know about you?
One thing NFL teams should know about me is that they are looking at a hardworking and resilient person, whose hustle is never going to quit.
If you could donate to one cause in the world, what would it be?
I would donate to Autism Awareness. I have family that are affected by autism and if I could bring some awareness to their and others’ situation, and possibly make life easier on them, I would definitely do it.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
There is always someone else working to get where you are at; don’t let them catch up.
Who was your childhood hero?
My childhood hero would have to be my grandfather; he was a man of outstanding wit and character. Growing up there wasn’t a lot I thought he couldn’t do. I thought that if I could be half the man he was, I would be doing a service to all around me.
Who is the most underrated teammate in your locker room at your school?
It is really hard to name just one guy in our locker room; I feel we have a lot of dogs that don’t get the recognition they deserve. If I have to name one though, I would say Ryan Long is one of our most underrated players. He is a guy who works incredibly hard and never complains. Had an injury midseason and worked to come back, to help contribute. He also has incredible athleticism. Teams did not test him this year, so he did not get league-wide recognition; we know him to be a baller though.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who are all bark and no bite. I have always been a large proponent of your words should match your actions.
Overcoming adversity is what defines character, what was the hardest moment in your life to overcome?
During covid I had to deal with an injury and without proper access to gyms it was difficult to properly rehab it. For that reason, it stuck around much longer than it should typically be a hindrance. It was hard not being able to do some tasks that I once saw as being trivial. It taught me to have a greater appreciation for my health and the smaller things in life.
Tell me something about your school and why it is so special to you?
It’s one of the smaller schools in Ontario, for reference the main campus is roughly a block, but there is such a diversity in the characters you meet here. I have met people on every spectrum of race, ability, and political standing, yet I have been able to discuss and freely exchange opinions. I’d say this also extends to our locker room; we are arguably one of the most diverse groups of people in our league, but I would again argue that we are the tightest.
What is your favorite snack food?
My favorite snack food would have to be cereal. For whatever reason since I have been a kid I enjoyed having it.
What is the best part of football?
Personally, I’d have to say the physicality of the game is my favorite part. For most of the day I find I am confined to having to be the better person and not cause problems, but in football physicality is encouraged. It is the freedom to run through someone and not have to get in any sort of trouble for it.
If you could sell yourself in one sentence what would you say?
I am a relentless individual; when I set my mind to something, I am not going to stop until I have achieved that goal.
If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be?
I would say it is similar to that of Deion Jones. I believe that we have comparable measurables and that we share similar athletic ability. He is a very athletic sideline-to-sideline player, who you can drop into coverage just as easily as you trust his ability to stop the run.
If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d choose my grandfather, Nick Saban, and Sir Alex Fergusson. My grandfather because it would be nice to talk to him again and show him how far I’ve come. Nick Saban because I want to ask about how he has been able to lead people so magnificently for so long. I’d also want to try and learn from one of the best coaches. Lastly, Sir Alex Fergusson because I was once a fan of Manchester United and he was one the best managers in history, whilst being there.