NFL DraftProspect Interviews

2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Braden Smith, QB, Franklin College

Senior quarterback Braden Smith returns for Franklin College after throwing for more than 3,000 yards a year ago. Photo Credit: Rob Baker
  • Name: Braden Smith
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 245
  • Position: QB
  • College: Franklin College
  • Twitter: Braden_Smith10

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

* Mattoon, IL:

* Mattoon is a semi-small town in central-southern Illinois. Without question, it’s the people that I love most. Things happen, good or bad, and everyone comes together.

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

* I believe each of these three are crucial to success. But if I had to rank them, I’d say Strength and Conditioning, Practice, and Film Study. This was hard, however I think that practice would be difficult if players were not in shape. Of course, these elements are not in chronological order necessarily. It’s my belief that players should take strength and conditioning seriously, while using downtime to analyze film and understand concepts on both sides of the ball. And then the physical shape and mental visualizations combine for efficient practice.

What do you worry about, and why?

* I wouldn’t say that I worry too much. The one thing that comes to mind, though, is my father. He had an accident when I was young and I simply want to make sure he and my mother have all that they need as they grow older.

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

* Last game of my junior year at Franklin. I played probably the worst game of my life, and subsequently, we lost. Even though I know football is the most ultimate team sport, I felt that I was the one who lost the game. However, because of that game, I worked harder than ever during the off-season and in the summer leading into this current season.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

* Leading by example. I can be vocal at times which is necessary for a leader, hands down. But I think that I lead more by my intensity on the field. I get excited about solid gains or big plays, and I’m not afraid to take hits or deliver them. I think this shows my teammates my fighting spirit.

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

* Isaac Zickafoose- All-American DE. Very big, fast, and athletic.

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

* If I didn’t play football, I would likely enter the field of sports information or coaching. With sports info, I’d be taking stats, communicating information to local media and possible larger media. For coaching, I have always loved football. I coached a young JFL team in high school and love every minute of giving back to the game.

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

* Desk because it is where I read and do any kind of work.

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

  • I’m not going to lie, I want to tell you one answer. But I know that if I found myself in that situation and I had the opportunity to save my brother, for example, or someone I am extremely close to, I couldn’t break that bond. I would save the one.

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

* MacGyver. I’d pick him because no matter the situation, no matter how cheesy the acting and show itself is, he always finds a way to survive or overcome his dilemma.

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

* The biggest adversity I have overcome is coming back from a broken shoulder blade my sophomore year at Franklin. It happened towards the end of the season, so thankfully I didn’t miss a large percentage of the season. To get back I had to work even harder, as I knew I would be starting the next year. As much as I hated rehab, I went just about every day, slowly getting myself back to where I needed to be until I was there. My junior year was one of the best seasons of my life.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

* My most embarrassing moment would have to be whenever I forgot my game jersey. Thankfully, we had extras and I was able to wear the same number.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

* Junior year, against Rose-Hulman. Down by 4, 4th and 10 on their 31-yard line, and with around 30 seconds to go. I looked a safety off and threw a deep post before getting knocked down. My receiver came down with it, and we went on to win the game, which was homecoming.

What song best describes your work ethic?

* ‘Til I Collapse, Eminem

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

* The will to win. If anyone has this, they have all they need. With the will to win, a player will have the drive to get up early for workouts, the focus and leadership during practice, and the confidence to execute in a game.

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

* My grandmother. She passed away when I was about 2. My only memory of her is how she would always pick me up and my parents told me how happy she’d be when we came over. I wish that she had been able to see me grow as a man.

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

* Da Boogie

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

* Terry McLaurin, rookie Washington receiver. In every game he has played in, he has scored. He has a natural feel for the game and his position. Unfortunately he’s currently battling a hamstring injury.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

* I would rather be respected. It’s nice to be liked but to be respected means that your teammates as well as opponents recognize your abilities and will for the game.

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

* Sean Taylor. He was shot and killed just a few years into his NFL career. He died because he was seen helping others financially, and so robbers came when they thought he was away from home. He died protecting his girlfriend and newborn daughter. He was the greatest safety I had ever seen and was also my favorite player as a 10-year old kid. I just wish that everyone could’ve seen a full career out of him.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

* I hate to lose, no doubt.

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

* My father. He has overcome an amputation and has always been the greatest role model for me and my siblings. He hasn’t let his setback or adversity control his attitude towards life and I greatly admire that.

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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