NFL DraftProspect Interviews

2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Aleksander Kocaqi, TE, Western Connecticut State University

Aleksander Kocaqi the tough TE from Western Connecticut State University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Aleksander Kocaqi
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 240
  • Position: TE/FB
  • College: Western Connecticut State University
  • Twitter: @alekskocaqi

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

•  My hometown is Rocky Hill, CT, it is a beautiful small town full of great people. I love most about it the opportunity it gave me and my family to prosper and my brother and I to get a great education and the ability to pursue my dream of playing football. Not many people from my town make it to the professional athletic level so it puts a chip on my shoulder and extra intrinsic motive to reach my dream.

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

•  I put Strength and Conditioning first, and my reason is because it is necessary to build a base and foundation as an athlete and it all starts with strength and conditioning. Film study comes next because football is mental and strategic as much if not more than it is physical, you need to study and know specifically, which takes us to the next step, what to practice. Practice you get to put the other two together but the first two are important to get done and taken care of so that you can even practice successfully.

What do you worry about, and why?

•  I try not to worry, worry goes hand in hand with fear and fear is not real to me it is created within a man’s mind, but the things i do worry about are my health and my future and regardless of the worries I do my part and everything I can in my control to make sure those are taken care of.

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

•  Last season, I remember going out for a pass and having not gotten many throws as the tight end I tensed up and did not run the proper route to lead me to the ball in time. So a few series later they actually call the same play and in my head I say “let’s do this”, and actually I end up redeeming myself and getting the longest reception and play of the game with a 60 yard catch and run. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

•  My work ethic and accountability which go hand in hand. All my teammates respect how much work I put in the weightroom, film study, and practice.. But also, how I admit my mistakes and hold myself accountable for my imperfections so that I can construct myself into a better player and person.

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

•  A lot of them are the players I have played with, but if I had to remember the best college football player I played against I would say Koree Reed from Hartwick, I just remember him getting 300+ receiving yards against us we could not stop it for a while.

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

•  Physical Therapist, I work as an Aide currently and I enjoy helping patients through their rehab exercises and watching them get better overtime.

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

•  I clean my room first, that is where I sleep and rest, it is my responsibility and key to have that done. Then I clean my desk, this is where my work is done, and it has to be clean and organized for me to critically think and set myself up for success. Lastly, I would clean my car, I use it daily as well and it gets me from place to place they are all key to life and need to be taken care of, for me I clean them in that order. 

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

•  This is really difficult to answer because regardless i would be hurt with my decision but it would be morally right to save three people vs one even though that person is my family they would want me to rescue the three other people because then three other families lose a member in comparison to one.

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

•  Iron Man, he is a genius and a physical specimen. He possess the combination of mind and body and his suit is nearly indestructible, I strive to be that way.

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

•  In high school, I had a terrible shoulder injury and a car accident that led me to cut my senior season short where I was a captain and my team needed me. At this time in life, everything in my life in all aspects began to fall apart and I became very depressed. I missed out on my freshman season in college to get surgery and my grades were terrible all year. I had a few wake up calls where I reminded myself who I was and where I came from the support system of family and coaches helped as well, and I began to rehab and train day and night until I reach my goals and became focused in the classroom as my grades began to rise after applying myself, this sparked hope and helped me regain the courage to build off it and continue on the path to success.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

•  In 5th grade on our Washington D.C. trip me and another top athlete in our grade arm wrestled on the dance night in front of our crush at the time and I ended up losing and dislocating my right elbow, it was definitely not my best moment. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

•  Last year we were 8-0 playing Framingham who was second to us, we were down 28-0, our whole team was low energy and full of quit, and after a couple years of tearing my heart out and beating us in the final seconds I was full of revenge and fire. Coach Loth called a play designed for me and i took full advantage finding a way to get open and catching the ball and taking it down the sideline for about 40 yards and giving my team some much needed life.

What song best describes your work ethic?

•  Till I Collapse-Eminem

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

•  My work ethic. Always has been and will be, I never was the most gifted although I woud say I am, but the main reason behind my success is my intrinsic motivation to outwork anyone and that is what I will ride to the top!

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

•  My Grandmother on my father’s side, she passed very early on in my life and never got the chance to watch me grow, and I would love for her to see what I have made of myself and hope she would be happy and proud of me.

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

•  Haha this is a funny question, but hmm probably, “ Happy Feet”. 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

•  Titans TE Delanie Walker, he is a beast and in my top 5 for sure even though he does not get that recognition. The man can block and DL/DE and catch like a WR, also he’s quite hard to bring down, full package player, I idolize that.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

•  Respected.  To me being respected is the greatest thing to be other than to be loved. Even Tom Brady is not liked by some, but I bet you he is respected, not everyone will like no matter what, earn respect.

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

•  Honestly it is Aaron Hernandez, it is just sad how he worked up to the top level from CT and blew it all away, he was one of my favorite players in the NFL and also on my favorite team, I really feel for him and the people directly affected.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

•  I love to win, actually I am obsessed with winning. I play the game to win, that is the only reason to pay is to go out there do your job to the best of your ability play after play, in order to come out on top in the fourth quarter when the clock hits 00:00. 

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

  • My parents. We migrated from Greece to the United States when I was 6 years old, and really started from the bottom, but the opportunity we had was worth it. My mom had to play both roles as my dad began to work 60+ hour weeks as a bus driver for CT transit, my mother worked too so I spent a lot of time alone after-school. My mother would throw the football with me, drive me and watch all of my practices and cheered the loudest for all of my games. I could not be here without them, and just thinking of them and how they made it here, just puts a chip on my shoulder to work harder and outperform anybody that lines up against me, They are undoubtedly my biggest influence.

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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