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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Emmanuel Olenga, DL/LB, Tennessee State University

Emmanuel Olenga the pass rushing DL/LB from Tennessee State University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds
  • Name: Emmanuel Olenga
  • Height: 6’4 1/2
  • Weight: 260
  • Position: LB/ DE
  • College: Tennessee State University 
  • Twitter: @spacejam_v

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

• I was born in Africa DRC, but Charlotte NC has adopted me! It is home too me I love being in a big area where I can interact with a lot of people and build relationship. What I love most about Charlotte is that it’s a area where you can have fun but still be able to remain disciplined. Plus I’m a family men so kinda of a future home for myself. 

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

• I believe all of these things are important but I would put strength and conditioning at first because it’s a progression you can not go from step 1 to 5, you have to follow the progression. If you are strong and in shape it would be easier to go through practice and when you go through practice then you’ll be able to have film to watch yourself in order to get better. But I highly believe they are all important and correlate with one another.

1. Strength and Conditioning

2. Practice

3. Film

What do you worry about, and why?

• what I worry about most is not accomplishing my dreams I’ve put in so much work that I pray it comes to past, I want this dream so bad because I worry about my family I want to be able to first not only take care of myself but my family, having a father who was very successful and have a college education decided to abandon all his success and accomplish because he wanted his children to have a better life is the ultimate sacrifice for me and I just want to be able to look my parents in the eyes and say all that hard work and struggle wasn’t for nothing! 

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

• one example of failure I  reconcile with the most would probably be when I was in High School I remember people telling me I didn’t have the grades and I could not go to a Division I school, not having any offer going into my senior year I made the decision to work hard on and off the field and especially in the class room I was determined to prove everyone wrong. After the summer heading into my senior year I started getting offers from SEC and ACC schools I scored a 27 on my ACT which made me eligible to play D1 ball I remember that story because it thought me perseverance and never giving up a lesson that I have kept in my heart til this day. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• my teammates say I’m a guy who want to see everyone succeed, always trying to be the guy who is the first serve. I’m not bigger then the team and I do whatever possible to serve my teammate because in my own opinion I believe that characteristic is what builds a team. 

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

• the best players I’ve faced in college I would probably say, Lamar Jackson.

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

• if I could not play football I would be a news  anchor or someone who works for sport broadcasting. My longer term goal is to be able to be in position to help people who are in poverty and sorrow. Growing up in Africa I’ve see what real life looks like and that makes me humble and feel very fortunate. 

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

• my Room because I care too much about where I am leaving then my car because it would be something other people use that is mine which controls how I’m viewed and last probably would be the table but in reality the table would probably be inside the house so the table would get clean first. 

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

• this is a difficult answer because 3 lives is greater then 1 but me because who I am loyalty is everything I would selfishly choice my family even tho it isn’t right.

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

• I would be Lebron James because I love how he is a role model and how he carries himself, my goal is to meet him and learn some key tools I may use for the remainder of my life. 

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

• my biggest adversity in life is leaving NC State after a physical altercation, my whole thing was worried about how ppl would see me and view me. I wondered about how the coach would either speak negatively of me or how disappointed of a recruitment I was, my goal is to make a name for myself and show people I’m a good guy, and person I wanted to become the best version of myself, holding myself accountable and being truthful with myself at all time.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• I don’t know because I don’t get embarrassed, even if someone called me out or even bashed me I would try to hear them out and take what I can from it. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• when I intercepted the ball and ran it back 93 yards but my best moment would probably be the 4.5 sack game 

What song best describes your work ethic?

• lose yourself Eminem or I do this for my family motivation song 

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

• non physical, effort never defeats you but makes you a legend EFFORT! 

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

• my sister Gloria who pasted away in 2005 I believe if my sister was alive the mistake I’ve made in my life I would never have made them she kept me out of trouble and helped me stay on the right track but once she pasted I started hanging around the wrong crowd and took my anger out on the world. 

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

• Eas Up 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Bradley Chubb I know how special he is I’ve played with him nobody has any idea how great he will be.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• I would rather be respected because being liked by people sometimes send false signal but being respected everything you say would be respected and heard so earning someone respect is greater then earning someone like for you.

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

• aldon Smith because he style and body frame is similar to mines and he was such a great player, but I’ve learned from some of the mistakes and I try just not to repeat it.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?


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

•My Father has been the biggest influence in my life because,  my father was the Prime Minister in the democratic republic of the Congo but he chose to give that up so my siblings and I can have a better life what he has done I’m forever grateful for living in America my parents struggle to meet ends mean, my mother cannot work because she doesn’t have a documentation to do so and my father has to hustle having two jobs. I applaud him he’s my hero truly. 


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