NFL DraftProspect Interviews

NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: AJ Hotchkins, LB, UTEP

AJ Hotchkins the inside linebacker from the University of Texas El-Paso was a force in the middle of the field. He had a solid performance at the NFLPA Bowl as well!

• Name: AJ Hotchkins

•Height: 5’11

•Weight: 235

• Position: Inside Linebacker

•College: UTEP

• Twitter: arielhotchkins

  • Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

I’mfrom Portland Oregon. The thing I love most about it is we get 4 seasons ofweather. In some of the other places I’ve lived you only get to experience thesun which gets old after a while.

  • List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study,Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

I think it depends on how big and fast you are naturally, everyone is different. However, what personally helps me the most is practice, strength and conditioning, and film. All 3 are very important though.

  • What do you worry about, and why?

I worryabout not having money to provide for my family in the future because I thinkthe ultimate measure of any human being is what he/she can provide for theirfamilies. Growing up without money is tough but living the rest of my lifewithout enough money to live comfortably is what I worry about.

  • Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did youreact and how did you overcome failure?

I feellike a failed at the university of Oregon. At times I played well, and at timesI didn’t. I was injured for the majority of my career there and felt like I letnot only myself down but my family and friends down as well. This year at UTEPI was refocused, and played the way I was supposed to play. It was gratifyingand encouraging to be able to be available the whole year and not miss anygames.

  • What do your teammates say is your best quality?

ThatI’m a hard worker and set the example for how to work hard on the field, in theweight room, watching film etc.

  • Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

Christian McCaffery my JR year at Oregon.

  • What would your career be if you couldn’t play football? 

I’dwant to get into something that was competitive. I’d like to work with athletesso coaching or possibly being an agent.

  • Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

I’mcleaning my room first because that’s where everyday starts and finishes.

  • If there was a disaster and you could either save threestrangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

I’mgoing to save my family member because they’re my family and their lives aremore important in my world than the 3 strangers lives. I’d also hope they’d dothe same for me.

  • If you could be any television or movie character, who would yoube and why?

Thepunisher because he’s the baddest man on the planet.

  • Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’vedealt with or overcome it?

eing away from my mom and family my freshman year in junior college without much financial support. I was bouncing around staying with different teammates/coaches and missing meals throughout the season. After the season I worked at Popeye’s and Auto Zone while going to school full time, practicing, and working out. The biggest thing I focused on was the light at the end of the tunnel, schools were recruiting me and I knew I was going to have the opportunity to play at a high level very soon so I just kept my head down.

  • What is your most embarrassing moment?

Beingat home waiting to find out what school I was going to transfer too after mytrue senior year at Oregon. Being hurt and not knowing what was going to happenin the futurewas tough while being at home having people ask what your plans and stuff are.

  • What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

Thislast year we had a big goal line stop against UAB on 4th and a yardto go.

  • What song best describes your work ethic?

Patienceby YFN Lucci

  • What is the most important trait you can have (Physical orNon-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level? 

Themost important trait for me at the next level is going to be me beingcoachable. When a coach tells me to do something I’m not going to allow myselfto make the same mistake again.

  • If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day,who would it be and why?

Outsideof friends and family, I would say Tupac because I love his music and it’d beinteresting to hear his opinions on what goes on in today’s world.

  • If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it? 


  • Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

I thinkKJ Wright is the most underrated player in the NFL. He is a top linebacker inthe league and plays a huge role in the seahawks defense when healthy but is overshadowedby Bobby Wagner. I think Thomas Davis is another example of a player whodoesn’t get much media attention but is a really good player that isovershadowed by Kuechly.

  • Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

Respected,not everyone is going to like you but it is important for people to respectyou, especially as a leader.

  • What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues doyou feel for the most and why?

Iwouldn’t say I feel bad for anyone who has had their career derailed by off thefield issues, I do believe in second chances but its tough to say I feel badfor someone who is well aware of the decisions they’ve made.

  • Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

Love towin.

  • Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

Mydaughter has played a huge role in my life this past year, she is my why behindeverything I do.

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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