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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Justin Zimmer, DL, Ferris State University

Ferris State DL Justin Zimmer is a physical specimen that has NFL teams talking
Ferris State DL Justin Zimmer is a physical specimen that has NFL teams talking

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?

Justin Zimmer

What is your Height/Weight?

 6’3″ 292LBS

What is your position?


Where do you play college football?

Ferris State University (MI)

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

Being in the education program I did observation hours at the local middle school last fall and got to help out with a bunch of the kids, many of whom were big Ferris football fans.

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

Business Law

Where are you from?

I am from Greenville, Michigan.  A small town about 45 minutes north of Grand Rapids.

Who is your role model, and why? 

My biggest role models have always been my parents.  They both instilled great values in me that they practice everyday.  They both work incredibly hard and show an immense amount of support in everything that me and my siblings do.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I played a lot of sports growing up.  I played basketball when I was little up until my junior year then I wrestled for the last two years of high school.  I played baseball my freshman year and then the last three years of high school I ran track. 

Did you play any other positions in football? 

In high school I played linebacker and tight end. Then at the end of my first year at Ferris I switched to defensive end.  Which I played all the way through last year, then in this off season I switched to primarily defensive tackle.

Justin Zimmer1At your position, what separates you from others?

I think with me switching from defensive end to now playing 3 tech I am more athletic than the average 3 tech and also I have better pass rush moves than most interior defensive lineman.

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

When I break down I usually look for any sort of tendencies that I will be able to pick up in a game.  So it might be a lineman’s splits, it might be how far offset the back it, it might be if they are always man to the back or vice versa.  Basically I look for anything that will help me narrow down what the play is before the snap.  If I can tell what play it is pre snap that gives me a huge advantage.  I also obviously look at how every lineman’s pass sets are.  Meaning whether they set deep or short, do they give up the inside move, do they show their hands early, are they susceptible to speed or bull rushes? Anything that will give me an advantage.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced? 

In my redshirt sophomore year and my first start ever we traveled to Fargo and played North Dakota State.  I played against Billy Turner who ended up being a 3rd round pick after the season.  I didn’t play bad, but it was definitely a reality check to start my career, and made me realize I had a lot to work on.

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

I don’t really know of any players that I can compare myself directly to, but two players I love watching play three tech are Gerald McCoy and Aaron Donald, because they’re both extremely quick and powerful at the same time

Do you have any pre-game rituals? 

Usually I go out to the field as soon as we get there and I’ll throw the ball around, kick some punts and field goals just for fun so I stay calm and don’t get to excited for the game.

As a small school football player what obstacles do you feel you have to overcome?

I feel like I have to prove to everyone that I can play with players who are from the bigger schools.

What is your biggest strength? 

I would say my versatility is my biggest strength.  I am able to play a number of different positions on the field.  So far this year I have had plays at nose guard, 3 technique, defensive end, and middle linebacker.

What is your biggest weakness? 

With switching to defensive tackle I would say my biggest weakness that I’ve been trying to work on is my recognition of down blocks and double teams. 

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

I would say that I am a player that is going to do exactly what a coach asks of me.  I will play any position or on any special teams unit and I will work as hard as possible to be the best player that I can be.

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

Growing up in Michigan I have been a Lions fan my whole life as painful as it has been at times, but a player I really liked watching play was Javon Kearse.

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

I think I would choose Barry Sanders, Shaq, and The Rock.

With your first NFL paycheck what would you buy?

I don’t think I’d do anything too drastic. I’d probably just take my family out to a nice dinner to celebrate.

Rapid Answers:

  • Spongebob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles?
  • Spongebob
  • Backstreet Boys or One Direction?
  • Neither, NYSNC tops both.
  • Lifetime Channel or HGTV?
  • HGTV
  • Waffles or Pancakes?
  • Waffles
  • Snakes or Spiders?
  • Spiders
  • Madden or Mario?
  • Mario

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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