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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jaylin James, WR, University of Northern Iowa

UNI wide receiver Jaylin James is a big time NFL prospect!
  • Name: Jaylin James
  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 205
  • Position: WR
  • College: University of Northern Iowa 
  • Twitter: Jaylin_James1

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

• I am from Des Moines, Iowa which is known as one of the best places to live in the United States. Des Moines isn’t the biggest and most eye-catching city but what I love about it, is the people, but most of all, to me it is home. Hopefully one day I can make my family and friends proud to say that we are from Des Moines and to put my city on the map.

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

• Film Study – Practice – Strength and Conditioning. I choose this order of importance because the first thing you have to do before you are able to play smart, hard, and fast on a field is to know what you’re doing and why. Film study helps you learn about yourself and your opponent all while critiquing your game and getting better and I pride myself in doing so. Second, practice is very important as well because the only way to get better at football is to practice football. You get out what you put in. Lastly, which is just as important would be strength and conditioning. Now although I put this last, it is still one of the most important pieces to becoming a great athlete. In order to beat your opponent, you have to play smart BUT if you physically cannot compete with your opponent, you will lose a majority of your matchups.

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about trying to be perfect sometimes. I think I worry about this because I care so much about my future and those around me that I would hate to ever let someone or myself down. This also helps me push myself harder everyday because I refuse to let myself fail. 

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

• One of my most significant failures was never really getting to know God until I got to college. I went to church with my family when I was younger but was never really a true Christian. Once I got to college, my teammate and best friend (Reece Fountain) introduced me to a great fellowship of guys and took me to Bible study. It took me awhile to fully commit my life to Christ and become a follower of Jesus but once I decided to be all in and understand my relationship with God, I overcame that failure of not knowing Him and now he is the main reason I do what I do. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• My teammates say my best quality is my work ethic. In my eyes, I have never let someone outwork me and I believe that my teammates and those around me appreciate how hard I work and recognize my hunger to be great.

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

• Jordan Brown. He played CB for SDSU. Jordan is a very fundamentally sound, athletic, and smart player. He followed me the whole game against SDSU my junior year and I just noticed lots of times I had to be on my P’s and Q’s and well prepared for whatever was thrown at me.

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

• I would like to run my own social media business. Bleacher Report, Barstool Sports, etc. are examples of companies that I would like to base my own company on. 

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

• I clean my room everyday. I have OCD when it comes to having a clean room so I make my bed, vacuum and wipe down my desk everyday.

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

• I would save my family member. My family means the most to me and I would give anything to save one of their lives in a heartbeat. 

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

• I would be Tony Stark (Iron Man). I am a big Marvel fan and think it would be amazing to live the life that Tony Stark does. He is a genius and although it seems like he just cares about himself, he would do anything to save the world, and he actually does. 

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

• My senior year of high school I broke my leg halfway through the football season. I thought it was the end of my chances to make it into a college to play football. Thankfully, UNI and Coach Farley saw potential in me and took a shot with letting me be a part of the team. Since that day I broke my leg, I have never taken an opportunity for granted because tomorrow is never promised and I believe if I put my mind to something, I can make it happen.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• I lost in a fight to my roommate my sophomore year. It was pretty demoralizing but we’re still best friends so it’s a good joke now. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• My RS freshman year, we were playing Southern Illinois and I believe it was the second quarter. I ran a post route deep downfield and my QB threw me the ball and I dove and made a one handed catch about 45 yards downfield. It was my first “big” play of my collegiate career and I will never forget it. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Nonstop – Drake

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

• Attention to detail. Being an outstanding athlete and having God-given talent is a blessing. But in order to enhance that blessing and become even more successful, attention to detail will help you better understand why you make specific actions and how they can help you have an edge in any scenario. 

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

• MLK Jr. I want to have a conversation with him and understand how he was so determined and dedicated so I could use his principles to help myself achieve my own dreams and goals. 

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

• “Jays” 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Keenan Allen. He is a top 3 WR in the league. His routes and ability to shift his body is unbelievable. If he could stay healthy for longer periods of time, he would have an outstanding career. 

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• I would rather be respected because when you respect someone, you are willing to listen and learn from them. Being respected doesn’t always mean you are liked but for most of the time, in order to respect someone, you have to like them even just a little.

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

• Colin Kaepernick. He stuck up for what he believes in and was pretty much “denied” to play in the NFL because of his own beliefs. With how much potential and talent he has, it is disappointing to see his football career go to waste because he stood up for what he felt was right.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I hate to lose. Losing makes me beyond frustrated and often times, I feel like I couldn’t have done anything to change the outcome because football is a team game. 

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

• My father has been the biggest influence on my life. He was my coach in every sport until I graduated high school, he taught me everything I know about sports and he made me fall in love with sports, the process, and working hard. If I can do anything in life, I want to make my dad and my family proud by using what they have taught me and giving back to them for everything they’ve done for me. 


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